Great-tailed grackle

The Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus, Quiscale à longue queue) is the Phoenix, Arizona version of Calgary’s Black-billed Magpie. They are common in residential areas and commercial areas with food garbage; both are long-tailed omnivores of a similar size; and they make loud, often harsh, sounds. Great-tailed Grackles are non-migratory and mostly live in the southwestern US, Mexico and Central America. I met them when J and I went to visit his folks in Mesa this past December.

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23 Comments

  1. I love all grackles– great-tailed, boat-tailed, etc.! They’re so handsome and fun to watch! Glad you got to see so many.

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    1. Yay! Grackle love! The Great-tailed is the only grackle I’ve met so far. With the male and female looking so different though, it felt like I met two. I definitely enjoyed hearing and seeing them around.

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  2. I remember seeing these birds when I stayed in Guatemala City in 1979. Waking up in a strange city and hearing their calls, I wondered what they were. More than 35 years later, I find out! 🙂

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    1. Oh fun! A bird ID 36 years later :-)! I’m surprised you remember them. I wonder if my parents remember them? I was 3 or 4 when we lived in Guatemala in the early 80s so I don’t remember much.

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      1. Were your parents missionaries or hippies/gringo travelers? ;-D I went there to go to language school – loved the people there.

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        1. Language school in Guatemala sounds like a cool experience :-). My dad is a civil engineer. My mom remembers the grackles from when we lived in Costa Rica a year earlier. She says they would come on our lawn and we would throw them some seeds from the second floor balcony after my afternoon nap. A handful of cows, belonging to a nearby farmer, would also come to graze on our lawn.

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  3. Lovely images. I see the Grackle in Las Vegas NV where I live. Thanks for the name.

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    1. Thanks Sharon :-). Glad I could give some of your feathered neighbors a name.

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  4. When we used to visit my parents in Phoenix they were everywhere. I love the colors in their feathers. (K)

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    1. Ah! You’ve met the Phoenix grackles :-). Their shiny feathers are quite lovely.

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  5. Grackles! Happy New Year, Myriam!!

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    1. Happy New Year M! Grackles indeed! One of the last new birds of the past year. I wonder who the first new bird of the new year will be…

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      1. Though lots of people think of Grackles as pests, their craftiness and iridescent feathers are really cool. A nice choice for ending the year!

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  6. I think the great-tailed grackle is so cool. The first one I ever saw was up close in an urban parking lot in Phoenix, and I whenever I’m in the southwest I am thrilled to see them. Thanks for this great post, wonderful photos.

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    1. Thanks Jet :-). I’m so glad my photos brought back good memories. I was thrilled to see them when we drove from the airport and I scanned the world outside for bird life.

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  7. That is an impressive tail! Here in Illinois we have boat-tailed grackles. Much the same, only with slightly less impressive tails. They are remarkably aggressive birds. They used to dive-bomb my poor cat, and they will dive-bomb people as well. Still, they are handsome, aren’t they?

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    1. Oo, boat-tails! I have not seen one yet.

      A few years ago, back when I lived in Vancouver and would go running a few days a week, I noticed that the crows would bomb-dive me repeatedly and chase me for blocks, while squawking super loudly, whenever I put metal barrettes in my hair. It was a bit terrifying until I thought about taking them off. Here, the magpies occasionally bomb-dive cats, squirrels and dogs. I think it is a mixture of fun and showing off their flying powers. I like going outside and seeing crows or magpies or grackles going about their city bird life.

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      1. Wow~I’ve never seen crows do that but of course, they would want the shiny barrettes ! I think you are right, they are enjoying their powers. What a happy thought. Between you and me, I love starlings. I like their plumage, and how they “talk” companionably. Most of all I love to watch their flocks swoop about together without crashing.

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        1. I like starlings too :-). They are beautiful. And make such wonderful sounds. Do they sound like a symphony of melodious UFOs to you? They have that particular whistling sound. I love suddenly hearing them. I’ve never seen large flocks of them though. Maybe some day…

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          1. I love that~a symphony of melodious UFO’s! Next time I’ll listen for that 🙂

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  8. […] place to see a large variety of birds. I mentioned it a while back when I posted some photos of Great-tailed Grackles I saw in the Phoenix area. The hummingbirds in the next two photos show a little bit of […]

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