Those Crazy Coots

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

In a rare double-post Sunday, I am going to discuss COOTS!

I will lean heavily on photos to discuss this American Coot I recently found at Goldeneye Reservoir near Casper, Wyoming. Typically, the American Coot found throughout most of the United States is a Red-shielded Coot, e.g. "Image 4."

However, on occasion, a "White-shielded" American Coot makes an appearance (Images 1-3). Sometimes, this appearance can give the observer (me) a significant rise in blood pressure. Why? There are two other coots with white shields that would be considered a "MEGA-RARITY" in Wyoming. So, when I observed this bird recently, I overreacted and watched it for 45 minutes while taking over 300 photos. It is not a rare species, but I thought it would provide a great learning opportunity for us all. And, it may be the first documented "White-shielded" American Coot for our Cowboy State! (Flocking Edit: Of course, now people are streaming out of the birding cracks with pictures from Wyoming!)

American Coot or Eurasian Coot?

An American Coot

American Coot or Hawaiian Coot?

Still just an American Coot

American Coot or Eurasian Coot or Hawaiian Coot?

And... Still just the same American Coot

Red-shielded American Coot or White-shielded American Coot?

A Red-shielded American Coot. Photo by Sienna "Sharp-shinned" Hawk

American Coot or Hawaiian Coot?

American Coot or Eurasian Coot?

If you were hoping for identification tips on American Coot vs Eurasian Coot, visit our blog at a later date!

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