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BiologyThe coot feeds on pondweeds and invertebrates (4); it dives rather clumsily to obtain food, and returns to the surface rapidly thanks to its cork-like buoyancy (6). Unlike ducks, coots bring their food to the surface before eating it; this results in frequent cases of food stealing (4). They are opportunistic birds, and may feed in grasslands at certain times of the year (6). During winter, large flocks may gather on large lakes and reservoirs (10), these gatherings are relatively peaceful compared to the fierce territorial aggression seen during the breeding season (2). The nest, a mound of dead reeds, is usually built amongst emergent vegetation (6). From mid-March, between 6 and 9 speckled eggs are laid (occasionally up to 15 eggs, though these large clutches may be laid by more than one female (10)). The eggs are incubated by both parents for up to 24 days (6). The chicks leave the nest a few days after hatching, and reach independence at around 8 weeks of age (6). Two broods are produced a year, but occasionally a third brood may occur (6).