Eurasian Coots are ‘common as mud’ in Australia.
You can usually find them in large fresh water lakes, reservoirs and floods, but they can also congregate near swamps, sewage farms and occasionally…….sheltered seas.
Their large dumpy bodies, with sooty black wings and tail, are quite distinctive with only a rich brown eye to relieve the overall body colour.
This poor Coot (below) was stuck on a rock trying to dislodge a piece of fishing line from its beak and gullet near the edge of the river on the north-east side of Melbourne. Eventually a couple of other walkers and I managed to catch the bird and remove the plastic line and it swam happily on its way, but it was hard to catch I must say.
Nether the walkers, nor I, had a smart phone with internet access, so we couldn’t ring for the local Wildlife Rescue service to come and relieve the Coot of its irritating plastic line. It does make me cross when I come across birds in distress, due to the thoughtless acts of fishermen and campers.
The bird’s beak and frontal shield is white, so in general, you can’t mistake the identification.
It dives frequently and has a distinctive metallic ‘kyok’ and other twanging sounds.
One day I came across a nest right next to the bank of the Ornamental Lake in the Royal Botanic Gardens and was lucky enough to catch a couple of chicks take their first swim.