Red-knobbed Coot

Fulica cristata

Red-knobbed Coot, Fulica cristata, photo © by Michael Plagens

West side of Nairobi, Kenya. January 2014.

From Wikipedia: The Red-knobbed Coot is largely black except for the white frontal shield. It is 38–45 cm long, spans 75–85 cm across the wings and weighs 585–1,085 g. As a swimming species, it has partial webbing on its long strong toes. The juvenile is paler than the adult, has a whitish breast, and lacks the facial shield; the adult's black plumage develops when about 3–4 months old, but the white shield is only fully developed at about one year old, some time later.

A good view is necessary to separate this species from the Eurasian Coot, with which its range overlaps. There are two tiny red knobs at the top of the facial shield, which are not visible at any great distance and are only present in the breeding season; the black feathering between the shield and the bill is rounded, whereas in Eurasian it comes to a point; and the bill has a bluish grey tinge.

Rallidae -- Rail Family


  • Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by Zimmerman et al.
  • Birds of East Africa by Stevenson and Fanshawe

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, created 3 July 2014