American Coot
(Fulica americana)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Found between British Columbia and Quebec and currently breeding in high densities in the prairies, the American Coot was more abundant in Canada prior to an early-20th-century decline related to wetland loss and overhunting (Brisbin and Mowbray 2002). Results from waterfowl surveys support an overall increase in population since about 1970, despite ongoing fluctuations in abundance with changing water levels. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2014 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLarge IncreaseMedium

Population estimate

Canada> 2,000,000 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population


Conservation and management

While loss of wetland habitat contributed to the historical decline of American Coots, they have likely been less affected by habitat change than other marsh birds (Brisbin and Mowbray 2002). Their preference for seasonal or temporary wetlands and their ability to successfully colonise new sites when water levels change have reduced the impacts of habitat alteration, though drought conditions have contributed to sudden temporary declines (Brisbin and Mowbray 2002). The total harvest of this species and the number of active hunters have dropped considerably in both Canada and the United States. (Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee 2010).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Ontario Region
Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence PlainLower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain, sub-region and priority type: Ontario Region