Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
Art and Photo Presentation

In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

American Coot (Fulica americana)

American Coot (Fulica americana)
(Artwork - 114)
American Coot (Fulica americana)

Coots are members of the rail family, and are somewhat “duck-like” in their habits and appearance. There are several species found in various parts of the world, all similar to each other in general appearance and closely related to gallinules, swamphens and moorhens. But unlike gallinules and all other rails, their toes have a special adaptation of the feet, not webbing, but flattened lobes that extend outward from both sides of the three forward facing toes, and a single flap below the short hind toe.

The American Coot is breeds throughout most of North America, south through Central America and the West Indies, to a few isolated parts of northern South America. Northern birds will migrate far enough south to avoid frozen water, and in some locations may occur in large flocks, often in association with Canvasbacks and other diving ducks, at least at the northern edge of their wintering range.

They nest mostly on floating mats of marsh vegetation, in marshes, and have large egg clutches, usually marshes, often anchored to, or indeed, incorporating, rooted emergent reeds and other vegetation. They lay 6 to 12 eggs. The babies are partly bald on their colourfully patterned heads, and rather variable in colour. While both parents share duties raising the chicks, as I’ve indicated in my painting, they tend to favour the more brightly coloured, and may even show hostility toward some of their own babies, leading to those youngsters starving. They also are casual about laying eggs in the nests of other coot pairs, and the resultant foster-chicks may not be cared for. They have interesting breeding displays and a wide range of vocalizations.

They are considered to be legal game, but not too often hunted as the flesh is, reportedly, not very good tasting, compared to ducks.

Coots eat mostly aquatic vegetation and small forms of aquatic life, but both cannibalism and the eggs of other marsh birds have been recorded in their diets. This painting approximately life size and is 18 X 24 inches, in acrylics, on a birch panel.

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
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