Groove-billed Ani

photo by Phil Swanson

Crotophaga sulcirostris
L 13 1/2″ (34 cm).

Song or calls:
Liquid “tee-ho,” with the accent on the first syllable.

Description: Sexes similar. Entirely black; feathers have iridescent green and purple sheens; long tail is often dipped and wagged. Heavy black bill; grooves in bill are visible only at close range.

Habitat: Woodlands and farm fields, often eating insects that are stirred up by cattle.

Where in Nebraska: Accidental. Seen in Antelope County in 1952, Hall County in 1975, Cuming County in 1976, and at Beaver Lake, Cass County.

Fun Facts: Interestingly, Ani’s often nest communally, where several pairs of birds defend one nesting territory, lay all their eggs in one nest, and take turns incubating the eggs.

Additional Information: Generic name is Greek, meaning “insect or bug eater”. The species epithet refers to the grooves on the bill.