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Common Grackle

A black bird with a yellow eye perches on a branch
Glenn Euloth/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0



Larger than a robin, common grackles have yellow eyes, a long, straight, dark bill, and a long rudder-like tail. Males have dark iridescent plumage with a bronze back and sides, purple wings and tail and a purplish-blue breast and head. Females are smaller and duller brown in color. Common grackles are sometimes confused with several species, with the following differences. The great-tailed grackle is bluish-purple overall. The Brewer’s blackbird, rusty blackbird and red-winged blackbird have shorter tails that are not rudder-like. European starlings have a speckled appearance.


Approximately 11 to 13.4 inches in length. Wingspan of 14.2 to 18.1 inches.


Common grackles are found in wetlands, hedgerows, fields, wet meadows, riparian woodlands, woodland edges, shrubby urban and suburban parks and gardens. This bird can be found statewide.

Life History

At feeders, this bird eats cracked corn, milo, millet and black-oil sunflower seeds. Away from feeders, they strut along the ground searching, snatching and probing for insects, earthworms, seeds and waste grains.

Wildlife Watching Tips

These birds feed in flocks with other blackbirds. They prefer to feed on the ground.    

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