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Groove-billed Ani - BirdForum Opus

Crotophaga sulcirostris


32cm (12 in).

  • Glossy black plumage
  • Long, loose tail
  • Black skin around eye
  • Black bill arched and laterally compressed, without hump at base, upper ridge continuous with crown, upper mandible with grooves

Sexes similar. Juveniles are dull black and have a loose-webbed plumage, bill without grooves.


Southern Texas and central Mexico, Central America, northern Colombia and Venezuela, coastal Ecuador, Peru and northernmost Chile; may also occur in Bolivia, but seemingly only accidental in Argentina.
Leaves northern-most areas of Texas and Mexico in the winter.
Common to abundant in most of its range. Much less common than Smooth-billed Ani in areas of sympatry.


This is a monotypic species1.


Relatively open areas with bushes. Occurs from sea-level up to 2300m.


Usually encountered in groups. In flocks of 30 to 40 birds outside breeding season.


Feeds on insects. Takes also small vertebrates like lizards, and seeds and berries.
Forages in groups, walking on the ground, often among cattle looking for what they disturb. Occasionally follow army ants.


Season differs through range, May to July in southern Mexico, June to November in Costa Rica. A cooperative breeder, several females may lay in one nest, each attended by her male. The nest is a large, open platform made of sticks, thorns and roots. It's placed in shrub or in a tree. Each female lays 3 to 4 eggs, up to 18 are found in a nest.


A resident but nomadic species. After breeding season birds disperse up to 1000km from the nearest breeding areas. Appears in Florida in autumn and in winter on Gulf coast.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334221
  3. Restall et al. 2006. Birds of Northern South America. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300124156
  4. Ridgely & Gwynne 1989. Birds of Panama. Princeton Paperbacks. ISBN 0691025126
  5. Alvaro Jaramillo. 2003. Birds of Chile. Princeton Field Guides. ISBN 0-691-11740-3
  6. Erize et al. 2006 Birds of South America, non-passerines. Princeton Illustrated Checklists, Princeton, New Jersey, USA. ISBN 0-691-12688-7

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