Both mandibles finely and evenly serrated on the terminal third of the edges; bill short and triangular with the nostrils exposed, but partly covered by a membrane; rictal bristles short; sometimes with only nine primaries, in which case the first is very long9)sometimes with ten when the first is minute; rectrices twelve.
In this family there is but one moult annually ; the sexes often differ considerably but in some species are alike: the young resemble the adult female.
The Dicaeidae form a link between the nine-primary and ten-primary Passeres but are separated from all other families, except the Nectariniidae, by the serrated margins to their bills, a feature not present in their nearest relatives the Zosteropidae and Chalcopariidae.
Key to Genera.
A.With nine primaries, the first reaching to tip of wing.
a.Bill slender ; the lower line of lower mandible almost straight ………..Dicaeum, p. 421.
b.Bill thick; lower mandible swollen with its lower line annulate.
a1. Tail rounded; nostrils covered by- long hairs………..Acmonorhynchus, p. 438,.
b1. Tail square; nostrils bare of hairs………..Piprisoma, p. 434.
B. Wing with ten primaries, the first one small.
e. First primary about equal in length to tarsus ………..Prionochilus, p. 437.
d. First primary not longer than hind toe………..Pachyglossa, p. 439.