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ANI (ah-NEE)

Tropical American birds related to the cuckoo

Common clue: Blackbird; Witch bird; Tropical cuckoo; Black cuckoo; Cuckoo bird

Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year

Frequency in English language: 75421 / 86800

Video: Black Cuckoo Calling

The Anis are the three species of near-passerine birds in the genus Crotophaga of the cuckoo family. They are essentially tropical New World birds, although the range of two species just reaches the US.

Unlike some cuckoos, the anis are not brood parasites, but nest communally, the cup nest being built by several pairs between 2-6 m high in a tree. A number of females lay their eggs in the nest and then share incubation and feeding.

The anis are large black birds with a long tail and a deep ridged black bill. Their flight is weak and wobbly, but they run well, and usually feed on the ground.

These are very gregarious species, always found in noisy groups. Anis feed on termites, large insects and even lizards and frogs. They will remove ticks and other parasites from grazing animals.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ani (bird)".