The Red-knobbed Coot is largely black except for the white facial shield. As a swimming species, it has partial webbing on its long strong toes. During the breeding season, the adults develop two dark red knobs at the top of the frontal shield. Outside the breeding season, these are reduced in size and not as brightly coloured. They inhabit freshwater lakes and ponds. They are common on open water but mostly confined to the West. They are rare on the coast and absent from the arid desert regions. They usually form flocks which range in size from small groups of 10-12 individuals to larger, loose-knit groups.