Smooth-billed Ani

Crotophaga ani Order: Cuculiformes Family: Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
Crotophaga ani Order: Cuculiformes Family: Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

This splendid bird belonging to the cuckoo family is native to Central and South America, the Caribbean, and south Florida. I’ve seen it in Cuba, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador, and Peru, but never got a glimpse of it in the United States, in south Florida, until 2023—it’s #701 on my Continental US and Canada list, though I’m hoping ornithologists will lump a couple of flycatchers which will remove one species and make this special bird #700.

It’s found in wetter habitats than the Groove-billed Ani and feeds on insects and lizards as well as fruit, especially during the dry season. Anis do almost everything in groups, with females laying all their eggs in a single communal nest tended by all group members.

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