email a friend
printable version
Horned Coot Fulica cornuta
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species has a moderately small global population which may be declining owing to habitat degradation and hunting. It is consequently classified as Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Distribution and population
Fulica cornuta is known from a few high altitude Andean lakes in south-west Bolivia (Oruro in 1903, Potosí), north Chile (Tarapacá, Antofagasta, Atacama), and north-west Argentina (Jujuy, Salta, Catamarca in 1918, Tucumán, San Juan) (Haene and Montañez 1996). Large concentrations have been recorded only occasionally, most notably 8,988 in the Vilama and Pululos area of Argentina in October 1995 (TWSG News 9 1996: 34-39), and 2,800 birds on Laguna Pelada, Bolivia, in November 1989 (Cabot and Serrano 1982). It normally occurs at low densities, with 1-10 nesting pairs at most sites, and up to 70-90 at a few (Taylor 1996, TWSG News 9 1996: 34-39). The Chilean population is estimated at 620 birds (Glade 1988), and Bolivia seems to hold a healthy population (Rocha and Quiroga 1996). The global population is likely to be in the range of 10,000-19,999 individuals. There is no definite evidence of a recent decline (Taylor 1996), but local populations are believed to fluctuate greatly between periods of drought and inundation.

Population justification
A total of 8,988 individuals were counted in Argentina in 1995, 2,800 in Bolivia in 1982 and 620 are estimated in Chile. The total is probabaly in the range of 10,000-19,999 individuals, and probably fluctuates greatly. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of hunting.

It inhabits high altitude Andean lakes, with dense submerged aquatic plants, primarily at 3,000-5,200 m but as low as 2,000 m in harsh weather.

Its fresh and brackish lakes are susceptible to contamination and vegetation trampling by cattle, and water is pumped from some to coastal towns and mines. It also suffers from hunting, egg-harvesting, and some predation by Andean Gull Larus serranus.

Conservation Actions Underway
Laguna Pelada has some protection. Conservation Actions Proposed
Research threats. Carry out population census and continue to regularly monitor the population.

Anon. 1996. I jornadas sobre conservacion y uso sustentable de la biodiversidad en las principales regiones boscosas de la Argentina. Organizacion de Estados Iberoamericanos, Buenos Aires.

Cabot, J.; Serrano, P. 1982. La comunidad de aves. Informe sobre la vegetación y fauna de la Reserva Nacional Altoandina "Eduardo Avaroa", Provincia Sud-Lipez, Potosí, pp. 40-59. MACA, MICT and INFOL (Estudios Especializados No. 42), La Paz.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Glade, A. A. 1988. Red list of Chilean terrestrial vertebrates: proceedings of the symposium "Conservation Status of Chilean Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna". Impresiones Comerciales (for CONAF), Santiago.

Haene, E.; Montañez, A. 1996. Notas sobre aves de la reserva de la biosfera San Guillermo (Provincia de San Juan, Republica Argentina). Revista Nuestras Aves 34: 47-48.

Rocha O., O.; Quiroga, C. 1996. Aves. In: Ergueta, S.; de Morales, C. (ed.), Libro Rojo de los vertebrados de Bolivia, pp. 95-164. Centro de Datos para la Conservación, La Paz.

Taylor, P. B. 1996. Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules and Coots). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 108-209. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Babarskas, M., Benstead, P., Capper, D., Pilgrim, J., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Fulica cornuta. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, Coots)
Species name author Bonaparte, 1853
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 204,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species