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Carib Grackle - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Bjorn Svensson
Venezuela, January 2005
Quiscalus lugubris

Includes: Barbados Grackle


Photo by Tord
Guadeloupe, January 2012

24-28 cm
Male is black with a metallic sheen that is either green, violet, or steel-blue. It has a tail that is V-shaped and whitish eyes.
The female has grayish underside, darker brownish-gray upperside and a light supercilium at least on some islands, while she is darker and even can have some glossy black areas on other islands.

Male is larger than female.


Present in the Lesser Antilles from Anguilla and south - probably introduced on some of the northern islands including Antigua and Barbuda. Outside the Caribbean, also present on Trinidad, and Eastern Colombia through Northern Venezuela (including islands such as Isla Margarita etc), the Guianas, and North-Eastern Brazil.


Female or immature of a darker form (inflexirostris)
Photo by njlarsen
St. Lucia, April 2010


Clements Checklist mentions 8 subspecies.

  • Q. l. guadeloupensis:
  • Q. l. inflexirostris:
  • Q. l. contrusus:
  • Q. l. luminosus:
  • Q. l. fortirostris:
  • Q. l. orquillensis:
  • Q. l. insularis:
  • Isla Margarita and Islas Los Frailes (off Venezuela)
  • Q. l. lugubris:

According to Raffaele1, the 5 Caribbean subspecies have different song dialects, and there is some differences in female plumage as well. Prime suspect for a future split? Some resources such as the field guide by Kirwan et al.4 indicates splitting of subspecies fortirostris and contrusus as Barbados Grackle, Quiscalus fortirostris.


Limited to open areas, including residential.



It breeds in colonies. A deep cup nest is built in a tree. The 2-4 white eggs are incubated for 12 days. The young fledge 14 days later.


The diet includes insects and invertebrates.


  1. Raffaele et al. 1998. Birds of the West Indies. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0713649054
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  3. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.1)_red. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.1. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  4. Kirwan, GM, A Levesque, M Oberle, and CJ Sharpe. 2019. Birds of the West Indies. (Lynx and Birdlife International Field Guides) Barcalona, Lynx Editions. ISBN 978-84-16728-17-6

Recommended Citation

External Links

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