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Great-tailed Grackle

The first time I saw at a grackle was in Arizona.  He flew over my head too quickly for me to get a picture.  The second time was in Farmington.  I wasn’t absolutely sure it was a grackle so I kept looking between the grackle and blackbirds.  The pictures are not good, merely sufficient to confirm that he has yellow eyes and a giant tail.

A few weeks later during the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival, I was close to several grackles in good light.  Success!

This is a Great-tailed Grackle.  We have both Common and Great-tailed Grackles in Utah.  This is not a Common Grackle because (1) their feathers look like oil; and (2) their tail feathers are not as impressive.  You can see an example of the Great-tailed Grackles tail feathers in this fantastic display of the male chasing a female.

Isn’t he impressive?  If you were a female grackle, wouldn’t you swoon?  He got so puffy and had a lovely song.

The females have the same piercing eyes but their feathers are brown.

Grackles have done really well in the United States and started expanding northward because they adapt well to areas with humans.  For example, grackles will follow tractors to find food in the mowed grass.


4 Responses to “Great-tailed Grackle”

  1. Tiffany says:

    Cool post! I recently found a place here (by a lake) that has lots of them (and that’s the only place I’ve ever seen them in San Diego). Very chatty birds :).

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I really like their songs. I guess they’re as common as starlings and House Sparrows in some areas because many people don’t like them. But I’m impressed by the mating display. I wouldn’t mind seeing more grackles.

  3. Cindy says:

    We have lots of them in Florida. I find them fascinating – they are so emotional and brave – a female took bits of snack from a guy’s fingers last trip. She was probably feeding chicks. Her mate was singing and strutting on the balcony railing and looking at Suess in his cage.

  4. Kathy says:

    I have always wondered if I would notice the difference between our Boat-tailed Grackle and a Great Tailed Grackle if I ever saw one. Seeing your pictures, I think I could tell the difference. Thanks Elizabeth.