Family: Cuckoos, Roodrunners, Anis
Description: Jay-sized. Black, with a very long tail half the length of the bird. Huge bill with arched ridge. Like Groove-billed Ani but with higher peaked ridge on bill (and lacks grooves there).
Voice and Song: Slurred double note with a rising inflection that has a whining, metallic quality, quite different from that of the Groove-billed Ani.
Habitat: Brushy edges, thickets. In Florida, usually found where dense brush stands next to open fields, pastures or marshes. In its tropical range, found in a variety of brushy or semi-open habitats in the lowlands, mainly in humid areas. Generally avoids unbroken forest. Open agricultural country, often near cattle or other livestock.
Feeding Behavior: Forages mostly on the ground, hopping and running rather clumsily; will also forage well up in bushes. In pastures, often associates closely with cattle or other grazers, catching the insects flushed by the larger animals.
Nesting: 3-5 blue-green (often stained) eggs in a bulky stick nest in dense vegetation. Often nests communally: one or more pairs (perhaps as many as five pairs) will work together to build one large nest; then each female lays eggs there, and all the adults help to incubate the eggs and care for the young. Nest site is in dense shrub or tree, 5-30´above the ground, usually fairly low. Nest (built by both sexes, apparently by all adult members of group) is a bulky bowl of twigs and weeds, lined with leaves.
Range: Southern Florida; also from the West Indies and Mexico to South America.
- The Audoborn Society Field Guide to North American Birds
- Audubon Bird Guide
- Birds Complete Reference Guide