OFILE Common Grackle

Sunlight enhances the glossy-black common grackle's metallic sheen; males accentuate this feature by puffing out their feathers.

Plumage

The male common grackle (right) is glossy black all over, usually with a purple sheen, depending on the subspecies.The female is smaller, with duller black plumage.

Juvenile

Young birds are a drabber, sooty brown and have dark eyes, a contrast with the adult's pale yellow eyes. By its first fall, the juvenile attains glossier plumage and pale eyes.

Bill

The large, pointed bill is curved slightly downward and lacks notches. Specialized jaw muscles and a cutting ridge in the roof of the mouth work like a can opener, aiding in shelling and rip-

Plumage

The male common grackle (right) is glossy black all over, usually with a purple sheen, depending on the subspecies.The female is smaller, with duller black plumage.

Roof Mouth Rip

A perching bird, the grackle has relatively long legs and stout feet. Strong claws allow the bird to roost for long intervals, and also assist in digging through the ground for food.

creature comparisons

A perching bird, the grackle has relatively long legs and stout feet. Strong claws allow the bird to roost for long intervals, and also assist in digging through the ground for food.

creature comparisons

The great-tailed grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) lives in open country close to water; where it feeds mainly on small fish and other aquatic creatures, unlike the common grackle. Measuring 12-17", the great-tailed grackle is larger than the common grackle and has a longer tail. Not nearly as widespread as the common grackle, the great-tailed grackle inhabits woodland groves and towns in Mexico, Panama and the southern U.S., including Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. It is a noisy bird with a similarly grating, shrieking courtship call, cha-we, much like the common grackle's hoarse chuk call.

vital statistics

I Weight 3-5 oz.

[■ Length

11-13.25"

Wingspan

17-18.5"

Sexual Maturity

1-2 years

Breeding [ Season

March-June

I Number | of Eggs

4-7

[ Incubation | Period

13-14 days

[. Fledging Period

18-20 days

■ Breeding Interval

1 year

f Typical i Diet

Nuts, seeds, fruit, insects, frogs, lizards, worms, birds and bird eggs

Lifespan

More than 17 years

FrE'lated species

E • The common grackle is i 1 of over 90 species in the i > family Icteridae. The birds in this family range from i 6.5-21" in length, and ' include 22 North American [ species, including the bobolink, Dolichonyx i oryzivorus, as well as the boat-tailed grackle, Q. majora, a close relative in the genus Quiscalus. Tropical species include the melodious blackbird, Dives [. dives, and the Martinique oriole, Icterus bonana.

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