Casa de Campo Living

Birds in Casa #11: Smooth-billed Ani

Smooth-billed ani

This post is also available in: Spanish

Smooth-billed aniIt is impossible not to see these birds while visiting Casa de Campo. In fact they are so common that you probably haven’t paid them much attention. 

Smooth-billed AniThe Smooth-billed Ani, called the “Judio” in Spanish, is everywhere. Wherever you look and wherever you go in Casa de Campo, there they are – perched in the trees, on the telephone wires, on the sides of the road, in the bushes… literally everywhere. 

A gregarious bunch, you will always seem them in noisy groups, making a noise which sounds like “Judio”, which is where their Spanish name comes from.

The Smooth-billed Anis are a resident breeding species from southern Florida, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, parts of Central America, south to western Ecuador, Brazil, and northern Argentina.

This strange bird is in the same family as the roadrunners and cuckoos, most of which have long slender bodies and long tails. Here in Casa de Campo, the Smooth-billed Ani is most closely related to the Lizard Cuckoo, a species which is endemic to the island of Hispaniola, which although more brightly colored is about the same size and has the same shape tail. 

The Smooth-billed Ani Profile

  • They range between 30-36 cm in length and 105 g in weight.
  • They are big, black with a heavy beak and a long tail.
  • It’s a resident breeding bird of the island of Hispaniola.
  • They feed on insects, as well as lizards, frogs, and some fruit.
  • They are a very gregarious species, always found in noisy groups.
  • Their nest is like an open cup of twigs, lined with leaves. Placed in dense, thorny bushes or trees.
  • They lay 4-5 pale blue eggs.

Birds of Hispaniola

The island of Hispaniola, shared between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, has more than 300 different bird species, of which 32 are endemic, meaning that in the entire world, this is the only place they can be found. Incredibly, 8 of these endemic species can be spotted right here in Casa de Campo, as well as many more!

This is the ninth article of our series “Birds of Casa de Campo”, in future articles you can look forward to reading about: the Broad-Billed Tody, the Barrancoli, and many more!

Click here to read part 1: The Hispaniolan Parakeets of the Teeth of the Dog
Click here to read part 2: The Brown Pelican
Click here to read part 3: The Hispaniolan Woodpeckers
Click here to read part 4: The little yellow Village Weaver
Click here to read part 5: The Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron
Click here to read part 6: The Ruddy Turnstone
Click here to read part 7: Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoo
Click here to read part 8: The Vervain Hummingbird
Click here to read part 9: The Broad Billed Tody
Click here to read part 10: The elegant Great Egret

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