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Smooth-billed Ani

Smooth-billed Ani
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-04-09
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite Bird photos -4- [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-05-03 6:13
Viewed: 6336
Points: 32
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this with my 300mm 2.8 with 1.4x converter - hand held.

The Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) is a large near passerine bird in the cuckoo family. It is a resident breeding species from southern Florida, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, parts of Central America, south to western Ecuador, Brazil, and northern Argentina.

This ani is found in open and semi-open country and areas under cultivation. The nest, built communally by several pairs, is a deep cup lined with leaves and placed usually 2–6 m (6.6–20 ft) high in a tree. A number of females lay their chalky blue eggs in the nest and then share incubation and feeding.

Each female is capable of laying up to seven eggs, and nests have been found containing up to 29 eggs, but it is rare for more than ten to hatch. Incubation is 13-15 days, with another 10 days to fledging. Up to three broods may be raised in a season, with the young of earlier broods helping to feed more recent chicks.

The Smooth-billed Ani is about 33 cm (13 in) long and weighs 95 g (3.4 oz). The adult is mainly flat black, with a long tail, deep ridged black bill and a brown iris. The flight is weak and wobbly, but the bird runs well and usually feeds on the ground.

This is a very gregarious species, always found in noisy groups. The calls include a whining ooo-leeek. The Smooth-billed Ani feeds on termites, large insects and even lizards and frogs. They will occasionally remove ticks and other parasites from grazing animals.

This common and conspicuous species has greatly benefited from deforestation.


Dominica, (French: Dominique) officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea. To the north-northwest lies Guadeloupe, to the southeast Martinique. Its size is 754 square kilometres (291 sq mi) and the highest point in the country is Morne Diablotins, which has an elevation of 1,447 metres (4,747 ft). The Commonwealth of Dominica has an estimated population of 72,500. The capital is Roseau.

Dominica has been nicknamed the "Nature Isle of the Caribbean" for its seemingly unspoiled natural beauty. It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity, as evidenced by the world's second-largest boiling lake. The island features lush mountainous rainforests, home of many rare plant, animal, and bird species. There are xeric areas in some of the western coastal regions, but heavy rainfall can be expected inland. The Sisserou Parrot (also known as the Imperial Amazon), the island's national bird, is featured on the national flag.

Miss_Piggy, mwmod99, uleko, Argus, CeltickRanger, MMM, Dis. Ac., siggi, Luis52, jlinaresp, jaycee has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hallo James
This Smooth-billed Ani is a beautiful bird with lovely features, one being the notable bill, the other the polka dot black eye. It is a 1st for me, hearing about it and now also seeing it by ways of your posting. I think this bird can camouflage itself well in the shadow or in dark places as it is really dark all over. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

Difficult shot executed brilliantly, James!
George Veltchev

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-05-03 7:08]

Hello James,
A brilliant capture of the Smooth-billed Ani in a fine pose and from a nice POV. Great fous and sharpness and it stands out beautifully against the light background.
TFS and best regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-05-03 8:41]

Hi James,beautiful and very rare specie,i like a lot the composition,the pov and the impressive sharpness,perfect for this dark bird...very professional work,my greats compliments,have a nice week,Luciano

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-05-03 9:09]

Hello James,
A fine portait of the Smooth-billed Ani, a species we saw in Trinidad before Dslr's. I like the pose taken from a nice POV that shows its features, inluding the bill, with fine sharpness and colours against a fine neutral BG.
Thanks and kind regards,

hello James

excellent and very beautiful photo of this exotic bird,
very fine POV and the way it is framed, superb focus
sharpness and details of the bird and the foreground,
i love the all blurred background, great details of the dark plumage,



Ciao James, delicate composition with lovely bird in nice pose on a wonderful blurry BG, splendid sharpness and fine details, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2010-05-03 10:27]

Hi James
Nice presentation of unknow subject for me.Dispite a difficult light the overall image is good.Nice detail and nice pose from the subject.Very good text also
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-05-03 11:03]

Hello James
Perfect capture taken with natural colors, great details and clear bg
Thanks for sharing

perfect portrait, TFS Ori

Hi James,

an very good shot from this bird with good pov, dof and sharpness.
I have this bird never been seen before, TFS.
Fine natural colours.


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-05-03 13:29]

Hello James,
Wonderful capture.Details on black feathers are great.I liked POV,catchlight in eyes,POV,BG,framing and composition are excellent.Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-05-03 14:57]

Hola James.
excellent results obtained in this photo due to the contrasts of color and very light background.
Never seen this beautiful bird before.
TFS My friend.

Hello James,
Here in Venezuela call this bird "Horihuelo" are abundant and when we say someone is ugly, we say "looks like a horihuelo" ha... ha... ha... :) But, I find quite nice! This bird have feathers dull and difficult to photograph. You have done an excellent job to getting details of plumage and textures. In addition, the POV is very good and there is considerable contact with the eye of the bird. Best of the photo, the background! deserves 10/10! beautiful picture... achieved as well, which makes this "ugly bird" look good! :) ...
TFS, Regards, Jesús

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-05-04 16:30]

Hi James,

I love it when you post these exotic birds that I have not seen and probably never will. The bill of this Ani is fascinating. The pose is wonderful and the details of the face, eye and neck are marvelous. The two toned background is beautiful.


You must be a bird lover to show us all these beautiful and very interesting pictures of them.
This one is one I never heard of... thanks for sharing

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