Smooth-billed AniCrotophaga ani

adult
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
juvenile
Claude Nadeau/VIREO
adults
Bill Gozansky/VIREO
Smooth-billed Ani
Smooth-billed Ani

Description

14" (36 cm). Pigeon-sized. Black, with a very long tail half the length of the bird. Bill huge, with arched ridge and no grooves.

Voice

Slurred double note with a rising inflection that has a whining, metallic quality; quite different from that of the Groove-billed Ani.

Listen

calls
calls

Habitat

Open agricultural country, often near cattle or other livestock; also found in scrub and thickets.

Range

Resident in southern Florida. Also in American tropics.

Discussion

These birds have some peculiar traits. Usually several females lay eggs in a single nest, deposited in layers separated more or less by leaves or grass. Up to 30 eggs have been found in one nest. Those at the bottom do not hatch. The females share incubation, often two or more brooding simultaneously. Anis prefer cultivated country and rangelands, where they often alight on the backs of cattle to remove ticks.

Nesting

3-5 blue-green (often stained) eggs in a bulky stick nest in dense vegetation.

Similar Species

adult male

Boat-tailed Grackle

Males 16-17" (41-43 cm); females 12-13" (30-33 cm). Tail very long and keel-shaped. Male black, iridescent blue on back and breast; yellow or brown eyes. Female smaller, brown with paler breast.

adult male

Great-tailed Grackle

Male, 16-17" (41-43 cm); female, 12-13" (30-33 cm). Tail very long and keel-shaped. Male black, with iridescent purple on back and breast. Female smaller, brown with a pale breast.

adult male Coastal (Purple)

Common Grackle

12" (30 cm). Jay-sized. Long, wedge-shaped tail displaying a longitudinal ridge or keel when in flight.

adult

Groove-billed Ani

12" (30 cm). Jay-sized. Black, with a very long tail half the length of the bird. Bill huge, with arched ridge and narrow grooves. Smooth-billed Ani lacks grooves on bill and does not occur in Texas.

Vireo

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