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American Coot (Fulica americana)

Species Code: FUAM

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Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only.
© NatureMapping Program

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Predicted breeding range

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat


American Coot photo

Fact Sheet: Basic (Grades K-6) | Advanced (7-12)

Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

NatureMapping observations map   Map with Breeding Bird Atlas records
Observations | Historic GAP points

This species is common in larger freshwater ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers at lower elevations throughout the state. However, the water bodies are only acceptable for nesting if they have emergent vegetation.

The core areas of use were all eastern Washington zones below Sub-alpine Fir, and in western Washington, the Puget Sound Douglas-fir, Woodland/Prairie Mosaic, Willamette Valley and Cowlitz River zones were core. The Western Hemlock zone, at the edges of the core areas, was peripheral area of use. In all zones, freshwater/wetlands were good habitat. In the core areas of use in the west-side zones, where coots are often found in small wetlands in altered landscapes, low- to mid-density development, agriculture, and open areas were included knowing there may be smaller pockets of habitat suitable them.

In western Washington, coots are limited to the Puget Trough and the Columbia River due to a lack of suitable water bodies elsewhere. Along the coast, where they are rare, they are possibly only found in sewage lagoons (and probably not breeding). Vegetative productivity (primary productivity) of breeding sites is known to be an important factor in coot nesting success. A study in eastern Washington found that increased primary productivity indices were highly correlated with larger eggs, but not with an increased clutch size (i.e., more eggs in the nest).

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Map by Dave Lester