Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Odd coot in Washington gets mention by David Sibley

Dark-eyed JuncoTypical American Coot, Commonwealth Park, Beaverton, Oregon, 22 January 2011 by Greg Gillson.


On March 13, Lyn Topinga reported to OBOL (Oregon Birders OnLine email list) that she had photographed an odd American Coot in Vancouver, Washington. It lacked the dark red spot on the top of the bill's frontal shield and, therefore, resembles the Caribbean Coot.

Click for Lyn's photos

David Sibley picked up news of this bird and wrote an article on this rare variant (~1% of all American Coots may appear as this bird): The 'Caribbean' Coot in North America. Lyn's photos and those of Scott Carpenter are listed in Sibley's references.

Sibley argues that without definitive DNA evidence to the contrary, the Caribbean Coot could very well simply be this variant, though more common in the West Indies.

You know, even birds that we usually ignore because of their ubiquitousness can surprise us.