Friday, April 29, 2011

American Coot foot

Last October I blogged, "Many non-birders and beginning birders assume that coots are closely related to ducks.  On land, they look kind of like chickens.  They do not have webbed feet.  Each individual toe is webbed. In fact, coots are rails, distantly, but more closely related to cranes than they are to ducks or chickens."  The webbed toes are visible in this photo taken in late March 2011 in Faribault's Alexander Park. When the coot swims forward, the paddling motion of the toes expands the webs, making for greater surface area.  As the toes are pulled forward, the webbing folds together, resulting in less water resistance.

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