Schizorhinal; nostrils pervious, perforated in the bill itself, without any membranous operculum ; no basipterygoid processes ; cervical vertebras 15.
The nidification is peculiar. A single large white egg is laid in a hole dug in the sand.
This family consists of a single genus and species inhabiting the shores of the Indian Ocean. There has been much discussion, even before the peculiar nest and egg were known, as to the affinities of this bird ; Blyth, on account chiefly of the immature plumage, regarding it as an aberrant Tern, whilst Van der Hoeven, from an examination of the skeleton, placed it next to the Oyster-catcher (Hoematopus) ; and A. Milne-Edwards showed that although essentially related to the latter genus, Dromas exhibits certain resemblances to the Storks. Gadow * includes it in one family with Cursorius and Glareola, and this classification is adopted in the British Museum Catalogue, though Sharpe in his own system, like Milne-Edwards J and Furbringer §, makes Dromas the type of a peculiar family, a view which is here accepted, on account of the conflicting relationships exhibited.