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Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major


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Boat-tailed Grackle, male
credit: Connie Denyes/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Icteridae, Blackbirds and Orioles view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has black plumage; in good light a bluish sheen is visible on the head, grading to greenish on the body. ADULT FEMALE Has reddish brown plumage overall, darkest on wings and tail. Tail is relatively shorter than in male. JUVENILE Similar to adult female, but duller.

Dimensions Length: Males 16-17" (41-43 cm); females 12-13" (30-33 cm)

Habitat Locally common resident of coastal wetlands; mostly sedentary, but harsh winter weather forces some northern birds to move south.

Observation Tips Easy to see within range and in suitable habitats.

Range Florida, Texas, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast

Voice Song consists of a mixture of strange dry rattles, hisses, and grating chatters; call is a soft tchak.

Discussion Distinctive, mainly coastal bird. Easy to recognize, within range, by male's long, paddle-shaped tail and extroverted behavior. Feeds mainly on the ground, probing for food with its pointed bill. Eye is pale in Atlantic coast birds, but darker and brownish in Florida and Gulf coast birds. Sexes are dissimilar and male is noticeably larger than female.