There are many visitors who come to Centennial Parklands every day – but one lot of ‘old coots’ are a regular feature in and around Centennial Park’s ponds!

The Eurasian Coot is the smallest of the three waterfowl species found in the Parklands. The ‘Coot’ is common in suitably vegetated lagoons and swamps, which is why they find the Parklands so inviting.

You can identify them by their black feathers with short grey legs, white bill and brilliant red eyes.

 

Eurasian Coot on Duck Pond - photo by Russell Pike

Eurasian Coot on Duck Pond – photo by Russell Pike

 

Its legs are placed well back along the body to assist with swimming and diving – while undoubtedly useful in the water, they tend to make the Coot look slightly clumsy when walking on land. They feed in open water as well as forage along the shore line. Their main food source is plant material found by diving underwater or wading through shallow water.

Breeding season is heavily influenced by rain but is usually from August to March. They produce a large clutch and can lay up to 14 eggs and both sexes look after the incubation duties. The eggs hatch after about a month and the chicks can swim almost straight away. They are little black balls of fluff with bright red heads and beaks and are very cute to watch!

But be warned, parent coots, your brood is rather demanding! The chicks will swim around after the adults begging for food and the adults have to work frantically to keep them fed.

 

Where can I see Eurasian Coots?

In Centennial Parklands you can typically find the Eurasian Coot on and around any of the ponds in the Parklands. Duck Pond is a great place to start, and we’ve even recognised our feathered friends in stone next to the pond!

 

Eurasian Coot recognised in stone next to Duck Pond, Centennial Park

Eurasian Coot recognised in stone next to Duck Pond, Centennial Park

 

Come and experience our birds

We have some great advice on birdwatching for amateurs on our website, and run seasonal Birdwatchers Breakfast tours.

If you want to know even more about birds, we highly recommend the Birds in Backyards website, run by Birdlife Australia. The website is full of great information and resources, including advice on how to create bird-friendly spaces in your backyard or community.

 

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