The Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) is another species that is expanding its range as deforestation occurs and land is given over to pasture. There are two ani species in Costa Rica but the Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) is found in Costa Rica only in the southern Pacific area, where it is rapidly extending its range, in part at the expense of the Groove-billed. The name ani is thought to come from the indigenous Tupi language of Brazil. It is a member of the cuckoo family but is not a brood parasite and builds its own nest.
This very gregarious and chiefly resident species can be found in lowland areas from southern Texas to coastal Peru. In my garden it arrives from my neighbour’s cattle pasture as soon as I begin mowing my few grassy areas. There are always several birds each time and they approach fearlessly within just a few feet to feed on the insects disturbed during the mowing.
Here’s another file photo from the CATIE grounds down at Turrialba:
Finally, here’s a rather comical looking juvenile who has not yet acquired the long, almost disjointed-looking tail of the adult birds: