Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
GENUS IV.--RALLUS, Linn. RAIL.
Bill much longer than the head, slender, compressed, very slightly
decurved, high at the base; upper mandible with the dorsal line almost straight,
until towards the end, where it is slightly curved, the ridge a little flattened
at the base, and extending slightly on the forehead, convex toward the end,
nasal sinus forming a groove extending to two-thirds, the sides nearly erect,
the edges slightly inflected, the notches very slight, the tip rather obtuse;
lower mandible with the angle very long and extremely narrow, the dorsal line
almost straight, the sides erect and a little convex, the edges involute, the
tip narrowed but obtuse. Nostrils lateral, sub-basal, linear. Head small,
oblong, much compressed; neck long and slender; body slender, much compressed.
Feet long; tibia bare below; tarsus rather long, stout, compressed anteriorly,
covered with broad scutella; hind toe very small and tender, fourth little
longer than second, anterior toes very long, scutellate, compressed. Claws of
moderate length, arched, slender, much compressed, acute. Plumage rather stiff;
feathers of the forehead with the shaft enlarged, and extended beyond the tip.
Wings very short and broad; third quill longest. Tail very short, much rounded,
of twelve feeble rounded feathers., scarcely longer than the coverts.