Family XXXIII. RALLINAE. RAILS.
GENUS II. FULICA, Linn. COOT
Bill as long as the head, nearly straight, stout, deep, compressed, tapering; upper mandible with a soft ovate or oblong tumid plate at the base, extending over the forehead, the dorsal line declinate, toward the tip arcuate, the ridge narrowed to the middle, then slightly enlarged, the sides nearly erect, the edges sharp, the notches obsolete, the tip rather obtuse; nasal sinus extending nearly to the middle; lower mandible with the angle rather long and narrow, the dorsal line ascending, nearly straight, the sides nearly erect, the tip narrow. Nostrils submedial, lateral, linear, direct. Head small, oblong, compressed; neck of moderate length, slender; body full, compressed. Feet large; tibia bare at the lower part; tarsus stout, of moderate length, compressed, with very broad anterior scutella; hind toe rather small and slender; anterior toes very long, their margins dilated into flat lobes; the hind toe with a single inferior lobe. Claws of moderate length, slightly arched, much compressed, acute. Plumage blended, soft. Wings short, broad, convex, with the second quill longest. Tail very short, much rounded, of twelve weak feathers; lower coverts nearly as long. Gizzard extremely muscular; coeca very long, being a fifth part of the length of the intestine.