In this family the skulls are schizorhinal, nostrils pervious; basipyterygoid processes present; cervical vertebrae fifteen; hind toe absent or very small. Lowe originally divided his Charadriidae into six subfamilies. Of these, two, the Jacaninae and Rostratulae, have since been shown to be more nearly Ralline and have been removed accordingly. Of the other four the Vanellinae and Lobivanellinae cannot, with our present knowledge, be separated and Lowe would, for the time being, re-unite them. This therefore leaves his three principal subfamilies, which may be diagnosed as follows.
Key to Subfamilies.
A. Lacrymals free Pre-Charadriinae, p. 153.
B. Lacrymals not free.
a. Supraorbital rim conspicuously raised, everted or corniced…………Charadriinae, p. 167.
b. Supraorbital rim not conspicuously raised, everted or corniced…………Vanellinae, p. 179.