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Boat-tailed grackle

Quiscalus major
Photo by Connie Denyes (Wikipedia)

Common name:
boat-tailed grackle (en); iraúna-dos-paúis (pt); quiscale des marais (fr); zanate marismeño (es); bootschwanzgrackel (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Icteridae

This species is found breeding along the eastern coast of North America, from New York to Florida, and along the Gulf of Mexico coast to Texas. Some populations migrate south and may reach northern Mexico.

These birds are 26-37 cm long and have a wingspan of 39-50 cm. They weigh 90-240 g.

The boat-tailed grackle is mostly found in coastal saltwater marshes, but also in inland wetlands near the coast, in agricultural fields and even in urban areas.

They mostly eat small crabs, shrimps and other aquatic invertebrates, but also insects, earthworms, seeds and fruits. Rice is an important part of their diet in autumn and they are also known to eat small lizards, frogs, turtles, eggs and even garbage.

Boat-billed grackles nest in colonies. Both males and females are often promiscuous and the females are responsible for building the nest, a bulky cup of twigs, grass, weeds and bulrushes placed in a tree or bush near water. The female lays 2-5 light blue eggs with dark spots, which she incubates alone for 13-15 days. The chicks are fed only by the female and fledge 20-23 days after hatching. This species produces 2-3 clutches per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and a global population estimated at 4 million individuals. The population has undergone a large increase of 16% per decade over the last 40 years.

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