Skull schizorhinal (except in Pluvianus); nostrils impervious, oval, more or less protected by a membrane and situated in a basal depression and not in a groove ; no basipterygoid processes; cervical vertebrae fifteen; middle toe pectinated; tarsus transversely shielded in front and behind.
This family is divisible into two groups, the Coursers with long tarsi and Plover-like carriage and actions, and the Pratincoles or Sand-Swallows with short tarsi and rather Tern-like action and flight.
Key to Subfamilies*
A. No hind toe; tarsus equal to one-third of wing or more…………Cursoriinae, p. 84.
B. A small hind toe ; tarsus equal to about one-fifth of wing…………Glareolinae, p. 89.