/kooht/, n.
1. any aquatic bird of the genus Fulica, as F. americana, of North America, and F. atra, of the Old World, characterized by lobate toes and short wings and tail.
2. any of various other swimming or diving birds, esp. the scoters.
3. Informal. a foolish or crotchety person, esp. one who is old.
[1250-1300; ME cote; c. D koet]

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Any of 10 species of ducklike waterbirds (genus Fulica) in the rail family.

Coots are found worldwide in larger inland waters and streams, where they swim and bob for food, mostly plants, seeds, mollusks, and worms. They have greenish or bluish gray feet, with toes fringed by a lobed membrane that helps them swim and walk over marshes. The short conical beak is topped by a flattened, fleshy shield that extends onto the forehead. The European coot is about 18 in. (45 cm) long and weighs 2 lbs (900 g). The coot of North America resembles the European species.

Mud hen (Fulica americana)

Benjamin Goldstein from Root Resources
EB Inc.

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      any of ten species of ducklike water-dwelling birds of the genus Fulica in the rail family, Rallidae. Coots are found throughout the world in larger inland waters and streams, where they swim and bob for food, mostly plants, seeds, mollusks, and worms. Coots have greenish or bluish gray feet, the toes of which are fringed by a lobed membrane that facilitates swimming and walking over plant-choked marshes and ooze. The beak is short and conical, surmounted by a flattened fleshy shield that extends onto the forehead.

      The European coot (F. atra) breeds abundantly in many northern parts of the Old World, in winter resorting to river mouths or shallow bays of the sea. About 45 centimetres (18 inches) long and sometimes more than 900 grams (2 pounds) in weight, the seemingly short-winged coot appears to rise with difficulty from the water, pattering along the surface with its feet. It is capable of long-sustained and rapid flight. Although not considered to be game birds, coots sometimes are hunted in winter, when they are most gregarious.

      Coots nest in masses of water plants, laying as many as ten speckled eggs. The young are beautifully clothed in jet-black down, with heads of bright orange scarlet, varied with purplish blue. This brilliant colouring is soon lost; adults have sooty black plumage and a bare white callus on the forehead.

 The coot of North America, or mud hen (F. americana; see photograph—>), closely resembles the European bird. In South America about six species are found, one (F. gigantea) being of considerable size; F. caribaea occurs also in the West Indies. An African species (F. cristata) is distinguished by two red knobs on the forehead.

      The scoter (q.v.), a diving duck of the family Anatidae, is also called a sea coot.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coot — (k[=oo]t), n. [Cf. D. koet, W. cwtair; cwta short, bodtailed + iar hen; cf. cwtau to dock. Cf. {Cut}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) (a) A wading bird with lobate toes, of the genus {Fulica}. The common European or bald coot is {Fulica atra} (see under {bald});… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • coot — [ku:t] n [Date: 1200 1300; Origin: Perhaps from Middle Dutch coet] 1.) a small black and white water bird with a short beak 2.) old coot AmE informal an old man who you think is strange or unpleasant ▪ a miserable, mean old coot …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • coot — c.1300, cote, used for various water fowl (now limited to Fulica atra and, in North America, F. americana), of uncertain origin (Cf. Du. meercoet lake coot ). Meaning silly person, fool is attested from 1766 …   Etymology dictionary

  • coot — ► NOUN 1) (pl. same) an aquatic bird of the rail family with black plumage and a white bill that extends back on to the forehead as a horny shield. 2) (usu. old coot) informal a stupid or eccentric person. ORIGIN probably Dutch or Low German …   English terms dictionary

  • coot — [ko͞ot] n. pl. coots or coot [ME cote < ? MDu koet] 1. any of a genus (Fulica) of ducklike, freshwater birds of the rail family, with long lobed toes ☆ 2. SCOTER 3. Informal an amusing or eccentric old fellow …   English World dictionary

  • coot — [ kut ] noun count a small black bird with a white beak that lives near water …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • coot|ie — «KOO tee», noun. 1. Slang. a louse; body louse. 2. a children s game played by rolling a die to determine who will complete a stylized drawing of a louse. ╂[origin unknown] …   Useful english dictionary

  • Coot — For other uses, see Coot (disambiguation). Coots Eurasian Coot Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

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  • Coot — This name is of early medieval English origin, and derives from the Middle English co(a)te meaning a coot, and was originally given as a nickname to a bald person. The bird was regarded as bald because of the large white patch, an extension of… …   Surnames reference

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