Common Grackle

Common Grackle

Quiscalus quiscula

Near Threatened

Known for their glossy black plumage with a hint of iridescent blue and purple, the Common Grackle is a sight to behold in the North American landscapes. These highly social birds can be found in large, noisy flocks, dominating the scene with their presence. Their opportunistic feeding habits and adaptability make them a pervasive resident from Canada to Mexico, often outcompeting smaller birds at feeders with their size and shrewdness.

Appearance and Identification

Males and females have similar plumage

Primary Color


Primary Color (juvenile)


Secondary Colors

Blue, Purple

Secondary Colors (female)

Secondary Colors (juvenile)


Secondary Colors (seasonal)

Wing Color


Wing Color (juvenile)


Beak Type


Beak Color


Beak Color (juvenile)


Leg Color


Leg Color (juvenile)


Distinctive Markings

Iridescent body, long dark bill

Distinctive Markings (juvenile)

Less glossy than adults

Tail Description

Long and keel-shaped in flight

Tail Description (juvenile)

Shorter and rounded

Size Metrics

28cm to 34cm


36cm to 46cm


74g to 142g



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Vocalization and Sounds

Primary Calls

Harsh, grating calls

Call Description

A variety of calls including a high-pitched shriek and a low 'chuk'

Alarm Calls

Sharp, piercing calls

Behavior and Social Structure

Daily Activities

Active during the day, often in large noisy flocks

Social Habits

Highly social, forms large roosts in winter

Territorial Behavior

Defends territory during breeding season

Migratory Patterns

Migrates south in winter, but some populations are resident

Interaction with Other Species

Often dominates smaller birds at feeders


Primary Diet

Insects, Grains, Berries

Feeding Habits

Forages on ground and in trees

Feeding Times

Primarily in the morning and late afternoon

Prey Capture Method

Picks off insects from plants, probes soil for grubs

Diet Variations

Highly varied, opportunistic feeder

Special Dietary Needs (if any)

None known


Nesting Location

In trees or shrubs, often near water

Nest Construction

Cup-shaped, made of twigs and lined with softer material

Breeding Season

Spring to early summer, March to July, usually

Number of clutches (per breeding season)

One to two

Egg Appearance

Pale blue to gray with dark markings

Egg Size

Approximately 2.5cm x 3.5cm

Clutch Characteristics

3-7 eggs, usually four

Incubation Period

Around 13-14 days

Fledgling Period

Approximately 2 weeks

Parental Care

Both parents feed chicks, but only female incubates

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

North America, from Canada to Mexico

Habitat Description

Wide range of habitats, including forests, fields, parks, and suburban areas

Elevation Range

Sea level to 1500m

Migration Patterns

Migrates south in winter, but some populations are resident


Forests, Grasslands, Urban

Climate zones


Distribution Map

Please note, this range and distribution map is a high-level overview, and doesn't break down into specific regions and areas of the countries.

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