Quiscalus mexicanus

Great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) are slowly expanding their range northward. They are found in the lower tier of states from Western Louisiana westward to the Pacific Coast. Where Leonard and I live in Northeastern California great-tailed grackles are occasional visitors. Three subspecies are identified in North America.

A large blackbird, the great-tailed grackle is a social bird. The male is black with violet-blue iridescence, , long black legs, a large, thick, straight black bill and a bright yellow eye. The male’s tail is almost as long as its body and is deeply keeled (folds into a distinctive V shape). Females are half the size of males and do not have a keeled tail. The coloration of a female is brown above, pale brown below and slightly buffy on the head.

Great-tailed grackles live in open habitats, agricultural areas and urban areas. Nearby water is a requirement of these grackles. Grackles eat plant material throughout the year and will also take insects, small mammals and small reptiles.

This great-tailed grackle was observed near the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in Irving TX.

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