The New Student's Reference Work/Coot
Coot, a water-bird, also called mudhen and crow-duck. It differs from the rail in having lobed toes, which assist in swimming. It is about 14 inches long, with a short tail, with a slaty-black plumage and some white marks near the tail. The bill is pointed and ivory-white, distinguishing it from the duck. It breeds in bogs, and frequents quiet pools and rivers, but prefers the neighborhood of small muddy ponds. The food is water-insects, small fish, worms, seeds, grass, etc. It lays from eight to 12 eggs, yellow-buff in color and marked with fine dots and spots of brown and very faint lilac lines.