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Great-tailed Grackle

Quiscalus mexicanus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: ICTERIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A big, brash blackbird, the male Great-tailed Grackle shimmers in iridescent black and purple, and trails a tail that will make you look twice. The rich brown females are about half the male’s size. Flocks of these long-legged, social birds strut and hop on suburban lawns, golf courses, fields, and marshes in Texas, the Southwest, and southern Great Plains. In the evening, raucous flocks pack neighborhood trees, filling the sky with their amazing (some might say ear-splitting) voices.

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Backyard Tips

Great-tailed Grackles will take seed spread beneath feeders, often chasing off smaller birds. Cracked corn and milo are particular favorites.

Find This Bird

Great-tailed Grackles can be found in open habitats with water nearby throughout the Midwest and West including farmland and city parks. Look for them in mixed flocks foraging on pastures and lawns—their long legs and massive tails distinguish them from other blackbirds and Common Grackles.