Smooth-Billed Ani

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Smooth-Billed Ani perched on leafy shrub

The Smooth-Billed Ani is uncommon in Florida. This is the first Smooth-Billed Ani I have ever encountered, so I chased this one through a field near Viera to capture a quick image. This bird is a Caribbean Island native that established a small group in south Florida in 1937 after a storm. The Smooth-Billed Ani is common in South America and the Caribbean but in Florida their numbers are steadily decreasing. I’m told they are very scarce in Florida. In South America, where they are plentiful, they live in large groups and the females lay their eggs in a single communal nest tended by the entire group. They are interesting looking birds related to Cuckoos. The Smooth-Billed Ani is zygodactyl, which means they have eccentric feet with two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backward.

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