American coots winter in Walton

January 5, 2011

American coots call Walton home in the winter months. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Winter guests found on area lakes in North and South Walton

Often mistaken for a duck, the American Coot (Fulica americana) is a common wintering waterbird in the Walton County area. Its all black body and white chicken-like beak distinguish this swimming member of the gruiforme family from ducks. Although it swims like a duck, the American Coot does not have webbed feet like a duck. Instead of having all the toes connected by webs, each coot toe has lobes on the sides of each segment.

The American Coot summers in the northern U.S. and Canada and winters in the warmer regions of the Southeast.