fulica americana

American coots have the craziest feet! Each of the forward-facing toes has wide, scaly, flexible lobes that seem reptilian or even alien.

When under water, the lobes help the foot to push through the water. But on land, the lobes fold back when the foot is lifted, making it easier (than if the feet were webbed) for the bird to walk on grass, mud or even ice.

Coots aren’t the only birds with lobed feet; some grebes and phalaropes also have similar structures, though not quite as long or broad. 

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