Great-tailed Grackle

Silhouette BlackbirdsBlackbirds

Great-tailed Grackle

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

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.

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

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.

Other Names
  • Zanate Mayor (Spanish)
  • Quiscale à longue queue (French)

Backyard Tips

Great-tailed Grackles will take seed spread beneath feeders, often chasing off smaller birds. Cracked corn and milo are particular favorites. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

  • Cool Facts