The Australian Coot is the Australian version of the Eurasian Coot. Seems it is just commonly known as the Australian Coot in these parts. It is a common waterbird found wandering in the shallows of dams, lakes and rivers. It is a member of the rail and crake bird family and found in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia and parts of North Africa.
The Eurasian coot is 36–38 cm (14–15 in) in length with a wing-span of 70–80 cm (28–31 in); males weigh around 890 g (31 oz) and females 750 g (26 oz). It largely black except for the white bill and frontal shield (which gives rise to the phrase “as bald as a coot”, in use as early as 1430). As a swimming species, the coot has partial webbing on its long strong toes. The sexes are similar in appearance.
The juvenile is paler than the adult, has a whitish breast, and lacks the facial shield; the adult black plumage develops when about 3–4 months old, but the white shield is only fully developed at about one year old.
This is a noisy bird with a wide repertoire of crackling, explosive, or trumpeting calls, often given at night.
The coot is an omnivore, and will take a variety of small live prey including the eggs of other water birds, as well as algae, vegetation, seeds and fruit. It shows considerable variation in its feeding techniques, grazing on land or in the water. In the water it may upend in the fashion of a mallard or dive in search of food.