The American Coot is a bird commonly seen in wetlands and open water bodies. About 40 cm in length and weighing 0.65 kg. Adults have a short thick white bill and white frontal shield, which usually has a reddish-brown spot near the top of the bill between the eyes.
From up close, a dark band can be distinguished at the bill-tip. The body is grey with the head and neck darker than the rest of the body. Their legs are yellowish, with scalloped toes rather than webbed feet. Their chicks have black bodies with bright red head and beak, and orange plumes around the neck. The call is a high-pitched squeaking honk somewhat like a goose's but more hollow sounding.
These birds are frequently seen swimming in open water. They can dive for food but can also forage on land. American Coots are omnivorous, eating plant material, arthropods, fish, and other aquatic animals. They nest in a well-concealed location in tall reeds. Coots are fairly aggressive in defense of their eggs and, in combination with their protected nesting habitat, this undoubtedly help reduce losses of eggs and young to all but most determined and effective predator.