Although they are birds of the marshes and Everglades, Boat-tailed Grackles adapt well to the suburban environment and set up colonies of females dominated by a single male who may defend a "harem" of several dozen females, permitting only a few other older ranking males to mate with them. Dominance between the males is maintained by an elaborate display which involves confrontation, alternate vocalizing, fluttering and posturing. This seems to ward off most violent struggles. Eye color varies from dark brown or black in south Florida to yellowish or straw-colored to the north and along Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf coast.
This display took place on our south Florida lawn. The males each took turns calling and fluttering as the other froze in a bill-up posture:
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Female Boat-tailed Grackles are smaller and quite different in appearance from the males. For much of the year they gather in same-sex flocks away from the males, whose displays intensify as the breeding season approaches. Younger males and females often passively watch the competition between the dominant older males.
Our local population is essentially non-migratory but in winter is supplemented by visitors from the north. At dawn and dusk we may see large flocks moving back and forth between communal roosts. They are opportunitic omnivores, seeming to eat anything from linsects and lizards on our lawns to seeds, grain and garbage. Their long legs are an adaptation to feeding in shallow water, where they capture small aquatic organisms by sight, almost like miniature herons.
To the west, the similar Great-tailed Grackle species replaces the Boat-tailed. The former have bright yellow eyes.
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The smaller Common Grackle also has yellow eyes:
A winter gathering of a mixed flock of grackles against a gray sky, Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY :
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Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display
Hi Ken, awesome post and series on the Grackles.. They are handsome birds. Have a great day!ReplyDelete
fine looking birds! we typically get commons here, but i have seen some boat-tails in dallas, i think. :)ReplyDelete
(or maybe i'm remembering them from along the coast...)ReplyDelete
Fascinating to learn more about this Grackle. Thanks so much. I thoroughly enjoyed the photos and the video.ReplyDelete
I got to see/hear the Great-tailed Grackle when in California in April! What a noise they make...it was entertaining at the time, but not sure I would want to hear it all the time.ReplyDelete
BTW, these are some great shots!
Lots of lovely images!!! And so much information, as well!ReplyDelete
The Grackle has such beautiful colors! I really love that last shot though. Impressive!ReplyDelete
Belíssimas fotos, fiquei impressionada! Muito lindo! Parabéns!ReplyDelete
Great pics. Love how blue the males look in the light.ReplyDelete
HI Kenneth Very interesting post with great information about the Crackle. These certainly look very difference and of course your images re brilliant. Hve a lovely weekend.ReplyDelete
Ils sont tous superbes ;o)ReplyDelete
I absolutely like all those birds pictures ! Very beautiufl , interesting and even funny for some of them . Great post !ReplyDelete
Your post was so relevant to me as a few days ago I was listening and watching Grackles in Mexico City. I knew I had seen them in Florida but I just couldn't remember their name. So thank you.ReplyDelete
Just incredible Grackle photos!! Never seen anything like this.ReplyDelete
Wow - those grackle shots are just magnificent!ReplyDelete
Fantastic photos of birds... and those which is linking to Weekend Reflections is absolutely fabulous...ReplyDelete
Ken, just stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post.. Have a happy day!ReplyDelete
Magnificent photography of 'critters' ~ReplyDelete
Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol
Wow, great series of photos. I do have difficulty identifying boat-tailed vs. great-tailed grackles. When I'm in the coast, I sometimes presumed they're boat-tailed. :)ReplyDelete
Fabulous photos of the grackles! They're handsome birds, especially the males.ReplyDelete
Noisy but beautiful birds! Loved the display video. They are so interesting!ReplyDelete
What an amazingly long tail. Lovely pictures and a cool looking bird.ReplyDelete