Fulica atra 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Gruiformes Rallidae

Scientific Name: Fulica atra
Species Authority: Linnaeus, 1758
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Common Coot, Eurasian Coot, Coot, European Coot
French Foulque macroule
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J. & Malpas, L.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2009 Least Concern (LC)
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Armenia (Armenia); Australia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Cambodia; Chad; China; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Egypt; Estonia; Ethiopia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hong Kong; Hungary; Iceland; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Latvia; Lebanon; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malaysia; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Myanmar; Nepal; Netherlands; New Zealand; Niger; Nigeria; Northern Mariana Islands; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia (Serbia); Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tajikistan; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uzbekistan; Viet Nam; Western Sahara; Yemen
Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Gibraltar; Greenland; Guam; Maldives; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; United States (Georgia - Native)
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 22300000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number c.8,900,000-9,800,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs, c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in China; c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs, c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Korea; c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs, c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend Justification:  The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations are stable, fluctuating or have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour Most populations in warm and temperate regions are resident (del Hoyo et al. 1996), often making nomadic dispersive movements according to changing water levels and seasonal rainfall (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996).Populations in northern Eurasia are fully migratory however, migrating on a broad front through continental Europe and across the Sahara (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Southward movements occur from mid-August to November (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), with the return passage occurring from late-February (Taylor and van Perlo 1998) to May (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species nests in dispersed solitary pairs (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), although it is largely gregarious (del Hoyo et al. 1996) with flocks (sometimes of several thousand individuals (Snow and Perrins 1998)) frequently forming during the winter (Urban et al. 1986, Snow and Perrins 1998, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Adults undergo a post-breeding flightless moult period, with flocks of moulting birds congregating from June-September (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). The species is diurnally active and roosts at sunset solitarily or in flocks (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). It may feed in flocks on land, especially when winds cause high waves on water (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat The species inhabits large, still or slow-flowing waters (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998) and shows a preference for shallow water with adjacent deeper water (e.g. > 2 m) for diving (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), and muddy substrates, marginal, emergent, floating or submergent vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Habitats include eutrophic and mesotrophic (Taylor and van Perlo 1998) lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), pools, ponds, reservoirs, barrages, gravel-pits, canals, drainage ditches, dykes, oxbow lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), fish ponds (Musil 2006), creeks (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), rivers (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and river deltas (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), as well as open marshes (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), freshwater meadows (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), flood-lands (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), freshwater and saline lagoons (Urban et al. 1986), salt-pans, clay-pans (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998) and sewage ponds (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). It frequently exploits temporary pools and seasonally inundated marshes when breeding (Africa) (Urban et al. 1986), and may extend to quiet estuaries or inshore waters in the winter (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It generally avoids closely overgrown, narrowly confined and very shallow waters, and those overshadowed by trees or cliffs (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). If solitary the species roosts at sunset on small islets, mudbanks, sandbanks, rocks in water, floating mats of vegetation, floating logs, or branches of trees over water, preferring to roost on open water, in shore vegetation or in meadows adjacent to water if in flocks (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Diet This species is omnivorous, although its diet consists primarily of vegetable matter (del Hoyo et al. 1996) such as algae (e.g. Chara, Cladophora, Spirogyra), the vegetative pasts of aquatic and terrestrial plants (e.g. waterweeds, bulrushes, reeds and grasses), the seeds of waterweeds, sedges, water-lilies, grasses and cereal crops (del Hoyo et al. 1996), clubmoss Selaginella and aquatic fungi (e.g. Leptomitus) (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Animal matter in its diet includes molluscs, adult and larval insects (especially flies, caddisflies, Odonata, Lepidoptera, beetles and bugs) (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), worms, leeches, shrimps, spiders (del Hoyo et al. 1996), small fish (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), fish eggs, frogs, birds and bird eggs, and small mammals (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a platform of vegetation that may be resting on the bottom of shallow water, floating or on a foundation of trampled plant matter in emergent vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species may also nest on artificial platforms, islands, rafts, tree stumps, tree forks (del Hoyo et al. 1996) or in bushes up to 3 m above the water (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Management information A study in the Czech Republic found that fish ponds with a fish stock density of less than 400 kg/ha, water transparency of more than 50 cm, mixed fish stocks (e.g. tench and pike or perch) rather than monospecific stocks (e.g. of carp), and systems that include ponds with fish fry (to provide areas with low fish competition and high invertebrate availability) are more successful in supporting breeding pairs of this species (Musil 2006). The cyclical removal of adult fish from an artificial waterbody (gravel pit) in the UK (leaving small fish for piscivorous birds) resulted in increased winter use of the habitat by the species as result of an increase in the growth of submerged aquatic macrophytes (Giles 1994). The removed fish (dead or alive) were sold to generate funds (Giles 1994).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 7
Movement patterns: Full Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species suffers disturbance (Evans and Day 2002) and mortality (Azerbaijan) from hunting (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and is poisoned by ingesting lead shot (France) (Mondain-Monval et al. 2002). It is also threatened by oil and petroleum pollution (Azerbaijan (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and the Kaliningrad region, Russia (Grishanov 2006)), and by habitat degradation and loss due to agricultural drainage schemes (Pakistan) (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), wetland drainage, peat-extraction, changing wetland management practices (decreased grazing and mowing in meadows leading to scrub over-growth) and the burning and mowing of reeds (Grishanov 2006). The species is often drowned in freshwater fishing nets with mesh sizes greater than 5 cm (China) (Quan et al. 2002), and suffers predation from American mink Neovison vison (Slonsk Reserve, Poland (Bartoszewicz and Zalewski 2003) and UK (Ferreras and MacDonald 1999)). It is also susceptible to avian influenza, so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus (Melville and Shortridge 2006).Utilisation The species is hunted for sport in the Mediterranean (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), Denmark (Bregnballe 2006), Northern Ireland (Evans and Day 2002) and Iran (Balmaki and Barati 2006), and for food in the Mediterranean (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), Iran (Balmaki and Barati 2006), India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and neighbouring countries (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), especially when it is flightless during the post-breeding moult (Taylor and van Perlo 1998).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Fulica atra. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22692913A85024979. . Downloaded on 25 May 2016.
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