A large, long-tailed blackbird, the Boat-tailed Grackle is found exclusively along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States. The noisy, iridescent, purple-black male is hard to miss when it displays on power lines and telephone poles. The smaller brown female is much less conspicuous, and might even be mistaken for a different species.
Cool Facts - Eye color in the Boat-tailed Grackle varies from region to region. Grackles along the Atlantic coast north of Florida have straw-colored eyes. Florida birds have dark eyes. Grackles west of Florida to eastern Louisiana have light eyes, but those further west have dark ones. • Fledglings that fall into the water can swim well for short distances, using their wings as paddles. • The Boat-tailed Grackle has an odd mating system: harem defense polygyny. Females cluster their nests, and the males compete to defend the entire colony and mate there. The most dominant male gets most of the copulations in a system similar to that used by many deer. But all is not as simple as it seems. Although the dominant male may get up to 87% of the copulations at a colony, DNA fingerprinting shows that he actually sires only about 25% of the young in the colony. Most of the young are fathered by non-colony males away from the colonies.
Lat: 27.77, Long: -82.62
Spotted on Nov 6, 2011
Submitted on Nov 7, 2011