Fun Hawaiian Coot Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Hawaiian Coot Facts For Kids

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The Hawaiian coot (scientific name Fulica alai) or 'alae keʻokeʻo' is a species of bird endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. This bird species is quite similar to the American coot found in North America. An interesting fact about this endangered species from Hawaii is that the bird is considered either a subspecies of American coot and given the scientific name Fulica americana alai, or it is considered a separate species called the Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai). The only difference is that the Hawaiian coot is found only in Hawaii, whereas the American coot occupies most of North America.

A Hawaiian coot is easily recognized by its dark slate gray coloration on its body and its white bill. It also has a large frontal shield which is white in color. Conspicuous white undertail feathers are also seen. To spot these birds in the wildlife, one should visit freshwater and brackish wetlands, marshes, agricultural wetlands, and aquaculture ponds. However, their range is now a little less due to extensive habitat degradation. This bird species are affected by habitat loss at a greater level and the population of Hawaiian coots is now vulnerable to extinction. An Endangered status has been given to the birds by the state of Hawaii.

In the natural habitat of the Hawaiian islands, these birds are found feeding on small fish, insects and their larvae, aquatic vegetation, and aquatic crustaceans. They dive and catch this food in the ponds and are capable of traveling long distances, even between islands, to search for food.

For more relatable content, check out these American coot facts and ring-necked duck fun facts for kids.

Fun Hawaiian Coot Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Terrestrial and aquatic vegetation, insects, crustaceans, and small fish

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

Up to 1.54 lb (698.5 g)

How long are they?

13-16 in (33.02-40.64 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Dark slate gray, white bill, and large white frontal shield

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Habitat Loss

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Freshwater Lakes, Ponds, Wetlands, Freshwater Marshes, Coastal Saline Lagoons, And Water Storage Areas


Hawaiian Islands









Hawaiian Coot Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Hawaiian coot?

The Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai) is a species of coot in the family Rallidae. This bird species is endemic to Hawaii and is also known by the name 'alae ke'oke'o' in the Hawaiian language.

What class of animal does a Hawaiian coot belong to?

The Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai) belongs to the class of Aves in the kingdom of Animalia.

How many Hawaiian coots are there in the world?

As the population of these birds fluctuates in the wildlife, the exact numbers are unavailable. However, a population between 2000-4000 is found in the wildlife on the Hawaiian islands.

Where does a Hawaiian coot live?

These birds are endemic to Hawaii. Hawaiian coots were earlier found on all the islands except Lanai and Kahoolawe. These coots are mostly found in Oahu, Maui, and Kauai.

Coots are usually found in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and parts of Africa. The American coot is a migratory species found mostly in North America.

What is a Hawaiian coot's habitat?

The Hawaiian coot habitat range includes freshwater and brackish-water marshes and ponds. These birds have a range that includes brackish wetlands which have lakes, tidal ponds, and marshes where vegetation is abundant.

Who do Hawaiian coots live with?

The company Hawaiian coots keep is not known. However, coots are usually seen in flocks, both in the breeding and non-mating season.

How long does a Hawaiian coot live?

Coots are known to live for an age of up to five to nine years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season is from April to September. Around eight to 10 eggs are laid by females during the mid of April to May. The birds prefer deeper waters in the breeding season interspersed with vegetation. This provides them the vertical structure needed to make their nests. This also provides cover for the young birds as well as the nests.

In coots, females care for the eggs and the young. Incubation is also done by both parents for around 23 days. Nests are found on the edges of a reed cover at the edges of the pond and are made by both parent birds. The young become fully independent after two months.

What is their conservation status?

Also known as 'alae keʻokeʻo' in the Hawaiian language, Fulica alai (Hawaiian coot) is categorized as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List.

Federally listed as an endangered species in the month of October in 1970 by the authorities, coots are considered both endangered and endemic by the state of Hawaii. The main reason for this status is habitat degradation and drainage of the water for cultivation and development by human activities. These have degraded the wetlands, leading to the loss of population.

Hawaiian Coot Fun Facts

What do Hawaiian coots look like?

A Hawaiian coot has a dark slate gray plumage with hidden white undertail feathers. The white bill is seen extending up the front of the head which forms a large white frontal shield. Some Hawaiian coots have this frontal shield in red color. However, the bill is always white. Both sexes are similar.

These birds are easily recognized against the common gallinule by their white frontal shields, gray feet, and legs. The Hawaiian coot feet also have lobbed toes.

Young coots are similar to adults but duller in color.

A Hawaiian coot bird has a dark slate gray body, white bill, and has conspicuous white under tail feathers.

How cute are they?

They are considered quite cute.

How do they communicate?

They are usually silent. However, sometimes they are seen making noises like 'keck-keck' and 'keek'.

How big is a Hawaiian coot?

The length of this bird is similar to the American coot. Both these species are 13-16 in (33.02-40.64 cm) long.

How fast can a Hawaiian coot fly?

They usually do not fly and so the speed is not known. However, the Hawaiian coot is known for sustained flight near the water.

How much does a Hawaiian coot weigh?

The weight of these birds has a range of up to 1.54 lb (698.5 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of this species are not given different names.

What would you call a baby Hawaiian coot?

Babies of Hawaiian coots are called chicks or young.

What do they eat?

Hawaiian coots are known to feed close to nesting areas in semi-open waters. This omnivorous species feed mostly on worms, snails, crustaceans, aquatic and terrestrial insects, insect larvae, tadpoles, and small fish. These birds are also known to feed on leaves and seeds of many terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. This vegetation includes grasses, sedges, and rushes.

Predators of these birds in the natural wildlife include small Asian mongeese. The introduction of this species in the wild habitat of the islands has decreased the population of coot birds drastically.

Are they dangerous?

They are not at all considered dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

They are usually not considered pets.

Did you know...

This endangered species is sometimes considered a subspecies of American coots due to the striking similarities between them. This subspecies is given the scientific name Fulica americana alai. However, now Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai) is considered a separate species.

Most rail species are present in shallow waters, however, coots are great swimmers and show similar swimming traits as ducks and geese.

The breeding season is from April to September.

The most commonly found bird species in Hawaii are finches, mynahs, stilts, and Northern Cardinals.

Are Hawaiian coots endemic?

Hawaiian coots are endemic to Hawaii. They are found in almost all the islands, however, due to a decrease in their population, this species is also considered endangered on the island.

What other types of birds living in Hawaii?

There are more than 350 bird species found on the Hawaiian Islands. Among these, 59 species are endemic to the islands and not found anywhere else. Hawaiian coots are among the 59. Hawaiʻi ʻamakihi and Nēnē are such bird species found on the islands.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these snow goose facts and swan goose facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Hawaiian coot coloring pages.

Written By
Ritwik Bhuyan

Ritwik has a bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. His degree developed his passion for writing, which he has continued to explore in his previous role as a content writer for PenVelope and his current role as a content writer at Kidadl. In addition to this, he has also completed CPL training and is a licensed commercial pilot!

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