This is a very small family, consisting of 3 genera, each containing one or two species only, and inhabiting the tropical parts of America, Africa, and South-eastern Asia, one genus in each. All are externally much like Hails; and the lobed membrane on each side of the toes, on account of which the name of Finfoot was applied by Latham to the only form with which he was. acquainted, is very similar to that found in the Coots.
In the Finfeet the sternum is more massive than in the Hails, and is broader behind, with a shallow notch on each side. There is no aftershaft, but the wing is quincubital, the 5th secondary being present (Seebohm says that it is wanting in Heliornis, but present in Podica). There are no bare tracts on the neck. Rectrices 18. The deep flexor • tendons are somewhat peculiar; the flexor longus hallucis gives off a slip to supply the hallux, and is then divided into three, each part uniting with a similar branch of the trifid fl. perforans digitorum in order to supply one of the other three digits. It is manifest that this is merely a modification of the ordinary Galline arrangement *.
Very little is known of the food, which probably is similar to that of Kails. The eggs have not been described, but the young of Heliornis are said to be two in number and to be hatched naked and helpless.
* The anatomy of Podica is described by Beddard (P. Z. S. 1890, p. 425), and that of Heliornis by the same author (Ibis, 1893, p. 30).