Fulica atra 

Scope: Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Gruiformes Rallidae

Scientific Name: Fulica atra Linnaeus, 1758
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Common Coot, Coot, Eurasian Coot, European Coot
French Foulque macroule
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-31
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Burfield, I., Ieronymidou, C., Pople, R., Wheatley, H. & Wright, L
European regional assessment: Near Threatened (NT)
EU27 regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)

In Europe this species is undergoing a moderately rapid population decline and it is therefore listed as Near Threatened.

Within the EU27 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). 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). 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). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern within the EU27.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is widespread across Eurasia below 66°N (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997). Since the late 19th century it has spread north into Fennoscandia. It also breeds in the Canary Islands and is present in the Azores (Snow and Perrins 1998).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malta; Moldova; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation (European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Gibraltar; Greenland; Svalbard and Jan Mayen
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:7170000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme 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):1800
Range Map:22692913-1

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 945,000-1,550,000 pairs, which equates to 1,890,000-3,090,000 mature individuals. The population in the EU27 is estimated at 549,000-870,000 pairs, which equates to 1,100,000-1,740,000 mature individuals. For details of national estimates, see the Supplementary Material.

Trend Justification:  In Europe the population size is estimated to be decreasing and, although there is high uncertainty in the reported trends, the rate of decline is likely to approach 30% in 21 years (three generations). The population size in the EU27 is estimated to be decreasing, but there is high uncertainty in the reported trends and it is unlikely that the rate of decline over three generations approaches 30%. For details of national estimates, see attached PDF.
For further information about this species, see 22692913_fulica_atra.pdf.
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Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:1890000-3090000,2400000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species inhabits large, still or slow-flowing waters (Snow and Perrins 1998) and shows a preference for shallow water with adjacent deeper water for diving, and muddy substrates, marginal, emergent, floating or submergent vegetation. Habitats include eutrophic and mesotrophic (Taylor and van Perlo 1998) lakes, pools, ponds, reservoirs, barrages, gravel-pits, canals, drainage ditches, dykes, oxbow lakes (Taylor 1996), fish ponds (Musil 2006), creeks, rivers (Taylor 1996) and river deltas (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), as well as open marshes, freshwater meadows (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), flood-lands, salt-pans, clay-pans (Taylor 1996) and sewage ponds (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). It breeds from February to September.

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. The species may also nest on artificial platforms, islands, rafts, tree stumps, tree forks (Taylor 1996) or in bushes up to 3 m above the water (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). This species is omnivorous, although its diet consists primarily of vegetable matter such as algae, the vegetative parts of aquatic and terrestrial plants, the seeds of waterweeds, sedges, water-lilies, grasses and cereal crops (Taylor 1996), clubmoss and aquatic fungi (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Animal matter in its diet includes molluscs, adult and larval insects, worms, leeches, shrimps, spiders, small fish, fish eggs, frogs, birds and bird eggs, and small mammals (Taylor 1996). The species is mostly sedentary or a partial migrant, however in Fennoscandia and east of the Czech Republic it is mostly migratory (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997)
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 (Taylor 1996), and is poisoned by ingesting lead shot (France) (Mondain-Monval et al. 2002). It is also threatened by oil and petroleum pollution (Azerbaijan (Taylor 1996) and in the Kaliningrad region, Russia (Grishanov 2006)), 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 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). 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).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex II and III. The Mediterranean and Black Sea populations are on CMS Appendix II. The species is legally protected in Britain .

Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently needed for this species, although monitoring and research on the impacts of hunting, pollution and habitat alteration would help inform any future conservation measures.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Fulica atra. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22692913A60023298. . Downloaded on 19 July 2018.
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