The Common Grackle is a member of the Quiscalus genus and
Quiscula family. They are large icterid birds. The male is
thirteen inches long as an adult. Adult Grackles have a long
dark bill, pale yellow color eyes, and a long tail. The
plumage has iridescence to it. It is all black except for
its head, which is a brilliant iridescent purple.
The female adult bird is slightly smaller and not as glossy.
Otherwise it looks similar to the male.
The Grackle is a bird that is native to in Northern America
east of the Rocky Mountains. They will make nests in
colonies and some of these colonies can be quite large. They
like to build their nests near water in pine trees or dense
shrubs. They breed in open to semi-open areas and nest in
well concealed copses of dense trees. Occasionally they may
nest in man-made bird houses.
The Common Grackle's call is harsh, particularly when they
flock together and are calling back and forth.
The Common Grackle forages in shallow water, on the ground,
or in shallow bushes. It will steal food from other birds if
it can. The Common Grackle is omnivorous and will eat eggs,
frogs, minnows, insects, grain, seeds and even small birds.
Like other species of Grackle the Common Grackle practices
"anting," rubbing insects on their feathers to apply liquids
like formic acid to their feathers, probably to resist
This bird tends to stay in Northern America and is a
permanent resident there. They migrate in flocks in winter
to the southeastern United States.
This bird has expanded its area west as forests are cleared
for farming. In some areas they are considered to be pests
by farmers because of their fondness for grain and their
large numbers. But the current population of Common Grackles
is in decline, according to the Christmas Bird Count done by
the National Audubon Society.
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