Great-tailed Grackle

1/250, f13.0. ISO 2000, Canon EOS-1D X, EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM +1.4x II


The great-tailed grackle or Mexican grackle is a medium-sized, gregarious passerine bird native to North and South America. Originally from Central and South America, great-tailed grackles expanded their breeding range by over 5500% by moving north into North America between 1880 and 2000, following urban and agricultural corridors. Their current range stretches from northwest Venezuela and western Colombia and Ecuador in the south to Minnesota in the north, to Oregon, Idaho, and California in the west, to Louisiana in the east, with vagrants occurring as far north as southern Canada. Their "natural" habitat for foraging is on the ground in clear areas such as pastures, wetlands and mangroves. Great-tailed grackles have an unusually large repertoire of vocalizations that are used year-round. They communally roost in trees or the reeds of wetlands at night and, during the breeding season. Resident and transient males sire a small number of offspring through extra pair copulations with females on territories. Territorial males are heavier and have longer tails than non-territorial males, and both of these characteristics are associated with having more offspring.
Gilbert Water Ranch, AZ
 
11/15/2015