Common Name

Scientific Name

Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

The great-tailed grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus, occurs from the southern United States to Peru, and is migratory, at least in some of the northern parts of its range. In Utah, it is an uncommon, permanent resident at scattered locations throughout the state. It has recently expanded its range into Utah, having first appeared in this state in the late 1970s. This species prefers open areas with scattered trees, such as farms, towns, and city parks. The great-tailed grackle is omnivorous, eating invertebrates, small vertebrates, fruits, and seeds.

This bird often nests in colonies, the nests being situated usually five to fifteen feet up in trees, but occasionally as low as two feet or as high as fifty feet. There are usually three or four eggs, sometimes five, which are incubated for thirteen to fourteen days by the female parent alone. The young, which also are tended by the female alone, leave the nest after twenty to twenty-three days.


  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American birds. 2nd ed. Academic, San Diego. 347 pp.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birderís handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.