What Sort of Birds Are These?-Images Inc.

Yesterday, it was insects. Today, it’s these odd ducks I found at the park. DrLoveGun doesn’t think they are ducks at all, rather some sort of waterfowl. But I think they are ducks, specifically.

Anyone know what they are?


They do swim.

Did you see them swimming? If so, HOW can they swim?! :confused: From the pictures, they don’t appear to really have any webbing on their feet.

Not ducks – wrong kind of bill. Where did you see them (I’m pretty familiar with the Bay Area, or you could just describe the habitat type)?

Adding, they look more like “waders” than swimmers. Cool looking birds though, beautiful markings.

They look like coots (see “American coot”) on this page.

They are definitely coots. You should see coot chicks sometime; they’re tiny little fluffy black balls, but they hatch out with pretty much the same size feet as the adults.

You can tell they’re coots, as they have that white patch on their heads which led to the phrase ‘as bald as a coot’. Though I imagine there are other white-headed wading types out there…

Yup they’re Coots, Coots and Moorhens look basically alike except that Moorhens have a red flash where these lads have white.

Both birds have semi-webbed feet, ie not full duck like webs but there is more flesh than on just a claw. They live in an round the water’s edge and although happy swimming you wouldn’t see them that far from shore. (Similarly they are not great fliers.)


[sub](sorry, I just had to.)[/sub]

Coots have feet that are adapted to swimming in a different way from the webbed feet of ducks; the individual jointed sections of each toe are equipped with lobes - as the foot moves forward through the water, the lobes fold flat to provide a narrow profile, when the foot is moved backward in the water, they flip out and form a sort of paddle shape that has much greater resistance; here is a detailed photo showing the lobes.

Because of this arrangement, the toes are still able to ‘grasp’ to a certain extent and this allows the birds to climb upon and walk over the top of floating mats of weed. That the chicks also need to do this is probably the reason that they hatch out with almost adult-sized feet.

Coots, incidentally, are not closely related to ducks, but belong to the same family as Rails, Crakes, and Gallinules (Rallidae).

They were swimming around a Fremont, CA “lake” with other ducks. By “lake” I mean a man-made large pond.

Coots have “lobes” on their toes that help propel them through the water.