Bird: Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major)

Length: 11.5"

Description: Male is a large black bird with a bluish sheen overall. Tail is very long and is keel shaped in flight. The eye is yellow and glazes when the bird calls. Female has chestnut wings and tail and lighter brown breast and head. Eye of female is also yellow. Female is much smaller and less aggressive than male. Males often sing in pairs with heads and beaks raised straight up.

Voice: Obnoxious, repeated, liquidy, nasal screeching and squealing, especially a common "jeeb-jeeb-jeeb". Also a repeated whistle when in flight. Audio is available at

Boat-tailed Grackle 1
Photograph by Al Liberman

Feeding: Feeds on a variety of items including insects, fish and seeds. Will crown other birds away from feeders. Also eat baby birds from nests.

Behavior at Wakodahatchee: The Boat Tailed Grackle is very abundant at Wakodahatchee. Any time of the year, any time of day, you can't miss it. It is an aggressive, loud bird and will allow unbelievably close approach by humans. The Boat-Tailed Grackle roosts communally at night in the bulrushes at Wakodahatchee. Around sunset, flocks begin to pour in from all around. During roosting, the males sing in pairs, chest to chest, with head and beak straight up. I have not read an explanation for this behavior. Boat Tailed grackles have been known to pick the insects directly off the backs of cattle.

Boat-tailed Grackle 2
Photograph by Al Liberman

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