Merlin Bird Graphic

Merlin Bird ID

Try our free app foriOS | AndroidWeb version coming soon!
Recently Viewed Species

    Boat-tailed Grackle

    ID Info
    Silhouette BlackbirdsBlackbirds

    Boat-tailed Grackle

    Quiscalus major
    • ORDER: Passeriformes
    • FAMILY: Icteridae
    Basic Description

    When you smell saltwater on the East Coast, it’s time to look out for Boat-tailed Grackles. The glossy blue-black males are hard to miss as they haul their ridiculously long tails around or display from marsh grasses or telephone wires. The rich, dark-brown females are half the size of males and look almost like a different species. Boat-tailed Grackles take advantage of human activity along our increasingly developed coast, scavenging trash and hanging out in busy urban areas away from predators.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Boat-tailed GrackleRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    To see Boat-tailed Grackles, head to the southeastern or Gulf Coast and look for long-tailed black birds around marsh edges, boat launches, and parks. They often walk around boldly on long legs with their tails cocked up, searching for food. It is also common to see Boat-tailed Grackles perched on roadside utility wires. If you still can’t find one, head to a fast food restaurant in a beach town and scout around for discarded French fries—you’re almost sure to find grackles there.

    Other Names
    • Zanate Marismeño (Spanish)
    • Quiscale des marais (French)

    Backyard Tips

    Boat-tailed Grackles eat sunflower seeds, sorghum, millet, corn, and other bird seeds from feeders, particularly platform feeders.

    • Cool Facts