The Eurasian Coot, Fulica atra, also known as Coot, is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae.
The Eurasian Coot breeds across much of the Old World on freshwater lakes and ponds. It occurs and breeds in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. The species has recently expanded its range into New Zealand. It is resident in the milder parts of its range, but migrates further south and west from much of Asia in winter as the waters freeze.
The Eurasian Coot is much less secretive than most of the rail family, and can be seen swimming on open water or walking across waterside grasslands. It is strongly territorial during the breeding season, and both parents are involved in territorial defence. During the non-breeding season they may form large flocks, possibly related to predator avoidance.
It is reluctant to fly and when taking off runs across the water surface with much splashing. They do the same, but without actually flying, when travelling a short distance at speed in territorial disputes. As with many rails, its weak flight does not inspire confidence, but on migration, usually at night, it can cover surprisingly large distances.
Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_Coot - 04.10.2010
We hardly can believe it, that the gaudy capitulums of the little Eurasian Coots later on will be transformed in chastely noble black-white heads.