The Hawaiian coot is smaller in body size than the American coot, & the bulbous frontal shield above the bill is distinctly larger than that of the American coot & is usually completely white (Shallenberger 1977; Pratt et al. 1987). From 1 to 3 percent of the total Hawaiian coot population has a red lobe at the top of the frontal shield & deep maroon markings at the tip of the bill, similar to the American coot (Engilis and Pratt 1993; Pratt et al. 1987; Figure 10). Adult Hawaiian coots are dark, slate-gray in color, with white undertail feathers. Male & female Hawaiian coots are similar in color. Hawaiian coots have large feet with lobed toes, unlike the webbed feet of ducks. Immature Hawaiian coots are a lighter gray with buff-tipped contour feathers, have smaller, dull white bills, & lack a well-developed frontal shield. Downy chicks have red skin & a bill with a yellow tip, similar to that of the American coot (Brisbin et al. 2002). The Hawaiian coot is nonmigratory and presumably originated from stray migrants from continental North America that remained as residents in the islands (Brisbin et al. 2002).

Scientific Name

Fulica americana alai
Common Name
Hawaiian Coot
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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