Pity the American Coot: It’s light on beauty in almost every category.
Its name is commonly used to derogate geezers, as in, “You old coot.”
It squawks rather than sings.
Its head is, well, a little less ugly than its feet, which are, frankly, kinda creepy.
Even the Cornell Ornithology Lab, which has a thing about birds, has trouble finding something nice to say.
The waterborne American Coot is one good reminder that not everything that floats is a duck. A close look at a coot—that small head, those scrawny legs—reveals a different kind of bird entirely.
But seen close-up and in the right light, its iridescent feathers are fabulous.