The red-knobbed coot is an omnivore and will take a variety of small live prey including the eggs of other water birds. Its main food in most waters, however, comprises various waterweeds for which it commonly dives. Where it is disturbed it is likely to bully any intruder, even large birds such as Egyptian geese, if they do not defy its challenges. It can be seen swimming on open water or walking across waterside grasslands. It is an aggressive species and strongly territorial during the breeding season.