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"White-shielded American Coots, Kings Pond, Vancouver, Washington"
   ("Caribbean Coot")
American Coot, Kings Pond, Vancouver, Washington
(to come)


"White-shield" Coots

  • 2020 Update ...
  • 2019 Update ...
  • 2018 Update ...
  • Information ...
    • Images ...
    • Sibley Guide (2011) ...
    • Information (2011) ...
    • AOU Update (2016) ...
  • 2011, "White-shielded Coot" ...


Updates ...

2020 Update:    Two Coots were seen January 3, 2020, one being a White-shielded Coot.

2019 Update:    Two Coots were seen January 2, 2019, one being a White-shielded Coot.

Image, 2019, King's Pond, Washington, click to enlarge Image, 2019, King's Pond, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
American Coot, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken January 2, 2019. Nikon P900.


2018 Update:    A White-shielded Coot was present at Kings Pond in January 2018.

Image, 2018, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington
Click image to enlarge
"White-shielded" American Coot, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken January 5, 2018. Nikon P900.


Information ...

Images:    The majority of these images were taken in March 2011. The "yellow frontal shield" coot has been at Kings Pond since late 2010. Being "just a coot", I didn't pay him much attention, except to notice he had a wierd head. My first pictures of him were mid-February 2011. In March then another odd-headed coot showed up with a red callus and yellow wash, the one I call the "red-yellow frontal shield" coot. I finally decided to pay attention to these coots. On March 10th and 11th I spread some seed and sat there and photographed the coots who showed up, and then came home to try and find out why they look like they do. I invited Scott Carpenter over to see the Kings Pond Coots, and, with his and Ian Paulsen's help, information about the "White-shielded American Coot morphs" were obtained.


Sibley Guide (2011):    "The 'Caribbean' Coot in North America", IN: Sibley Guides, Identification of North American birds and trees website, 2011.


Information (2011):

Excerpt from:    Don Roberson "CREAGRUS" website, 2011, The Creagrus California Counties Project, San Francisco County, www.creagrus.com, web posted to his site in 2006: ... (http://creagrus.home.montereybay.com/CA-SF.html)

"... Note that the left-hand coot has an entirely white shield [note, image not shown here], a character once thought to identify Caribbean Coots in North America. The late Luis Baptista and I published a paper [Roberson & Baptista, 1988, White-shielded coots in North America: a critical evaluation. Am. Birds 42: 1241-1246] debunking this theory and all U.S. claims of "Caribbean Coot." Rather, male American Coots with excess testosterone may possess the all-white, high shields that match Caribbean coots. The San Francisco coot was one of the ones we featured in our article. ..."



Excerpts from:    Roberson, D., and Baptista, L.F., 1988, White-shielded coots in North America: a critical evaluation: IN: Am. Birds 42: 1241-1246: ... (SORA Searchable Ornithological Research Archive, scroll to article: http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/NAB/v042n05/ ... or directly to report (800k, 6 pages): http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/NAB/v042n05/p01241-p01246.pdf, National Audubon Society Field Notes, v.42, no.5, winter 1988.)

"... In November 1983-January 1984, we surveyed coots wintering on selected small ponds in California. For the most part these were ponds where we had found atypical coots in previous years, though half were selected without knowing what was present. We rather arbitrarily divided the shield characters observed into five categories:

    A = Normal American Coots with typical red callus.
    B = "Intermediates," with red callus but washed with yellow on shield below callus, some having a very reduced callus.
    C = Bulbous shields strongly washed yellow sometimes with reddish splotches.
    D = Bulbous white shields, with obvious reddish spots, streaks, or splotches, but not a callus.
    E = Bulbous white shields with little or no reddish staining, limited (if present) to extreme upper edge of shield.

Although there is some subjectivity in assigning birds to these categories, they provide a convenient means of quantifying the frequencies of the morphs in various populations sampled. ..."



AOU Update (2016):    In 2016 the AOU decided the "Caribbean Coot" was a sub-species of the American Coot.

Caribbean Coot - Not a Unique Species:

"The Caribbean Coot (formerly Fulica caribaea) was – until recently – considered to be its own species of coot endemic to the Caribbean Basin (residing in Venezuela as well as the West Indies). It is a regular member of wetland communities where it can be seen swimming on ponds and lakes as well as walking about on the shore.

It was historically thought that Caribbean Coots and their very similar appearing congener, the American Coot (Fulica americana), were separate species. As of this year, however, the AOU has decided that Caribbean Coots actually belong to the American Coot species. The best evidence for this comes from research on their breeding biology by Douglas McNair and Carol Cramer-Burke. It seems that St. Croix Caribbean and American Coots choose mates randomly with no regard for species, implying that there is no reproductive isolation on St. Croix. While occasional hybridization is ok, if the two were actually unique species, birds would have at least some preference (a strong preference, in fact) for breeding with fellow birds from their own species.

Adding to that, the birding community originally thought Caribbean and American Coots could be distinguished by the morphology (size, length) and color of the shields and calluses located on their foreheads. However, that has become….messy. Furthermore, there are no discerning characteristics between their vocalizations.

All this implies that the Caribbean Coot has not actually differentiated from the American Coot enough to be its own unique species."


Source:    "eBird.org", September 23, 2016, "Caribbean Coot - Not a Unique Species".



2011, "White-shielded Coots", Kings Pond ...

Coot #1, March 11, 2011:    Five total Coots were seen and photographed at King's Pond on March 11, 2011, with one of them having a yellow callus ("Coot #1") and another having a red and yellow callus ("Coot #2").


Click image to enlarge
Coot #1, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken March 11, 2011.

Click image to enlarge
Coot #1, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken March 11, 2011.

Click image to enlarge
Coot #1, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Images taken March 11, 2011.

Coot #1, March 18, 2011:    Images taken late afternoon with occasional sun breaks. I could not relocate the White-shielded American Coot with the red and yellow callus which had been seen on March 10th and again on March 11th (see "Coot #2").

Image, 2011, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington
Click image to enlarge
American Coot, "yellow shield", King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken March 18, 2011. Canon 40d, 200mm.
Image, 2011, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington
Click image to enlarge
American Coot, "yellow shield", King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken March 18, 2011. Canon 40d, 200mm.
Image, 2011, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington Image, 2011, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington
Click image to enlarge
American Coot, "yellow shield", King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken March 18, 2011. Canon 40d, 200mm.
Image, 2011, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington
Click image to enlarge
American Coot, "yellow shield", King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken March 18, 2011. Canon 40d, 200mm.


Other views of "Coot #1" from other dates:

Coot #2, March 10 and March 11, 2011:


Click image to enlarge
Coot #2, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken March 11, 2011.

Click image to enlarge
Coot #2, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken March 11, 2011.

Click image to enlarge
Coot #2, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Images taken March 11, 2011.

Click image to enlarge
Coot #2, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Images taken March 11, 2011.

Click image to enlarge
Coot #2, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Images taken March 10, 2011.

Click image to enlarge
Coot #2, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Images taken March 10, 2011.

Coot #3, March 11, 2011 ... (for comparison):
[MORE King's Pond American Coots]


Click image to enlarge
Coot #3, King's Pond, Vancouver, Washington. Images taken March 11, 2011.

There were five different coots present on March 11, 2011.


 



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March 2011
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