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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Common Grackle -- Quiscalus quiscula

RANGE: Breeds from northeastern British Columbia and southern Mackenzie to southwestern Newfoundland, south to central and southeastern Texas, the Gulf Coast and southern Florida, and west to eastern Wyoming, central Colorado, and central and southeastern New Mexico. Winters from Kansas, Iowa, the southern Great Lakes region, New England, and Nova Scotia south to southeastern New Mexico, southern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and Florida.

STATUS: Abundant.

HABITAT: Prefers open habitat (especially agricultural) with scattered trees or open woodlands, forest edge, and nearby human habitation. Frequents city parks, swamps, brushy or reedy marshes, and cultivated lands, especially in migration.

NEST: Builds nest in a variety of trees and often has local preferences for tree species. Nests colonially, building nests 7 to 35 feet above the ground (average 20 feet); most are well concealed in dense masses of foliage.

FOOD: Forages for food in cultivated fields, shrubs, and shallow water. Eats nuts, weed seeds, small bulbs, eggs and young of other birds, and fish; can be a pest when large numbers descend on cultivated crops.

REFERENCES: Beal 1900, Forbush and May 1955, Jones 1969, Maxwell 1970.

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