Distinctive dark waterbird that resembles a cross between a duck and a chicken. Adults have a bright red bill with a yellow tip, while immatures have a duller bill and legs. Note big white oval patches under the tail, and white streaks along the flanks. Inhabits fresh and brackish marshes, on ponds, lakes, and along slow-moving watercourses with bordering vegetation. Smaller and more retiring than coot, and rarely far out on open water. Swims with jerky motion and walks with stealthy gait, the tail often slightly cocked; does not usually dive. Gives a variety of loud, somewhat frog-like calls.