The Common Coot is a water bird, belonging to the Rallidae family, which can be observed all over Europe, North and South Africa and in the Palearctic, Indomalayan and Australasian regions. In Portugal we find Fulica atra from north to south, mainly in coastal lagoon systems. This species can remain in these habitats or make them a stopover during the migratory flow that takes place in the winter months.
This elegant bird with completely black plumage can only be confused with the Crested Coot, a very rare species in Portugal. The beak and front plate give it its unique beauty due to the white that nature insisted on painting, which contrasts with the rest of the body, making it an easily identifiable bird.
The common coot is considered an herbivore by some researchers and an omnivore by others. However, the last statement is more consensual, since it is known that their food is preferably macrophytes, algae, but they also feed on fruits, seeds, benthic invertebrates such as those of the Trichoptera order.
This bird can live for about 18 years and becomes mature during its 2nd year of life. Their behavior becomes aggressive during the breeding season and as adults they are usually monogamous.
The Ria Formosa is a place of refuge for a wide variety of species of flora and fauna, including the Common Coot, due to its unique characteristics:
• Protection of the interior area of the salt marsh from the direct effect of sea waves, thanks to a system of barrier islands parallel to a coastal plain;
• Have a permanent water surface both at high and low tide.