The endemic Hawaiian Coot, known locally as the 'alae ke 'oke 'o, is a bird of easily recognizable features. Most notable is the white frontal shield, which makes it look like it's headed off to Venetian carnival in the medico delle peste mask (while usually white, this shield can also range in color from a blue-white to a deep red). Its slate colored body sits on strong legs, cluing you in to its preference for walking and running instead of flying. The comical looking feet sport lobes instead of webbing, that help it kick through the water as well as navigate the marshy environs. It prefers freshwater, but can also be found in brackish water, where it feeds on your usual pond fare: snails, small fish, vegetation, insects and crustaceans. Nesting sites are built depending on water levels, and are often on floating platforms of vegetation, where the female lays three to ten eggs. In a little under one month, they'll hatch into mini coots. Once common, the Hawaiian coot is now endangered, primarily due to habitat loss. A good third of our coastal wetlands have been lost over the past century. Let's make sure we support efforts to protect and restore our wetlands, so they can have lots of baby coots. How nice it will be to say, "Hey, you old coot!" and really mean it.
welcomes you to visit with the all the wonderful flora and fauna that we share this lovely aina with.