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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 21:20 EDT

Groove-billed Ani

The Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) is a strange-looking species of tropical bird belonging to the cuckoo family. It is a resident species through much of its range, which extends from southern Texas and central Mexico through Central America, to northern Colombia and Venezuela, and coastal Ecuador and Peru. The only migration is from the more northern parts of its range in Texas and northernmost Mexico. Its habitat is open and partially open country, including pastures, savanna, and orchards.

The length is approximately 13 inches and its weight averages 2.5 to 3.2 ounces. It is a completely black bird with a very long tail that is almost as long as the body. It has a huge bill with horizontal grooves along the length of the upper mandible. When seen in flight, the Ani alternates between quick, choppy flaps and short glides.

The Groove-billed Ani lives in small groups of one to five breeding pairs. It will defend its breeding territory and eggs are laid in a communal nest. All members of the group incubate the eggs and care for the young. The diet consists largely of insects, seeds, and fruits.

The Groove-billed Ani is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

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Groove-billed Ani