Maps show the Smooth-billed Ani (above) as a year-round resident
in the southern half of Florida, but the locals at Arthur R.
Marshall Loxahatchee NWR in Boynton Beach, think the pair
spotted on the Marsh Trail in mid-July will be the first to
breed on the property in many years. The pair has started
multiple nests, but as of July 15, has not moved in and started a
Brdbrain posts also document a sighting at Jonathan
Dickinson State Park on July 21.
Groove-billed Ani (left) is a true rarity in Florida which made
the pair found at Lake Apopka Northshore Restoration Area in
December 2014 very exciting. They are more reliably found
in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas where they feed in flocks in
pastures or perch on tree limbs with their wings spread to catch
the sun. While difficult to see in the photos, the bird at
the left does have a series of grooves in the hump of his/her
Both species feed mostly on large insects but supplements their
diet with fruits and berries, when available. Both species
use communal nests, with 1 to 5 pairs building a large nest
where all the females lay eggs eggs in the same nest.
Groove-billed Ani females may attempt to toss out the eggs of
other females. All the adults help to incubate the eggs
and care for the young. Smooth-billed estlings climb out
of the nest before they can fly; the age of first flight is not
documented. Groove-billed Ani youngsters leave the nest
after 6-7 days, can fly poorly at about 10 days and become
proficient flyers at about 17 days of age.
Chuck Tague captured the
photo of the Groove-billed Ani above.
was gathered from
Lives of North American Birds by Kenn Kaufman and The
Sibley Guides to Birds.