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Great-tailed Grackle

From Opus

MalePhoto © by zweiblumen Quepos, Costa Rica, November 2004
Photo © by zweiblumen
Quepos, Costa Rica, November 2004
Quiscalus mexicanus


[edit] Identification

A large (40cm) totally black bird (M) with a long, sharp bill and an impressively long tail that is held vertically in flight, like a boat rudder. The yellow eye is diagnostic. The plumage of the male shows many colors in sunlight due to iridescence; blues and greens predominate.

The female is brown with lighter underparts, and with a shorter tail.

[edit] Similar Species

On Gulf Coast, can be distinguished from Boat-tailed Grackle by eye color.

[edit] Distribution

FemalePhoto © by creaturesnapperAkumal, Yucatan, Mexico, December 2013
Photo © by creaturesnapper
Akumal, Yucatan, Mexico, December 2013

In the United States found from southern California east to Iowa south to Louisiana. Also found throughout Mexico and Central America south to Peru.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

This is a polytypic species consisting of eight subspecies[1]:

  • Q. m. nelsoni:
  • Q. m. monsoni:
  • South-eastern Arizona to western Texas and Mexican Plateau to Jalisco and Guanajuato
  • Q. m. prosopidicola:
  • South-eastern New Mexico to southern Texas, Coahuila, San Luis Potosí and southern Tamaulipas
First YearPhoto © by bobsofpaKenedy County, Texas, USA, April 2005
First Year
Photo © by bobsofpa
Kenedy County, Texas, USA, April 2005
  • Q. m. graysoni:
  • Coastal north-western Mexico (Sinaloa)
  • Q. m. obscurus:
  • Coastal south-western Mexico (Nayarit to Guerrero)
  • Q. m. mexicanus:
  • Southern Mexico (eastern Jalisco and San Luis Potosí) to northern Nicaragua
  • Q. m. loweryi:
  • Coastal Yucatán Peninsula, Belize and adjacent offshore islands
  • Q. m. peruvianus:

[edit] Habitat

They can be found in a wide variety of habitats; marshes, wetlands, hill bushy areas, golf courses, gardens, and shopping malls.

Photo © by Greg LavatyGalveston, Texas, February 2005
Photo © by Greg Lavaty
Galveston, Texas, February 2005

[edit] Behaviour

In hot areas they will drink from any water available including swimming pools, and they may even take a voluntary swim!

They are social, particularly at dusk when they gather in sizeable flocks to roost in trees.

[edit] Diet

Great-tailed grackles frequent urban landscapes, often feeding in highly-developed areas such as parking lots. They will eat almost anything.

[edit] Vocalisation

They can be noisy, especially during breeding displays, when the male issues loud calls at what looks to be great physical effort.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. Downloaded from
  2. BF Member Observations

[edit] Recommended Citation

[edit] External Links


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