Tuesday 31st January 2023


The other day my old friend Lars Thomas from Copenhagen sent me this picture of a hybrid waterfowl, a cross between a coot and a moorhen. I had never heard of such a thing and asked for more detail. The picture was taken by Linda Kjær-Thomsen, and Lars gave me the following details:

“…the thing was about the same size as a moorhen, but more stocky like the coot. Beak like a moorhen (obviously) but no white under tail feathers, and no white sidestripe, rather stocky legs for a moorhen, but roughly the right colour, but toes with suggestions of the flaps coots have on the sides of their toes.

The voice was also different from both of the parent’s species – i.e. much deeper. And it seemed like the thing actually thought it was a coot, as it was very aggressive towards them but completely oblivious to normal moorhens in the area.”

Jonathan Downes
Cryptozoologist, naturalist, musician, singer, composer, poet, novelist and Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology since 1992. Jon was born in Portsmouth in 1959 and spent his infancy in Nigeria and his childhood in Hong Kong. His wife Corinna died of cancer in 2020, leaving him with two stepdaughters and a six year old granddaughter called Evelyn.