Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)

Great-tailed Grackle

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Icteridae | [latin] Quiscalus mexicanus | [UK] Great-tailed Grackle | [FR] Grand Quiscale | [DE] Dohlengrackel | [ES] Zanate mexicano | [NL] Langstaarttroepiaal


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Quiscalus mexicanus NA, LA s USA through w, n SA
Quiscalus mexicanus graysoni
Quiscalus mexicanus loweryi
Quiscalus mexicanus mexicanus
Quiscalus mexicanus monsoni
Quiscalus mexicanus nelsoni
Quiscalus mexicanus obscurus
Quiscalus mexicanus peruvianus
Quiscalus mexicanus prosopidicola

Physical charateristics

Male, a very large, purple-glossed blackbird, much larger than the Common Grackle and with a longer, more ample tail. Female is much smaller than the male; brown, with a pale breast. Adults have yellow eyes.

Listen to the sound of Great-tailed Grackle

[audio: Grackle.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 50 cm wingspan max.: 58 cm
size min.: 38 cm size max.: 46 cm
incubation min.: 13 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 20 days fledging max.: 23 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America, Latin America : South USA through West, North South America


Groves, thickets, farms, towns, city parks.
Found in many kinds of open and semi-open country, mostly in the lowlands, including farmland, marshes, irrigated fields, suburban lawns, brushy areas. Avoids true desert situations but may be common around streams or ponds in dry country.


Nests in colonies. In courtship and territorial display, male perches in the open, fluffs out feathers, rapidly flutters wings while making harsh calls. Also postures with bill pointed straight up. Both males and females may have more than one mate.

Nest: Site varies; usually in dense vegetation near water, including dense shrubs or low trees, but also in marsh or in tall trees. Often 2-
20′ above ground or water, but can be as high as 50′. Nest (built by female) is a bulky open cup made of twigs, grass, weeds, cattails, rushes,
lined with fine grass. Mud or manure often added to base of nest. Females may steal nest material from each other.
Eggs: 3-4, sometimes 5. Pale greenish blue, marked with brown, gray, and black. Incubation is by female, 13-14 days.
Young: Fed by female only. Young leave the nest about 3 weeks after hatching.

Feeding habits

Diet is extremely varied; includes many insects, also spiders, millipedes, snails, crayfish, tadpoles, small fish, lizards, eggs and nestlings of other birds, and sometimes adult birds. Also eats a wide variety o
f seeds, waste grain, berries, fruit, and nuts.
Behavior: Forages mostly on the ground, or by wading in very shallow water. Also forages in trees and shrubs, especially searching for nests to rob. Generally feeds in flocks.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Great-tailed Grackle status Least Concern


Southwestern United States to Peru. Rapidly expanding its range.

Distribution map

Great-tailed Grackle distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *