I took this photo today at the Hackney Waterworks.
The Coot is the Mike Tyson of the, normally secretive and dainty, Rail family. It is not a bird to take prisoners: it likes nothing better than stealing and eating other birds’ eggs or ‘dreadnoughting‘ around a lake beating up any other water bird it can find.
Bald as a Coot refers to the white ‘shield’ on the front of its head. It is actually a 700 year old play on words. The Coot is not bald, but an old meaning of bald(e) is ‘streaked white’.
“You lookin’ at me? I KILL YOU!”