Tarsus short, all toes well-developed, 3rd (outer anterior) longer than 4th (outer posterior). Bill finch-like ; culmen rounded, the profile considerably curved; no nasal plumes nor rictal bristles; nostrils large, subtriangular, partly covered by a membrane. Tail somewhat graduated, the outer pair of rectrices in several species, as in the Indian one, considerably shorter and narrower.
This genus contains several African species and the only two Oriental members of the family; one of these is Himalayan, the other, I. archipelagicus, is Malayan, not ranging into Tenasserim.
The African Indicators frequently point out the position of bees' nests, and hence have received the name of Honey-guides. Throughout Africa these birds are said to lead men to bees' nests for the sake of sharing in the spoil. Nothing is known of similar habits in the Indian and Malay species, though they appear, like the African, to feed on hymenoptera. The Honey-guides, like Woodpeckers and Barbets, lay white eggs in a hole in the stem or branch of a tree, but they are said to utilize an old nest-hole of a Barbet or Woodpecker for the purpose.