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Birding Málaga


Common name Red-knobbed coot
Scientific name Fulica cristata
Type Waterbirds
Status Accidental

Medium-sized aquatic bird (approx 42 cm or 16.5 in) very similar physically to the Eurasian Coot. Uniform black plumage. White bill, with a slight bluish tone, with a white shield and a pair of very visible red protuberances that make the species also known as a Crested Coot. Red eyes and legs with long scalloped toes (with round and padded lobes).



Where it lives

African species with a shared population centre between Morocco and southern Spain. It prefers wetlands with plenty of marsh vegetation in the perimeter fringe, submerged vegetation and an extensive free water surface.

How it lives

Vagrant species in the province that appears only from time to time. Little tolerant of human presence. Very discreet. Nests in shallow waters. Laying of 4 to 11 eggs. It feeds on buds, rhizomes and stems, but also consumes aquatic insects and molluscs.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Rare bird in Malaga and very little frequent. The mouth of the Río Verde, in the bustle of Puerto Banús, has occasionally hosted specimens of this species. It is somewhat more frequent at the mouth of the Vélez river and occasional in other Malaga wetlands.

Curious facts

Coots are aggressive and territorial animals during their breeding period. They are also known in Malaga by the popular name of "gallaretas". In the case of this species, the Latin term of its scientific name "cristata" means "crested". It is a species in serious danger of extinction. It is estimated that in Andalusia there were around 5-10 breeding pairs in 2013 located in the marshes of the Guadalquivir and in the Medina-Espera and Lebrija-Las Cabezas lagoons.

Similar birds
Wintering Summer Resident Migration