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Medium-sized, chicken-like swimming bird, dark gray to black overall, short, white bill and undertail coverts. Toes are lobed, not webbed. Upper edge of frontal shield is red, but usually only visible at close range. Swift direct flight with rapid wing beats, feet protrude past tail.
Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for migratory birds and other wildlife, lies on the Big Mineral Arm of Lake Texoma, on the Red River between Oklahoma and Texas. The refuge is made up of water, marsh, and upland habitat.
Coots are kleptoparasitic, which means that when they don’t feel like hunting for their own food, they’ll steal their meal from other birds. Even though the American Coot swims like a duck, they do not have webbed feet, the toes have lobes on the sides of each segment. They are nicknamed "marsh hen" or "mud hen" because of they way their heads bob when they walk or swim.