Species of the month
Some facts on this bird:
Head and body length: 38–39 cm.
Wingspan: 65 cm.
Weight: Around 500 g.
Range: Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, primarily Kauai, Oahu and Maui.
Habitat: Freshwater lakes, freshwater marshes and coastal saline lagoons.
Egg clutch: 4 to 10 eggs.
Surviving number: Estimated at 2,000–4,000.
Conservation status: Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1).
First described: By the American artist, naturalist, entomologist and photographer Titian Peale in 1848.
Fulica alai isn't satisfied with living on the waterfront. No, it goes one step further and builds its home right on the surface of the water. The nest is made of a floating mass of vegetation measuring about 60 cm in diameter. It provides a resting-hiding place and an anchor for a wide range of aquatic plants, tadpoles and small fish. Both parents incubate the eggs, defending the nest vigorously against predators. If an enemy gets the upper hand and destroys the nest, the pair faces the challenge and rebuilds it. Much of this bird's habitat has been eliminated or altered. This, combined with a host of introduced predators, makes the Hawaiian Coot feel much under siege.
(Archived from Template:Species of the week)