This genus may be recognized at once by its remarkable bill, in which, when adult, an open space is left between the mandibles. These are in contact for a distance from the gape and again at the tip. The bill is strong and stout and the genys considerably curved ; the anterior half of the upper mandible is furnished with lamella? along the commissure. Pace in front of the eyes and around them, with the area below the eyes, and the chin and throat naked in adults, only the lores naked in young birds. Tarsus moderate, about as long as the culmen, reticulate ; toes and claws considerably longer in proportion than in Storks generally.
The open space between the mandibles is said to be the result of wear *, caused by the shells of the mollusca, on which the bird feeds ; in the nestling, and up to the age of 4 or 5 months, the commissure is straight and the two mandibles in contact throughout.
Three species are known ; one inhabits Africa, another Madagascar, the third India.