Notes on the nesting and foraging behaviours of the Common Coot Fulica atra in the wetlands of Viluppuram District, Tamil Nadu, India

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M. Pandian


The nesting and foraging behaviours of the Common Coot Fulica atra were studied in the wetlands of Viluppuram District, Tamil Nadu during the breeding season.  A total of 4,054 individuals of Common Coot including 467 juveniles and 1,327 nests were enumerated.  Of the 1,327 nests, 1,191 were built on Ipomoea carnea vegetation and 136 on open water.  The birds used twigs of Ipomoea carnea and various parts of eight other plant species as nest material.  The nests were elliptical in shape, with flattened upper surfaces containing nest cup and a ramp-like structure each.  49.96 % of nests were found within 50 m distance from the edge of wetlands.  A total of 16 plant species were identified as food sources including five algal species, such as Aphanothece stagnina, Spirogyra irregularis, Chara flaccida, C. vulgaris, and C. zeylanica.  The Common Coots maintained strict territory during the breeding season and no other water birds were observed in the vicinity of their nesting and foraging sites.  Even after completion of the breeding season, sporadic nesting was observed by a few pairs till June 2022.

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