Distribution and Habitat
Coots are found all over Australia in every type of wetland.
Coots are fully protected in all states and territories and must not be shot.
They are dark slate grey birds with a whitish bill and head shield. They can look a bit like Blue Bill ducks, but the white head shield is usually fairly obvious. Also the head is smaller and so is the bill. You'll find them often in large flocks and they mix freely with all other waterfowl.
They dive for their food like Hardheads and Blue Bills, but they are not strong flyers. When disturbed they patter over the water with rapid wing beats and keep low to the surface. They always fly with their long legs trailing out behind; a very distinctive feature, or they use their legs to walk to a stop. The overall dark colour of Coots and the white head shield are good points to remember, and keep in mind the fast wing beats and trailing legs, when they fly.
Video footage of the Coot is attached below.