Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
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.