The red-knobbed coot is classed as endangered as it is threatened by habitat loss and hunting.
Where can you find them?
You can find this species swimming in the lakes at Oceanogràfic.
General information on the red-knobbed coot
They generally live in Europe and can be seen throughout the whole year.
They do not usually migrate except in some periods when they move towards the coast.
The red-knobbed coot is similar to the Eurasian coot, although the red-knobbed coots is larger and the Eurasian coot has two red knobs on a white frontal shield.
These small differences prevent them from being distinguished at a distance, so sometimes when they are reintroduced they can be accidentally hunted.
They also have bluish to pinkish tones on their beaks.
When they are born they have an orange to reddish colour and do not have a shield, which develops as they grow and then, after two and a half months, the knobs begin to form.
What do they eat?
They are omnivores.
Thanks to their ability to dive, they feed on submerged vegetation and invertebrates such as crustaceans, insect larvae or molluscs.
Did you know...?
The red-knobbed coot is a nidifugous animal.
In other words, they abandon the nest as soon as they are born and the parents protect them for the first two months. They learn to dive and fish in this time.
Institutional collaboration to save the red-knobbed coot.
The red-knobbed coot is classified as endangered in the National Catalogue of Birds and as “critically endangered” in the Red Book of Birds of Spain (Libro Rojo de las Aves de España).
A single specimen of this species is valuable, as its population is extinguished by invasive species, territorial reduction of wetlands and hunting as it is confused with the common Eurasian coot, whose collection is legal in Spain.
The red-knobbed coot became extinct in the Region of Valencia in the 1950s and, since 1998, this species has been the subject of a reintroduction project in the region, developed by the Generalitat Valenciana and the European Union with life-nature funds that, despite the great reintroduction effort with a large number of couples, has not given the expected results.
Nonetheless, and as a result of a close collaboration with other projects of the Fundación Oceanogràfic with the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition, its wildlife department gave four specimens in 2019 to live in the lakes. The idea was for them to have a safe place with ideal conditions (space, habitat, food, quality water, no predators or hunting - ideal for their reproduction), although one of them disappeared and the other died.
Three babies were born from the 7 eggs between 29th April and 3rd May throughout the COVID-19 confinement period. This has been a result of the strategy that has been carried out to promote their continuous inhabitation in the lakes with their parents who teach them to fish and dive.