Common Grackle

Quiscalus quiscula

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Code 4

COGR

Code 6

QUIQUI

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Common Grackle breeds in open and semi-open areas of North America east of the Rocky Mountains. This species builds nests concealed in dense trees and shrubs near the water, and especially likes pine forests. These birds also nest in small colonies. During the winter months, northern populations of the Common Grackle migrate to the southeastern United States. This species forages for its food on the ground, and is omnivorous. They typically eat insects, minnow, frogs, eggs, berries, seeds and grain, and are considered pests by local farmers. The conservation rating for the Common Grackle is Least Concern.

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PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Common Grackle: Medium-sized blackbird with metallic purple sheen on back, head, neck, and breast. Eyes are bright yellow. Central feathers of long, rounded tail are often lowered to show keeled V-shape. Swift, strong direct flight with rapid wing beats, holds tail folded in a V shape while flying.


Range and Habitat

Common Grackle: Breeds throughout North America east of the Rocky Mountains and south of tundra, though it is only found in the northern portions of its range during summer months. Resident from southern New England and Minnesota south to the Gulf Coast. Inhabits fields, wet meadows, urban areas, shorelines and willow shrublands up to the lower subalpine.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"swaaaack"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Adults sometimes function as helpers to other birds of the species.
  • Grackles actually walk instead of hop.
  • In coastal areas they forage at the tide line for small invertebrates, even wading into the water to capture live fish.
  • They allow ants to crawl on their bodies and secrete formic acid, possibly to rid themselves of parasites.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Common Grackle

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

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BIRDS AND BIRDING

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BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X