Bill moderately long, flexible, almost straight; both mandibles grooved, the upper almost to the tip ; nostrils linear, close to the base. Wing long, pointed, 1st quill longest; tertiaries elongate ; tail moderate, rounded. Tarsus longer than the bill from gape, transversely shielded in front and behind; hind toe moderate, outer and middle toes connected by a short web.
The above characters are insufficient for generic distinction, but the circumstances that the male is ahvays larger than the female, and that at the breeding-season he assumes an entirely distinct plumage from that worn by the hen, varying in Coloration to an extent unequalled in any other species of bird, with a ruff of long feathers extending from the nape down each side of the neck to the breast, afford ample grounds for placing the Buff in a peculiar genus. He is polygamous, and some of his habits at the breeding-season resemble those of polygamous Gallinae.