Coots cute eggs… breeding time for Coots..

The Red-knobbed Coot (Fulica cristata)

A noisy bird, an aggressive bird, it is likely to bully any intruder, even large birds such as Egyptian geese. It can be seen swimming on open water or walking across waterside grasslands. It is an aggressive species, and strongly territorial during the breeding season.

But what I hate about this bird – and I don’t hate many – its behaviour towards its own young is so aggressive, that only a few are likely to survive to adulthood.

I took a few photos of the birds with their young, lucky for them too far away to even throw a stone at them. They chase them, peck at their heads, how any parent can behave such towards its own young amazes me. Actually I hate this bird because of that. I accept that in certain species the young will fight in the nest till one is killed and then the other gets all the food. Natures survival of the strongest… but this is a parent against its own offspring….

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I spoke to a pigeon about this and it informed me it closes its eye to such bad behaviour…

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It also said the other alternate is to look the other way….

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But as it looked down there was a Coot nesting below …

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Were there eggs, would any of these survive??? I will be watching to see what happens…

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60 thoughts on “Coots cute eggs… breeding time for Coots..

  1. What odd and yet interesting behavior! Can you think of why it is the bird behaves this way towards its young? There must be some evolutionary reason, but I can’t imagine what it is! It also gives a little more background on why the term “you old coot” is applied to crabby people! I think the pigeon had the right idea to just look the other way! 🙂

    • I was totally unaware of this behaviour till witnessing it and then doing a bit of research to discover this habit in the Southern Hemisphere birds… there seems to be no reason for it apart from its aggression and demeanor… but as you say the adage “You old Coot” now has so much more meaning…

  2. Do your coot have the funny-looking feet that they use to “walk upon water”? I have always found this bird to be quite interesting, but given what you have shared about how they treat their young, I believe I now feel differently.

  3. I love these Coots and as usual you took stunning shots Rob. I’ve never seen their nests but I am sure I will if I care to wade into the water. Not likely at this stage. LOL!

    The ones here by the dam are very quiet and I’ve even taking photo’s of them with the Egyptian Geese and they seemed not bothered with each other. Must the dam water here. hahahah. Wish it could work for some people here. 😆

  4. It’s hard to imagine the Coot being aggressive and uncaring in this way. Nature sometimes moves in mysterious ways.

    • It has come to my attention it is just the Coots in the Southern hemisphere… maybe they were banished here years ago for bad behaviour…

  5. So disturbing when any species are not loving and kind to their young. I love the shots!! I look forward to you following them so we may too! 🙂

  6. I don’t know what it is about coots, they are the same here. Last year I observed an argument between a coot and a great crested grebe. The grebe was sitting on its eggs on its flat nest just on the water’s edge and the coot came over trying to get to the eggs for some reason. After that the grebe abandoned the nest and the next morning when we rowed to take a look, there was no evidence of the eggs. So, either they hatched and the coot was after them and killed them or the grebe got her newborns safely out of harm’s way. I hate it when that happens…and this reminded me of that. But I love your narrative here with the wise old pigeon, and that made me smile.. 🙂

    • I am of the impression that the Coots eat the eggs of other birds… so it probably chased the mother off and ate the eggs… I’ve gone off these birds in a big way…

      • Oh I thought you would say that and I was afraid that was what had happened as I had my suspicions…what nasty little buggers they are. I’ve gone right off them too, so aggressive 😦

    • Thanks Brenda… this phenomenon came as such a surprise to me as I didn’t know it happened.. at first I wanted to chase the attacking adult but they were too far out on the water,, then I realised it was the parent.. tough love alright…

    • Yes Diana,,, one wonder about this.. the books say they can lay up to eight eggs at a time and maybe this ensures that only the toughest survive… but if that is the case then I don’t want to actually see it… its like watching a lion kill, you want the antelope to escape death, but the lion has to eat to survive… the nuances of nature…

      • When I was kid watching wild kingdom on TV I would cry and exclaim, “Mom, the camera man is right there, why is he letting the lion kill the antelope? He should drop his camera and help.!”

        • That makes me think of the Joubert’s National Geographics Film of our Honey Badger that they were filming… it caught a puff Adder to eat but the Puffy had already bitten it before it killed the snake… they continued filming and the next thing the Badger started to die,,, I’m screaming at the TV screen to tell them to keep the thing away from the Puffy it’s gonna be bitten and die.. and sure enough it did,…BUT only for 2 hours… they sat around watching the tragic occurrence, specially ’cause the Badger had young I think.. but it started to move and they started to film again and sure enough it soon turned over from death and continued eating the puff adder as if nothing had happened… I was screaming with joy as though I was watching our National Springbok team playing Rugby against the All Blacks (New Zealand) and they’d just scored a try… it later came known that the badger can actually fight the venom of most snakes on which it feeds, just needs a bit of “death” to work the venom out of the system… can you believe it

  7. Oh my gosh I have to show you some pics of the mamas feeding the babies so gently but these are American Coots, not aggressive at all. I bet the African one’s are different???? Also there is a plentiful food supply, no predators, the coyotes can’t get to them and very protective parents. They are in our pond~

    • Hi Cindy I never knew this till I observed it on the dam… I thought that maybe it was a different Coot attacking another’s young… but those poor birds kept religiously following the adult… and then I watched the adult feed them, feeding her own young and then pecking at them… I was ready to swim and teach her a lesson.. how damn cruel…

    • Thanks Patrizia… I didn’t know this about the Coot till I observed the behaviour on the water and looked it up when I got home… look at this aggressive bird now in a different light…

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