Birds of the World and Bible – Groove-billed Ani

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) by Michael Woodruff

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) by Michael Woodruff

“every raven after its kind, and the owl, and the night-hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after its kind,” (Leviticus 11:15-16 YLT)

While browsing through some of the latest photos from photographers I follow on Flickr, I came across these photos by Michael Woodruff of the Groove-billed Ani. Then I found more by two others I follow; barloventomagico and Ross Tsai.

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) ©Flickr Ross Tsai

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) ©Flickr Ross Tsai

So what is a Groove-billed Ani anyway? The groove-billed ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) is an odd-looking tropical bird in the Cuculidae – Cuckoos family with a long tail and a large, curved beak. It is a resident species throughout most of its range, from southern Texas, central Mexico and The Bahamas, through Central America, to northern Colombia and Venezuela, and coastal Ecuador and Peru. It only retreats from the northern limits of its range in Texas and northern Mexico during winter. Dan and I was able to see these birds in South Texas in 2001.

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) by Michael Woodruff

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) by Michael Woodruff

The groove-billed ani is about 34 cm (13 in) long, and weighs 70–90 g (2.5–3.2 oz). It is completely black, with a very long tail almost as long as its body. It has a huge bill with horizontal grooves along the length of the upper mandible. It is very similar to the smooth-billed ani, some of which have bills as small as the groove-billed and with grooves on the basal half. The two species are best distinguished by voice and range. In flight, the ani alternates between quick, choppy flaps and short glides.

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) by Michael Woodruff

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) by Michael Woodruff

Like other anis, the groove-billed is found in open and partly open country, such as pastures, savanna, and orchards. It feeds largely on a mixed diet of insects, seeds, and fruits.

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) ©Flickr barloventomagico

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) ©Flickr barloventomagico

The groove-billed ani lives in small groups of one to five breeding pairs. They defend a single territory and lay their eggs in one communal nest. All group members incubate the eggs and care for the young. (Wikipedia)

It’s a different kind of beak, but the Lord made the Ani like this so that he could eat the available food in its terrain. Bills are not an evolutionary after-thought, but the design of a Creator, that loves His critters and provides for them.

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) ©Flickr barloventomagico

GBNA – Guide to Birds of North America eField Guide: Groove-billed Ani

  • Black overall with iridescent purple and green sheen
  • Long tail, very wide at end
  • Bulky bill with grooves (visible only at close range)
  • Bill does not extend above crown
  • Entirely black plumage
  • Sexes similar
  • Often found in small groups
  • Inhabits grassy, scrubby areas

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) by Michael Woodruff

“and the owl, and the night-hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after its kind;” (Deuteronomy 14:15 YLT)

The YLT  and two other versions of the Bible, list the “Cuckoo” in the list of birds not to be eaten by the Israelites. Other versions use the word, “Cuckow.” Therefore this family of birds have been listed as Birds of the Bible.

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Sad Clowns of the Sea

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless? I trust you! And I will praise you again because you help me, and you are my God. (Psalms 43:5 CEV)

Recently I decided to check back through the photographers who have given me permission to use their photos. There are links to them down the right menu in the Photography section.

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

While looking through Michael Woodruff’s Flickr photos, I spotted these recent Puffins. Michael is one of the first photographers to allow me to use his beautiful photos on this blog and Michael is also a Christian. Apparently he made a trip to Grimsey Island, Iceland on 29 June 2015.  So these are some of his latest photos.

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

The Atlantic Puffins have been called the “Clowns of the Sea” because of their colorful marking that the Lord their Creator gave them. They are also sometimes called “Sea Parrots.” However you think of them, they are beautiful birds and I was surprised they are so small. On land it stands about 20 cm (8 in) high. The Atlantic puffin is sturdily built with a thick-set neck and short wings and tail. It is 28 to 30 centimetres (11 to 12 in) in length from the tip of its stout bill to its blunt-ended tail. Its wingspan is 47 to 63 centimetres (19 to 25 in). Males are slightly larger than the female, but both are marked the same. They mate for life.

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. (Ecclesiastes 7:3 KJV)

The beak is very distinctive. From the side the beak is broad and triangular but viewed from above it is narrow. The half nearest the tip is orange-red and the half nearest to the head is slate grey. There is a yellow chevron-shaped ridge separating the two parts and a yellow, fleshy strip at the base of the bill. At the joint of the two mandibles there is a yellow, wrinkled rosette. The exact proportions of the beak vary with the age of the bird. In an immature individual, the beak has reached its full length but it is not as broad as that of an adult. With time the bill deepens, the upper edge curves and a kink develops at its base. As the bird ages, one or more grooves may form on the red portion. The bird has a powerful bite.

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

Share the happiness of those who are happy, the sorrow of those who are sad. (Romans 12:15 Phillips)

They are known for collecting multiple fish in that beautiful beak. It was designed very distinctly. It fishes by sight and can swallow small fish while submerged, but larger specimens are brought to the surface. It can catch several small fish in one dive, holding the first ones in place in its beak with its muscular, grooved tongue while it catches others. The two mandibles are hinged in such a way that they can be held parallel to hold a row of fish in place and these are also retained by inward-facing serrations on the edges of the beak. It copes with the excess salt that it swallows partly through its kidneys and partly by excretion through specialized salt glands in its nostrils. Now that is wisdom from the Creator.

Puffin with Sand Eels

Puffin with Sand Eels ©WikiC (not Michael’s, but shows the mouth full of eels)

You can read more about the Puffins from the links below, but I just wanted to share some of these photos from Michael.

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

Photos by Michael Woodruff. Atlantic Puffins by God.

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Photos by Michael Woodruff

Red-breasted X Red-naped Sapsucker  By Michael Woodruff

Red-breasted X Red-naped Sapsucker By Michael Woodruff

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 2:19 NKJV)

Thought I would share some of Michael Woodruff’s latest photos. He has been giving me permission to use his great photos for several years. The Lord created these birds and Michael has a great way of capturing their images for us to enjoy. Thanks, Michael.

Painted Redstart by Michael Woodruff

Painted Redstart by Michael Woodruff

I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

And since we haven’t been on any birdwatching trips yet this year, you can enjoy photos from others. His Flickr photos can be see at:

Tropical Kingbird By Michael Woodruff

Tropical Kingbird By Michael Woodruff

Click to see Michael’s Pictures:

Michael Woodruff

Red-masked Parakeet by Michael Woodruff

Red-masked Parakeet by Michael Woodruff

Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” (Genesis 1:20 NKJV)

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Here are some articles where Michael’s photos have been used:

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