Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
GENUS I.--GALLINULA, Briss. GALLINULE.
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 behind this slightly declinate,
toward the tip arcuate, the ridge gradually 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, oblong, direct. Head small, oblong, compressed; neck of moderate
length; body large, much 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, fourth longer than
second, third considerably longer, all scutellate. Claws very long, slender,
slightly arched, much compressed, tapering to a very acute point. Plumage
blended; form and wings of moderate length, broad, convex, with the second and
third quills longest; tail very short, much rounded, of twelve weak feathers;
lower coverts almost as long.