Everglades Bird Profile: The Smooth-Billed Ani 

smooth-billed aniThe Everglades is home to more than 360 species of birds. The area draws birdwatchers from all over as it attracts many different types of birds for thousands of years.  

A smooth-billed ani is a tropical bird only found in south Florida in America, as well as South America and the West Indies. It becomes to the same bird family as roadrunners and cuckoos due to its slender body and long tail.  

The ani can make a skrill “weu-ik” sound. In other areas, this bird is called “black witch,” “black bird,” and “tick bird.” It is nicknamed a “tick bird” because it is known to eat ticks that infest cattle.  

This bird eats mostly insects, including the Great Southern White Butterfly, but it also eats snails, lizards, berries, and seeds. They have been known to follow cattle and eat up any insects the cattle stir up.  

You can spot an ani in an open field, pastureland, and near water. They are usually in groups/flocks of six to 20 birds. For the past several years, anis have nested near Eco Pond.  

Smooth-billed anis have a black plumage, long body, long tail, short wings, and a parrot-like, high bill.  

They have been known to work together to build a nest. Female anis can lay four to five eggs at a time. Many anis will take turns incubating and protecting the eggs during the two-week development period. They tend to share nests as well, and females have been known to toss a few eggs (not their own) from the nest. 

Love birds? Get yourself down to the Everglades and you may just spot a smooth-billed ani on an airboat tour. If not, there’s hundreds of other birds to watch! 

To book an airboat tour with Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private Airboat Tours, call 800-368-0065 or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours page. Captain Mitch’s Everglades Private  Airboat Tours are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax). Check out our Facebook page or website for coupons, discounts, and promotions on airboat tours.