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Anis Cuckoos and Roadrunners: Cuculiformes

Physical Characteristics

The Cuculidae family is also called the cuckoo family. It is a large family, with more than 128 species. Species in this family include common cuckoos, anis, and roadrunners. Birds range in length from the 5.1-inch (13-centimeter) pheasant cuckoo to the greater roadrunner, which is 22.1 inches (56 centimeters) long. Anis (ah-NEEZ) are also known as black cuckoos because of their dark plumage. The birds' heavy bill is either smooth or ridged. The greater ani is about 18.1 inches (46 centimeters) long.

Most Cuculidae are not colorful; their feathers are gray, black, or brown. They are slender and have narrow bills, long tails, and zygodactyl (zye-guh-DACK-tuhl) feet. Two toes on each foot face forward, and two face backward. Members of this family are terrestrial, meaning that some species live on land. However, they are able to fly.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsAnis Cuckoos and Roadrunners: Cuculiformes - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Cuculiformes And People, Common Cuckoo (cuculus Canorus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS