Google decides that coots are really lions

First of all let us make sure we all know the difference between lions and coots. As far as I can recall, lions are huge, snarly, growly, land animals that are liable to eat you if you cross their path. This appears to be confirmed by Wikipedia ( but of course Wikipedia could be wrong. Coots are  medium sized water birds ( and the worst that could befall you should you antagonise one is a severe pecking.

I was walking by the Thames in Caversham today and took several photos of the birds on the river. One was of two coots who were having what appeared to be a minor domestic or an argument over territory, but a friend suggested to me that what I saw was coot mating behaviour. What do you do in a situation such as this? You Google.

My search on coots mating behaviour came up with:

Google''s interpretation of search on 'coots mating behaviour'

Where the [expletive deleted] did the lions come from?? I just do not understand how Google managed to replace coots with lions. One is a water bird with wings, feathers, and a beak and the other a large, aggressive land mammal with fur, claws and big teeth. But Google, yet again, has decided to go off and run its own search. (See my posting Oi! Google – you have seriously overstepped the mark

So did I get what I wanted by clicking on “Search instead for coots mating behaviour”? Yes I did, but Google still thinks I really want to search for lions and asks “Did you mean: lions mating behaviour”. Google has totally lost the plot.

What Google should have given me in the first place

And the photo that started it all? That can be found on my Flickr account at I think you will agree that coots are very different from lions (

3 thoughts on “Google decides that coots are really lions”

  1. WTF…. I guess that a coot is a living creature and a lion is a living creature and perhaps they are both viewed as synonyms. What’s even odder is when I repeated the search after clicking on the “Did you mean” it got it right – it remembered my correction in my web-history. I also put a + in front of coot and that got it right first time – hence my thought it could be a synonym. (Had to clear my web-history first though each time. What a pain 🙁 )

    Seems as though Google is lion about it’s results. Has it got no pride any longer? (Or are we just a pair of old coots who shouldn’t be so picky?).

  2. Groan….. too early in the morning for that sort of humour, but I see you posted your comment last night so I’ll let it pass:-)

    Just checked in the browser where I have enabled web history and found as you did that running the search a second time gives the coots. Google still asks me, though, Did you mean lions mating behaviour and putting a plus before coots did give me what I wanted but Google still asked Did you mean +lions mating behaviour.

    I’ve just tried putting a tilde (~) before coots, and Google gave me “Showing results for ~lions mating behaviour. Search instead for ~coots mating behaviour”

    I give up 🙁

  3. There does seem to be increased development of SERPS, which are made live with what could be considered to be bugs.

    I have come across popular search terms where the 2nd or 3rd result is just a holding page and can see no logical reason why it should be there. One term the doamin has been there for over a month.

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