2021-09-24 - American Coot in Esquimalt Lagoon - picture by Gary Woodburn. You’ll find coots eating aquatic plants on almost any body of water. When swimming they look like small ducks (and often dive), but on land they look more chickenlike, walking rather than waddling. An awkward and often clumsy flier, the American Coot requires long running takeoffs to get airborne. Though commonly mistaken for ducks, American coots are only distantly related to ducks, belonging to a separate order.