The Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani is a large near-passerine bird in the cuckoo family. It is a resident breeding species from southern Florida, the West Indies, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, south to western Ecuador, Brazil, northern Argentina and the Bahamas.
This ani is found in open and semi-open country and cultivation.
This common and conspicuous species has greatly benefited from deforestation.
This species is called “El pijul” in the Venzuelan folklore. It is mentioned in the popular Venezuelan song “Son Jarocho”.
Nesting / Breeding
The nest, built communally by several pairs, is a deep cup lined with leaves and placed usually 2-6 m high in a tree. A number of females lay their chalky blue eggs in the nest and then share incubation and feeding.
Each female is capable of laying up to seven eggs, and nests have been found containing up to 29 eggs, but it is rare for more than ten to hatch. Incubation is 13-15 days, with another 10 days to fledging. Up to three broods may be raised in a season, with the young of earlier broods helping to feed more recent chicks.
The Smooth-billed Ani is about 33 cm long and weighs 95 g. The adult is mainly flat black, with a long tail, deep ridged black bill and a brown iris.
The flight is weak and wobbly, but this bird runs well, and usually feeds on the ground.
Calls / Vocalization
This is a very gregarious species, always found in noisy groups. The calls include a whining ooo-leeek.
Feeding / Diet
The Smooth-billed Ani feeds on termites, large insects and even lizards and frogs. They will occasionally remove ticks and other parasites from grazing animals.