Boat-tailed Grackle -Quiscalus major
Habitat: Open coastal marshes near large bodies of brackish or salt water, but they can be found in areas near tidal rivers. In Florida they can be found living in inland freshwater habitats. Prefer saltwater wetlands. Found commonly along the Atlantic coast from New York to Florida. Some are found as far West as the Gulf coast.
Description: The makes and females are different in size and coloration. The males are commonly found to be between 37-43cm long. They weigh 165-250g. The males have black plumage and the have a dark colored bill. The males have a long-keel shaped tail. This is a distiguishing charcteristic about this species. The femals are relatively smaller. They are found to be 26-33cm long and weigh 90-115g. They have a sorter tail.
Ecological Notes: They nest in colonies of cattails, bulrushes, marsh-grass, bushes, or trees. The nests are built between 6-80 feet above the ground on branches that overhang above water.
Personal Information: Saw a few of them while we were eating lunch on Roanoke Island. Journal Articles: To understand the nesting habits of the boat tailed grackel Amos, M. "Shade seeking by Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) nestlings at the scale of the nanoclimate." JOURNAL OF THERMAL BIOLOGY 34.2 (2009), 76-80.
Here is another article about the impacts of global climate change: Rush, Scott A., et al. "Understanding the Potential Impacts of Global Climate Change on Marsh Birds in the Gulf of Mexico Region." WETLANDS 32.1 (2012), 35-49.
Contributed by Shawn Probs - 2012
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