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Common Grackle

Common Grackle

The Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) is a large icterid which is found in large numbers through much of North America. Adults have a long, dark bill, pale yellowish eyes, and a long tail; its feathers appear black with purple, green or blue iridescence on the head, and primarily bronze sheen in the body plumage. The adult female, beyond being smaller, is usually less iridescent; her tail, in particular, is shorter, and unlike the males, does not keel (display a longitudinal ridge) in flight and is brown with no purple or blue gloss. The juvenile is brown with dark brown eyes. [Wikipedia]

Common Grackle

Common Grackle

Common Grackles are blackbirds that look like they’ve been slightly stretched. They’re taller and longer tailed than a typical blackbird, with a longer, more tapered bill and glossy-iridescent bodies. Grackles walk around lawns and fields on their long legs or gather in noisy groups high in trees, typically evergreens. They eat many crops (notably corn) and nearly anything else as well, including garbage. In flight, their long tails trail behind them sometimes folded down the middle into a shallow V-shape. [All About Birds]

Common Grackle

Common Grackle

Common Grackle Facts [All About Birds]

  • Those raggedy figures out in cornfields may be called scare-crows, but grackles are the #1 threat to corn. They eat ripening corn as well as corn sprouts, and their habit of foraging in big flocks means they have a multi-million dollar impact. Some people have tried to reduce their effects by spraying a foul-tasting chemical on corn sprouts or by culling grackles at their roosts.
  • Common Grackles are resourceful foragers. They sometimes follow plows to catch invertebrates and mice, wade into water to catch small fish, pick leeches off the legs of turtles, steal worms from American Robins, raid nests, and kill and eat adult birds.
  • You might see a Common Grackle hunched over on the ground, wings spread, letting ants crawl over its body and feathers. This is called anting, and grackles are frequent practitioners among the many bird species that do it. The ants secrete formic acid, the chemical in their stings, and this may rid the bird of parasites. In addition to ants, grackles have been seen using walnut juice, lemons and limes, marigold blossoms, chokecherries, and mothballs in a similar fashion.
  • The oldest recorded Common Grackle was a male, and at least 23 years old when he was killed by a raptor in Minnesota.

 

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