Rallus - thin.
The Rails, Crakes, Water-Hens, and Coots are marsh birds, varying in length from 4 1/2" to 21 1/2 ". The breast-bone resembles that of Turnix with its single notch.
Bill short and wedge-shaped, longer in True Rails, shorter and stouter in Crakes, and very deep in the Gallinules. Large feet, short legs. Hind toe always raised. Tail short, of ten to fourteen feathers, or none. Wing rounded, often with. spur. Second or third quill longest, sometimes two, three, four subequal. Remiges twenty-three to twenty-six. Fifth secondary wanting. Small after-shaft. Forehead feathered or with a shield. Feet slender and long. Toes free, or sometimes webbed and scalloped.
Extensively represented in Australia and Oceania; less so in Malayan Islands. General aspect and partially vegetable diet give them the appearance of Gallinaceous birds. Many eggs double-spotted. Nest in grass or rushes. Young hatched with down, and able to run or swim within a few hours. Cosmopolitan.
Subfamily RALLINAE. RAILS. No frontal plate. Beak much compressed. Plumage soft and loose, brown, streaked, and often banded. Sexes alike in colour. Mostly of small size.
(i.) Culmen longer than mid toe and claw. Tarsus equal to or less than mid toe and claw.