Return to Main Page   Dakota Birder Blog    

Groove-billed Ani

Crotophaga sulcirostris

Length: 12 to 14 inches Wingspan: 16 to 18 inches Seasonality: Rare Visitor
ID Keys: Thick bill with parallel grooves on upper mandible, very long tail, black overall with purple and/or green iridescence. 

Groove-billed Ani - Crotophaga sulcirostrisThe Groove-billed Ani is a tropical member of the Cuckoo family, with the northern range only slightly entering the U.S. in southern Texas.  Normally very sociable birds, they are often found feeding together near grazing cattle and roosting at night in tightly-packed groups.  Despite their normal range, they occasionally wander far to the north.

Habitat: Can be found in a variety of semi-open habitats, avoiding unbroken forest.  This may include overgrown fields, thickets, and woodland edges.

Diet: Primarily feeds on large insects.  Will also take fruits and berries, and small lizards, frogs, and snakes.

Behavior: Does much of its foraging on the ground, running after insects or feeding more deliberately for fallen fruit and berries.  Will also forages up in bushes for fruit and berries.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: Soft liquid gurgling.   Click here to listen to Groove-billed Ani song.

Migration: A tropical species, the northern edge of their normal range is southern Texas.  They are present year-round there, but some probably move southward in the winter as they are more common in the summer months.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Groove-billed Ani sightings

Similar Species: Smooth-billed Ani (generally found only in Florida in the U.S.).

Conservation Status: Generally stable through the U.S. portion of its range.  Forest clearing in the tropical part of its range have resulted in increased numbers, due to their habitat preferences.

Further Information: 1) Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Groove-billed Ani

2) Audubon Guide - Groove-billed Ani

3) WhatBird - Groove-billed Ani

Photo Information: Photo - By Didi Sanchez


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Groove-billed Ani - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Rare visitor, with only a handful of records in the state.

Additional Groove-billed Ani Photos (coming soon!)