Red-knobbed Coot

Fulica cristata - Foulque caronculée Foulque à crête

  • Order 


  • Family


  • Genus


  • Species



Gmelin, JF, 1789

  • Size
    : 42 cm
  • Wingspan
    : 75 à 85 cm.
  • Weight
    : 455 à 910 g
Geographic range


Description identification

Foulque caronculée
Foulque caronculée

The Red-knobbed Coot is very similar to the Common Coot, but the end of the secondary flight feathers is lacking in white (visible when in flight). Its dark plumage is more uniform. The two sexes are similar. On side view, the back is relatively flat and the rear slightly raised. During the nesting period two variable-sized, dark red protuberances above the frontal plate allow it to be identified if the viewing distance is not too great and if good lightening is provided. The beak and frontal plate are white with a bluish hue. The frontal plate is more rectangular unlike the Common Coot's which is more rounded. The iris is red. The legs and toes are slate blue, with the tibiae having a yellowish band. The head is angular and the neck appears slim in flight compared to the Common Coot.
Juveniles have no protuberances. They are white grey on the sides of the head, front neck and chest. The chick is covered with black down except on the head which is coloured a reddish orange. The beak is red with a black tip.

Subspecific information monotypic species

Foreign names

  • Foulque caronculée,
  • Focha moruna,
  • galeirão-de-crista,
  • Kammblässhuhn,
  • bütykös szárcsa,
  • Knobbelmeerkoet,
  • Folaga crestata,
  • kamsothöna,
  • Knoppsothøne,
  • lyska hrebenatá,
  • lyska hřebenatá,
  • Kamblishøne,
  • kruununokikana,
  • Bleshoender,
  • fotja banyuda,
  • Hnúðhæna,
  • łyska czubata,
  • paugurknābja laucis, Āfrikas laucis,
  • grebenasta liska,
  • Хохлатая лысуха,
  • アフリカオオバン,
  • 红瘤白骨顶,
  • 鳳頭瓣蹼雞,

Voice song and cries

Foulque caronculée
adult plum. breeding

The Red-knobbed Coot emits cries that are very different from those of the Common Coot. Some of them are reminiscent of the Crying Coot's. They are sometimes shrill and high-pitched or deep, muffled and quiet trumpet calls.


Foulque caronculée

The Red-knobbed Coot enjoys fresh, shallow water with a dense vegetation. It can be found in lakes or ponds surrounded by vegetation. During winter it prefers open waterbodies.

Behaviour character trait

Foulque caronculée

She is a bit shier than the Common Coot. At the slightest alert she seeks refuge in the vegetation. During the breeding season she is very territorial and chases away all intruders who enter her domain.

Foulque caronculée
In the winter she becomes gregarious and gatherings of over a thousand individuals can be seen.
The Red-knobbed Coot spends most of its time swimming in search of food. To feed it can dive or remain at the surface. It can also graze on land. It spends long moments grooming itself at the fringes of reed beds. It only takes flight in cases of absolute necessity and prefers to run on water to flee danger or get rid of an intruder.


Foulque caronculée

Her flight is direct and heavy. She has to run on the water before taking off.

Dietfeeding habits

The Red-knobbed Coot primarily feeds on stems and roots of aquatic plants. It also does not disdain seeds, grains, and small aquatic invertebrates.

Reproduction nesting

Foulque caronculée
adult plum. breeding

The two adults take part in the construction of the nest. This is a floating platform built with reeds and reed grass.

The cup-shaped nest is often lined with dry leaves. The female lays 5 to 7 pale fawn eggs with black or rust-coloured spots and a length of 52 mm at their longest dimension. Incubation, provided by the couple, lasts from 20 to 22 days. The fledglings leave the nest 24 hours after hatching. They will stay under the parental care for a month and complete their growth after 55 to 60 days.

Geographic range

The Red-knobbed Coot lives in eastern and southern Africa, and in Madagascar. There are some very localized populations that live in southern Spain and Morocco.

Threats - protection

Foulque caronculée
IUCN conservation status
in the Wild

On a global scale, the Red-knobbed Coot has a not very concerning status and is classified as LC by the IUCN. In Morocco and even more in Spain, the species was close to extinction in the early 1980's due to hunting and the loss or degradation of its habitats. A reintroduction plan and protection measures have allowed to maintain the species in Spain.

Sources of information

Other sources of interest

QRcode Foulque caronculéeSpecification sheet created on 03/08/2023 by
Translation by AI
published: - Updated: 02-11-2010
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