Photo courtesy of P Fitzpatrick.
All-black and larger than its cousin, the moorhen, it has a distinctive white beak and ‘shield’ above the beak which earns it the title ‘bald’. Its feet have distinctive lobed flaps of skin on the toes, which act instead of webs when swimming. It patters noisily over the water before taking off and can be very aggressive towards others.
Mainly on freshwater lakes, gravel pits, reservoirs, rivers and town park lakes when deep enough. Sometimes seen offshore, especially in winter if freshwater areas are frozen.
When to see them
All year round.
What they eat
Vegetation, snails and insect larvae.