Smooth billed Ani (Crotophaga ani)

Smooth-billed Ani

[order] Cuculiformes | [family] Cuculidae | [latin] Crotophaga ani | [UK] Smooth-billed Ani | [FR] Ani a bec lisse | [DE] Glattschnabelani | [ES] Garrapatero Ani | [IT] Ani beccoliscio | [NL] Gladsnavelani


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Smooth-billed Ani has black colours overall. Plumage is black overall with some bronze iridescence, and pale scaled effect on chest and back due to silver feathers’ edges. Long tail is often dipped and wagged. Wings are pointed. Bill, bare facial skin, legs and feet are black. Eyes are dark brown to black. Smooth-billed Ani has bulky parrot-like bill, with a hump on the upper mandible, near the base. Bill is down-curved, and laterally flattened.
There is a similar species, the Groove-billed Ani, with smaller bill with grooves, and different calls. It lives in southern Texas, and their ranges don’t overlap. Both sexes are similar.
Juvenile is duller than adults.

Listen to the sound of Smooth-billed Ani

[audio: Ani.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 36 cm size max.: 38 cm
incubation min.: 14 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 7 days fledging max.: 10 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 7  


Smooth-billed Ani lives in Central America, Caribbean, and large part of South America. Very common in Suriname, inhabits cultivated land andopen country in the coastal region.


The Smooth-billed Ani inhabits open grasslands, pastures, sparsely wooded parklands, undeveloped lots in cities and suburbs, and the scrubby edges of roads, cultivated fields, marshes, and canals. Short-grass areas form the core of the Smooth-billed Ani’s territory. Its diet consists of seeds, berries, insects and their larvae, snails, and small lizards taken from the ground or from trees.


A Smooth-billed Ani flock includes monogamous pairs that build a communal nest and share breeding duties. The bulky nest, constructed of twigs and lined with leaves, is located in tangles, shrubs, palms, or trees. Each female lays 2 to 7 glossy greenish-blue eggs. Nests have been found with as many as 35 eggs, deposited in layers separated by leaves. The dominant female lays her eggs last. These eggs are presumed to have the best chance for successful hatching. Incubation lasts 14 days, and both sexes participate. The young fledge in 7 to 10 days, but flightless young have been observed climbing in and around their nesting area 5 days after hatching

Feeding habits

Smooth-billed Ani feeds mainly on insects (grasshoppers, caterpillars and moths), but it also consumes lizards, cattle parasites, snails, seeds, fruits and berries. It feeds on the ground, foraging in scrublands and fields, but also in trees and shrubs. It picks berries from bushes. It also forages on prey disturbed by Army Ants


This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 14,000,000 km2. It has a large global population estimated to be 5,000,000-50,000,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2003). Global population trends have not been quantified, but there is evidence of a population increase (del Hoyo et al. 1997), and so the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Smooth-billed Ani status Least Concern


It benefits from deforestation for enlarging its range where it is resident. It may perform some local movement during dry season.

Distribution map

Smooth-billed Ani range map


Title Ani Male Apparently Killed by Other Anis while Attempting to Parasitize Nest
Abstract: On 11 April 1981 I collected a dead male Smoothbil..[more]..
Source: The Auk 99: 787-788

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Title Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani L.), a New Species of Bird for Ohio
Abstract: A smooth-billed ani (Crotophaga ani L.) is reporte..[more]..
Source: OHIO J. SCI. 95 (5): 335-336, 1995

download full text (pdf)


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