[American coot adult and chicks call.] [Three American coot chicks walk on rocks in shallow water. Adult American coot swims up to them, then swims away. The chicks remain on the rocks and continue calling.] [Explore Macaulaylibrary.org]

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American Coot chicks are an example of precocial young. They are able to leave the nest and follow their parents into the water almost immediately after hatching. American Coot chicks have yellow-orange downy feathers, a bare red and black head, and a stubby red and orange bill, that and look much different from their black and white parents. Here, three chicks move about in shallow water in Arizona.

The hatchlings of other species are far less independent and are referred to as altricial. Songbird chicks for example, are nest bound for many days after hatching and entirely reliant on their parents to bring them food.

This video accompanies Chapter 11, Breeding Biology of Birds, Handbook of Bird Biology, 3rd Edition from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Wiley Publishing.

Recorded by Larry R Arbanas, Macaulay Library