Monday, 14 June 2010

Very Much So Ugly Ducklings!

One thing I noticed yesterday when waiting for the Mute Swan family to emerge was how much the young Coots have developed in the few short weeks since they entered the world.

Now less face it, if there was ever a contest to decide the least cutest bird on the planet, then the Coot chick would be pretty close to the top of most peoples list...Although I must admit I kind of like them!

Actually, I love them!
They really are funny little alien-like creatures when newborn, with their bald heads and blood red markings...Not at all too dissimilar to their close relations in the Rail family the Moorhen.

Ugly? Well yes, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the Coots unsightly beginnings do give way to one of the most interesting transformations in the bird kingdom...

From this...

In a few short weeks to this...

And finally to this fine looking bird...

Coots are boring!
Well that is the opinion of many, but I whole heartily disagree!
OK, they may be very common and I suppose that you would be right in saying that they aren't exactly the most challenging species to photograph, but out of all the birds you're likely to come across at your local lake the Coot must surely be the most entertaining.
Coots never seem to keep still for very long and always seem to be looking for some kind of stimulation.
When they're not diving underwater for food, they seem to spend most of the time constantly chasing each and every other bird that has the audacity to enter their patch of water...With sometimes very comical and sometimes not very pleasant results.
Yes, I find it hard to think of a more naturally aggressive bird than the highly strung Coot.
All birds can become aggressive when they feel threatened or if there is food at stake, but the Coot seems to revel in it's aggression...A real rebel without a cause.
The Coots loutish behaviour starts very early as well and I've witnessed birds of only a couple of weeks or so old happily chasing Mallards and Geese around ponds!
They make for very demanding juveniles as well and even when well developed, they still bully and harass their long suffering parents to feed them.
This youngster was happily diving and feeding himself yesterday, until he decided it might be easier just to steal the bread that someone had just fed to his mother...

So there you have it, the Coot...Nature's original juvenile delinquent!


  1. Ele fica tão bonito depois! Vale a pena esperar...


  2. Thank you Teca, they do indeed.