This group of birds has hitherto been placed in the Order Limicolae but Lowe * has recently shown that they are really nearer the Rallidae, a position in which the Field Naturalist would also place them without doubt. At the same time, many of their characteristics show an approach to the Grues and it may eventually be necessary to elevate these birds to the rank of an Order, Jacanae, between the Grallae and Limicolae.
Schizorhinal; nostril pervious and situated slightly nearer to the base than to the tip of the bill; basipterygoid processes present ; cervical vertebrae sixteen ; all four toes greatly lengthened and with very long straight claws, that of the hallux being especially long; the deep plantar tendons are the same as in the three-toed birds, the flexor longus hallucis and flexor perforans digitorum uniting and then dividing again into three to supply the three front toes and supplying a short branch to the hind toe.
Two genera of this family are found in India.
Key to Genera.
A. A frontal lappet; primaries not attenuated at the end THE COOT METOPIDIUS, p.39.
B. No frontal lappet; first and fourth primaries attenuated……HYDROPHASIANUS, p. 41.