January 13, 2016 – Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major)

Found on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, these grackles live mostly in salt and freshwater marshes and can also be seen foraging in urban areas. They are omnivorous and eat a variety of invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, seeds, fruits, and tubers, as well as food scavenged from humans and domestic animals. They can pry mussel and snail shells open with their beaks and sometimes dip bread or dog food in water before eating it. Females build nests in clusters, choosing safer areas which males compete to defend. One male wins the opportunity to breed with the females in a colony, though DNA testing shows that he may only father around a quarter of the chicks.