If you asked people what type of bird is in the photo above most people would probably tell you that it was a duck of some type. This would be incorrect. The American coot is actually a member of the rail family. So why is it that a bird that looks like a duck and acts like a duck is classified with a bunch of birds that you would usually find running around in the tall marsh grasses? Well it's all in the feet. Ducks, as most people know, have webbed feet which helps them to swim. Rails, like the American coot, have separate toes, each of which is lobed at the end. You can see the separate toes in the photo above, which I took back in 2007 at Lake Vadnais.