- Length: 10.5 inches Wingspan: 21 inches
- Fairly large, duck-like waterbird with short wings and a short
- Very short, thick bill
- Frequently seen both swimming and walking
- Often flicks and cocks short tail while walking, exposing white
outer undertail coverts
which are also easily visible while swimming
- Sexes similar
- Red frontal shield above bill
- Red bill with a yellow tip
- Slate gray head, neck, breast and belly
- Brownish back and upperwings
- White stripe along upper flanks
- Tarsus and feet greenish yellow, tibia red
- Small, dull red frontal shield
- Dark bill with dull yellow tip
- Pale gray-brown head and underparts
- Whitish throat and belly
- Dark gray-brown upperparts
- White stripe along flanks
In poor light, adult can be confused with Purple Gallinule, but
can be distinguished by red forehead shield and white flank stripe.
American Coot has a whitish bill, lacks the flank stripe and
has a slate gray back.
Immature Purple Gallinules are much paler
and lack the white flank stripe.
Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.