Bill short, high at base, and conical. No cere on the bill. Laminar teeth more or less exposed. Large heavy body, with long neck and small head. Hind toe moderately large, without lobe. Tarsus reticulated throughout. Plumage dull, and without coloured speculum on wing-secondaries. Apparently only one moult of all the feathers, which takes place soon after the young are hatched. Sexes differ slightly. Live in flocks. Breed mostly in Polar regions.