Ani are a type of bird from the cuckoo family, and they are prevalent around the sanctuary this time of year. There are bugs galore due to the amount of rain we are getting, much to the dismay of the humans and the elephants. However, ani LOVE bugs and are delighted by the massive amount that the elephants kick up as they are walking through the tall grasses.
You can see them here following Mara, as she emerges from the bushes. Then Bambi walks near and even more birds follow her near the ground, hoping for a hearty meal.
Though the ani can be annoying when elephants initially arrive, they do eat lots of insects, which the elephants seem to understand and accept their clumsy companionship for the benefit they bring.
P.S.: The dark spots you see on the girls’ skin is oil from a natural bug spray we use, for all those pests that the ani don’t eat.