Boat-tailed Grackle

Quiscalus majorThe Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) is no stranger in our midst, but you really need to be along the coast to spot a Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major). Marine Park had a few of them foraging in the reed stubble recently. Here’s one of these spectacular “blackbirds.” They are bigger than the Commons, with longer tails and a full-body iridescence where Commons have purple-blue heads and brownish-bronze bodies.Quiscalus majorUnfortunately, none of my pictures quite captured the intensity of this bird’s blue iridescence in that back-lit bright morning sun.

They’re called “boat-tailed” because their tails looks like keels in flight. Their other cousins, the Great-tailed Grackles, have even bigger tails.

2 Responses to “Boat-tailed Grackle”


  1. 1 elwnyc April 4, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Greater sexual dimorphism, too, in both the boat-tailed and great-tailed grackles. It takes a much closer look with the common grackle.

    • 2 mthew April 4, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Too true, the browner, less glossy females are smaller, especially in the case of the Great-Tailed. Look like another species entirely.


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