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Birds of the St. Croix River Valley: Minnesota and Wisconsin


Cuckoos and Anis

Yellow-billed Cuckoo -- Black-billed Cuckoo -- Groove-billed Ani

Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Uncommon migrant in the Western Upland, rare elsewhere. Spring migrants begin to arrive between 15 and 20 May, and become well distributed over the breeding range by 5 June. There is a general exodus of fall migrants 15 August to 10 September, and the last birds depart by 20 September.

Nesting Season Distribution: An uncommon nesting species in Pierce, St Croix, and Washington counties. Occasional summer records exist for northern Polk and southern Burnett counties. Roberts (1932) mentioned summer records for Pine County and observed that in northern areas this species "seems to vary considerably in numbers, both as to locality and season."

Habitat: A characteristic species of brushy margins, woodlot openings, brushy fencerows, and field edges. Most breeding season adults that I observed were associated with medium-aged stands of Southern Deciduous Forest; red oak and Hill's oak were the predominant vegetation type.

Black-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Uncommon spring and fall migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland between 5 and 10 May, becoming most numerous during the last 2 weeks of May. Night migrants are frequently heard during the first week of June (S. D. Robbins, personal communication). Arrival in the Northern Highland occurs 15-20 May. Peak fall abundance occurs between 1 and 10 September and departure by 25 September.

Nesting Season Distribution: A fairly common nesting species throughout the Valley, although more common in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Roberts (1938) reported that "a dozen" black-billed cuckoo nests were found during June 1926 in Chisago County.

Habitat: Brushy margins of mature Northern Deciduous Forest, Deciduous Clear Cuts, and mixed coniferous-deciduous forest.

Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris)

Status: Accidental, one record.

Record: One adult was shot in Woodbury Township, Washington County, on 20 October 1968 (Litkey 1969). The specimen was deposited in the museum collection at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

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