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Boat-tailed Grackle - BirdForum Opus

Photo by David Roach
Wakodahatchee, Florida, October 2004
Quiscalus major


Males 16-17" (41-43 cm)
Females 12-13" (30-33 cm)
Tail very long and keel-shaped

  • Black
  • Iridescent blue on back and breast
  • Yellow or brown eyes
Photo by tetoneon
East of Fort Myers, Florida, May 2014


  • Smaller
  • Brown with paler breast

Similar species

Common Grackle smaller; female lacks paler breast. Very similar to Great-tailed Grackle

  • Averages shorter-tailed
  • Rounder headed
  • Relatively long legs
  • Long slender bill
  • Distinctive voice
  • Eye color differs
    • White eye on Atlantic coast
    • Brown eye on Gulf coast


Resident along coasts from New Jersey south and west to Louisiana; also inland in peninsular Florida. Rare but regular breeder north along coast to Massachusetts.

Only one accepted inland record at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory in New York.


This species and its close relative the Great-tailed Grackle were thought to be a single species until it was found that both nest in southwestern Louisiana without interbreeding.

Photo by KC Foggin
Withers Swash, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, July 2003


This is a polytypic species, consisting of four subspecies[1]:

  • Q. m. major:
  • Q. m. alabamensis:
  • Q. m. torreyi:
  • Q. m. westoni:


Marshes along the coast; in Florida, also on farmlands.



Photo by AForns
South Florida, March 2008

Mostly insects and plant matter. Lesser quantities of aquatic invertebrates and reptiles or amphibians


The clutch consists of 3 or 4 pale blue eggs, spotted and scrawled with brown and purple. The nest is a bulky cup of grass, mud, and decayed vegetation placed from 2 to 10' (60 cm to 3 m) up in marsh grass or bushes.


Harsh jeeb-jeeb-jeeb-jeeb, unlike the whistles and clucks of the Great-tailed Grackle.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Recommended Citation

External Links

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