South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Smooth-billed Ani

Crotophaga ani

Length: 13 inches Wingspan: 17 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: All black, massive bill, shaggy-looking plumage

Smooth-billed Ani - Crotophaga aniThe Smooth-billed Ani is a relatively newcomer to the United States, with the first birds appearing in Florida in the late 1800s.  They evidently naturally expanded from Caribbean populations, and populations increased in Florida until about the 1970s.  Since then, U.S. populations have been in decline, and they are now a rare resident in much of Florida.  Populations are widespread in the American tropics, however, with strong populations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

Habitat: Found in brushy areas, dense underbrush at woodland edges, and other brushy areas with nearby open areas. 

Diet: Feeds mostly on large insects such as beetles, caterpillars, moths, and grasshoppers, as well as other insects, spiders, and occasionally small lizards, frogs, and snakes.

Behavior: Most foraging is done on the ground, where they walk around, searching for insects.

Nesting: Nests communally, with multiple "families" helping to build a large bulky nest of twigs and pieces of other vegetation.  Multiple females lay eggs in the nest, with multiple birds helping to incubate the eggs and raise the young when they hatch.

Song:  Makes a variety of cackles and whistling calls, with the most common vocalization a whining whistle that ascends in pitch.

Migration: Considered non-migratory throughout its range.

Similar Species: Groove-billed Ani

Conservation Status: Globally, Smooth-billed Anis have a wide distribution, and clearing of tropical forests has led to expansion of populations.  The IUCN lists them as a species of "Least Concern"

Further Information: 1) eNature.com - Smooth-billed Ani

2) Everglades National Park - Smooth-billed Ani

3) Great Florida Birding Trail - Smooth-billed Ani

Photo Information: Photo taken by dfaulder - Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

 

Click below for a higher-resolution map
Smooth-billed Ani - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota
 

Additional Smooth-billed Ani Photos (coming soon!!)