This is an Indian genus of small or moderately-sized Bustards without a ruff, and with longer bill and legs than in the other genera found in India. The chief generic character, however, is that the male in the breeding-season assumes a peculiar plumage, with the head, neck, and lower surface black, and the wings partly white. In this stage there is a considerable difference between the males—S. bengalensis being crested, with long feathers in front of the neck, whilst S. aurita has a tuft of peculiar elongate plumes from each side of the head—and consequently the two have been placed by Sharpe in different genera. With the exception, however, of the male ornamental plumes, the two species, which inhabit different parts of India, agree very well. An African genus (Lissotis) is very similar in Coloration.
Females are larger than males. The primary-quills are notched on the inner web and attenuate towards the end, much more so in S. aurita than in S. bengalensis.
Key to the Species.
a, Wing 7.3 to 9.75; tarsus 3.5 to 4.5 inches………………….S. aurita, p. 198.
b. Wing 13.5 to 14.75; tarsus 5.0 to 6.5 inches……………….S. bengalensis, p. 200.