Boat-tailed Grackle

Quiscalus major




Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Blue to gray with marks of black, purple and gray

Number of Eggs:

3 - 5

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

In marsh vegetation usually over or near water in marsh or on ground set in grass, In trees usually 3 to 50 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

In marsh vegetation: bulky and built of dried stalks, grasses, and cattails. In trees: built of Spanish moss, feathers, mud, cow dung, and bits of debris.


Some migrate



Boat-tailed Grackle: Large, black bird with very long, keel-shaped tail. Male is iridescent blue-black with yellow or brown eyes. Female is smaller with dark brown upperparts, pale brown breast, and yellow eyes. Juvenile male has dark eyes and no iridescent sheen. Juvenile female may exhibit vague spotting and streaks on breast.

Range and Habitat

Boat-tailed Grackle: Resident along the Gulf Coast from Texas east and on the Atlantic Coast north to New York. Rarely strays from coastal salt marshes except in Florida where it is also inland. It is found around ponds and streams (Florida peninsula), farmlands, towns and cities. Their range is expanding up the Atlantic coast.

Breeding and Nesting

Boat-tailed Grackle: Three to five pale blue to blue-gray eggs with splotches of black, brown, purple, and gray are laid in a bulky nest made of dried stalks, grass, and cattails (in marshes) or Spanish moss, feathers, mud, cow dung, and bits of debris (in trees). Incubation ranges from 13 to 15 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Boat-tailed Grackle: Eats small fish, frogs, snails, aquatic and terrestrial insects, shrimp, small bird eggs and nestlings, small reptiles, fruits, berries, and seeds. Sometimes steals food from other birds.

Readily Eats

Cracked Corn, Millet, Nuts, Sunflower


Boat-tailed Grackle: Song is a loud, abrasive "jeeb, jeeb, jeeb." Calls include a noisy variety of harsh whistles, chucks, guttural rattles, raspy clicks, and wolf whistles.

Similar Species

Boat-tailed Grackle: Great-tailed grackle is larger and has bright yellow eyes, longer bill, and flatter crown.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X