In nature, there are 2 types of black ducks, one of which has not been tamed by humans. The latter includes the coot, or waterfowl. Among the features of this black duck with a white beak, an unusual appearance is distinguished. The bird prefers to spend most of its time on land next to a reservoir in which reeds grow. The bird is not distinguished by its large size, but at the same time it remains noticeable even from afar.
Description and features of black ducks with a white beak
The reason why the black duck is called the coot is because the bird has a white growth on the front of its head that resembles a receding hairline. This waterfowl belongs to the shepherd family and the cranes order. In addition to the characteristic stripe above the nose, the coot is distinguished by the following features:
- strong body;
- the weight of an adult bird reaches 1.5 kilograms;
- body length is 35-40 centimeters;
- the head is medium in size, with eyes framed by a bright red iris;
- shortened tail;
- yellow-orange paws with gray toes;
- black or dark gray plumage.
The distinctive features of coots include a shortened and pointed beak designed for fishing. This feature is not typical for domesticated ducks.
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Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.
Unlike other waterfowl, in coots the fingers are not interconnected by membranes, but are bordered by leathery blades. Thanks to this structure, black ducks swim well.
The bird has short wings, which the coot has to actively flap during flight. But, despite this feature, the black duck is able to travel long distances.
Black ducks with a white forehead are mostly settled in temperate climates. These birds are found in countries:
- North America;
Coots also live on the territory of Russia. Black ducks are found in northern latitudes. But the birds living here in the fall fly to warmer regions with non-freezing water bodies.
Nutrition and habits
Wild ducks with white beaks spend most of their time on land. However, the birds are looking for food in the water. Coots are able to dive quickly and deeply, and thanks to the pointed beak, ducks are more likely to fish successfully. These birds fly worse. Coots mainly rise into the air at the moment of danger or during a flight to warm regions. The diet of these birds is based on:
- river algae;
Fish makes up 5% of the diet. During the cold season, this indicator increases due to:
- fish caviar;
- aquatic insects.
Coots live in compact flocks, inside of which pairs are constantly formed. During the mating season, the birds settle separately from each other. After the appearance of offspring, a drake and a duck are engaged in the search for food. At the same time, one of the birds is constantly in the nest, protecting the offspring from predators or other members of the flock. Strong coots often steal freshly caught prey from their relatives.
Young ducks rarely attack the nests of other birds. This is due to the fact that birds need protein during the growth period.
Reproduction and life expectancy
The breeding season for this bird begins in late February or March. If coots live in northern latitudes, then duck offspring do not start until April. During this period, the activity of the bird increases. Females make loud sounds in order to attract males, drakes - low and deaf. During the search for partners, the ducks begin to swim quickly, raising splashes of water to their wings. After pairing, the courtship period begins when the birds clean the partner's feathers and share food.
The coot's nest is built on the shore, fixing the walls on the reeds. Grass and feathers are used to make the brood site. Both partners are involved in the construction of the nest. The diameter of the hatch reaches 40 centimeters with a wall height of 20 centimeters. During this period, coots become aggressive towards other members of the flock. Therefore, the nests are located at a distance of over 30 meters.
On average, an adult duck lays 7-12 eggs. Both partners are engaged in planting. At the same time, it is not uncommon for a coot to throw eggs into other nests. Chicks hatch after 22 days. Young growth grows stronger within 7-11 weeks. During this period, the chicks learn to fly and find food on their own. In the future, the young form small groups, with which ducks fly away for wintering in the first year of life. The chicks reach sexual maturity the following spring.
In regions with a warm climate, black ducks make up to four clutches, with a cold one - up to two.
The lifespan of coots depends on the place and characteristics of their residence. The oldest recorded black duck was one that died at the age of 18.
Despite the presence of a non-standard color, it is not adults, but young animals that are more dangerous in the wild. White-headed chicks fall prey to peregrine falcons, eagles, gulls, ravens and peregrine falcons. Also, a threat to chicks and eggs is posed by:
- wild boars;
Changeable weather is dangerous for coots. Due to the fact that the mating period occurs at the end of winter and the beginning of spring, the night frosts characteristic of this period can kill unborn chicks. Problems are also created by floods that flood the nests that are located near water bodies.