|Conservation status||In Florida, apparently increased through middle part of 20th century; has declined again since 1970s. In tropics, has increased as clearing of forest has created more open habitat.|
|Family||Cuckoos, Roadrunners, Anis|
|Habitat||Brushy edges, thickets. In Florida, usually found where dense brush stands next to open fields, pastures, or marshes. In its tropical range, found in a variety of brushy or semi-open habitats in the lowlands, mainly in humid areas. Generally avoids unbroken forest.|
Forages mostly on the ground, hopping and running rather clumsily; will also forage well up in bushes. In pastures, often associates closely with cattle or other grazers, catching the insects flushed by the larger animals.
About 4 blue eggs laid by each female in group; nest may have up to 20 or more eggs. Incubation is by both sexes and apparently involves all adults in group, about 14 days. Young: Apparently fed by all adults in group; may climb out of nest before old enough to fly. Age at first flight not well known.
Apparently fed by all adults in group; may climb out of nest before old enough to fly. Age at first flight not well known.
Mostly large insects. Feeds on insects including grasshoppers, beetles, moths, caterpillars, and others. May take external parasites from cattle. Also eats spiders, snails, and often small lizards. Will consume many small fruits and berries at some seasons, also seeds. May sometimes eat eggs of other birds.
Often nests communally: one or more pairs (perhaps as many as five pairs) will work together to build one large nest; then each female lays eggs there, and all the adults help to incubate the eggs and care for the young. Nest site is in dense shrub or tree, 5-30' above the ground, usually fairly low. Nest (built by both sexes, apparently by all adult members of group) is a bulky bowl of twigs and weeds, lined with leaves.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Present in southern Florida at all seasons, but some may move back and forth between Florida and Cuba.
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Songs and CallsSlurred double note with a rising inflection that has a whining, metallic quality; quite different from that of the Groove-billed Ani.
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