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Scientific classification
Genera and species
Podica senegalensis
Heliopais personata
Heliornis fulica

The Heliornithidae are a small family of tropical birds with webbed lobes on their feet similar to grebes and coots[?].

They are birds of swamps and marshes which resemble the rails, but have long necks, bills and tails and slim bodies. They feed on fish and water plants.

The relationships of this group are shown below


There are three species.

  • African Finfoot, Podica senegalensis. This is found in tropical Africa on streams in woodland. It builds its nest in a tree over water, laying two eggs.
  • Masked Finfoot, Heliopais personata. The Masked Finfoot occurs from Eastern India down through southeast Asia to the Wallace Line. It prefers clearings in woodland and lays up to six eggs in a nest in a tree over water.
  • Sungrebe, Heliornis fulica. This is the species of tropical Central and South America. It is found on slow-flowing streams, and lays four eggs in a nest in a bush.

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