Although American Coots have a pretty large range throughout North America, I wasn’t familiar with them before moving to Florida. They are a very common wetland bird, and are seen in abundance in the Tampa Bay area in freshwater ponds and lakes. Often seen in our area alongside Common Moorhens, American Coots are distinguished by their white bill and all-black plumage. They are accomplished divers and swimmers, but need a little extra effort to get airborne and can be seen running across the water while flapping their wings before actually taking flight. This photograph was taken at John Chestnut Sr. Park in Palm Harbor, FL, which borders Lake Tarpon, the largest freshwater lake in the county.