Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula


enlarge +

Common Grackle, male
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

All Images

1 article:

Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

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

Description ADULT MALE Looks all black in poor light. "Bronzed" ssp. has blue head and bronze sheen to body. "Purple" ssp. has blue hood and chest and purple sheen to body. Florida ssp. has green sheen to back. ADULT FEMALE Similar to respective male, but duller overall and with less noticeable sheen. JUVENILE Recalls adult female, but plumage is uniform brown, darkest on wings and tail; iris is dark.

Dimensions Length: 12" (30 cm)

Habitat Common in open and lightly wooded habitats, including farmland and gardens. Occurs year round in southeastern U.S. ("Purple" ssp.); "Bronzed" ssp. occurs north and west of Appalachians as a summer visitor (mainly May-Sep) with birds moving south and east in fall. Florida ssp. is resident in Florida.

Observation Tips Easy to see.

Range Texas, Mid-Atlantic, Alaska, Southeast, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains, Plains, Eastern Canada, New England, Western Canada, California, Southwest, Florida

Voice Song is harsh and grating; call is a sharp tchuk.

Discussion Eastern North America's commonest grackle, separated from blackbirds by its long bill and long, graduated tail, which male holds keeled in cross-section. Male performs elaborate displays, including tail-fanning and body-arching. All adult birds have a pale iris. Male is larger than female and sexes are separable by plumage differences. Subspecies variation exists.