Eurasian Coot, Amsterdamse Waterleiding Duinen, Netherlands
One of the most common waterbirds in the country, to be found wherever there is water, including small ponds in urban areas. They have quite a temper, during the breeding season they engage in continuous fighting. During food shortages, they even feed on their own children. Only outside the breeding season and during colder times do they tolerate each other and gather to share body heat.
They suck at flying, and don't like to. They need a very long runway to take off and much prefer to move on foot. They don't have webbings between the toes, instead they have discs, optimized for walking on floating vegetation. When they migrate, they do so at night, so when needed, they can fly vast distances out of necessity. They have an opportunistic diet of pretty much anything: insects, snails, fish, seeds, plants.
When they dive to feed, they first do a little hop. This is because their feathers are full of air, the hop creates the extra force when meeting the water surface to shake of the air bubbles.
The Eurasian coot , also known as the common coot, is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae. It is found in Europe, Asia, Australia and parts of Africa.