Quiscalus quiscula
(Common Grackle)


Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Icteridae
Family Description: Blackbirds, Orioles, & Meadowlarks

Physical Description:
11-13 1/2" (28-34 cm). Black head, tail and underparts; back, wings, and flanksClick word for definition are IridescentClick word for definition. Have yellow eyes and long tail.

Similar Species- Great-tailed Grackle, Brewer's Blackbird

Song:
Hoarse, creaking call like a rusty hinge.

Distribution:
Breeds from northeastern British Columbia, east across portions of Canada, south to southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida, and west to Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Winters from Kansas, southern Great Lakes region, New England and Nova Scotia, south to southeastern New Mexico, southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and Florida. Breeder in urban areas of southeastern Idaho; invaded Idaho successfully as a nester in 1970's.

Habitat:
Found in partly-open situations with scattered trees, open woodlands, forest edges, marsh edges, islands, swamp thickets, coniferous groves, riparian woodlands, cities, suburbs, and farms. During migration and in winter, also found in open situations, cultivated lands, and fields. In Idaho, has adapted to forested urban environments.

Diet:
Eats various invertebrates, grain, seeds, fruits, sometimes small vertebrates, and birds' eggs.

Ecology:
Builds cup-shaped nest, frequently in tree, but sometimes in shrub or human-built structure. Nests usually in loose colonies. Forages on ground, in shrubs and trees, and in shallow water. roostsClick word for definition communially in large flocks (sometimes greater than 100,000 individuals) in summer and fall in northeastern U.S.; often roosts with starlings.

Reproduction
Female incubatesClick word for definition 4-7 eggs (commonly 5-6), for 12-14 days. Young are tended by both sexes, leave nest at 10- 17 days, and remain in nest vicinity for 2-3 days. Female may produce 2 broodsClick word for definition/yr.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPBXB6070
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2,NTMB
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
Taylor, D.M. and C.H. Trost. 1985. The Common Grackle in Idaho. Am. Birds 39:217-218.


Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.