Fun Common Grackle Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Common Grackle Facts For Kids

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A common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) is a type of blackbird of the New World. The species of common grackle is slightly larger than the other blackbirds of the Iceterid family. These birds are divided into three observed subspecies: the bronzed grackle, the Florida grackle, and the purple grackle. They are distinguished from other birds of the family by their elongated body and long tail. Common grackles are social birds, flocks of which are found commonly throughout their range in North America. Currently, they are one of the most abundant birds in North America. The bird species is residential in its southern parts however, short to medium range seasonal migration of the North American population takes place in large flocks. Migration takes place mainly between the breeding and the wintering grounds. The common grackles prefer open or partially open areas with scattered trees. They are also capable of existing comfortably within human habitations.

If you are interested in knowing some interesting common grackle bird facts, keep on reading this article. For similar content check out sedge wren facts and collared falconet facts too.

Fun Common Grackle Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Insects, Frogs, Minnows, Salamanders, Mice, Bats

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1-7 eggs

How much do they weigh?

2.6-5 oz (74-142 g)

How long are they?

11-13 in (28-34 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black, Blue, Purple, Bronze

Skin Type


What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Near Threatened

Where you'll find them?

Agricultural Land


North America









Common Grackle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Common Grackle?

A common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) is a type of bird.

What class of animal does a Common grackle belong to?

Common grackles belong to the class Aves, the common class for all types of birds.

How many Common Grackles are there in the world?

Common grackles are present in large numbers in their native range. Currently, their population stands at approximately 69 million adult common grackles. The total number of grackle birds, including the juveniles, has been counted to be around 103.5 million individuals. In the last 40 years, these North American birds have decreased in large numbers throughout their entire range. The population trend in some places of its range at that period declined enough to approach the threshold of a vulnerable species. However, the recent rate of their decrease has slowed down. The lowered annual declines of their population in their range indicate a promising growth of their numbers in the future.

Where does a Common Grackle live?

The common grackle is an endemic bird species of North America. Their range extends from eastern North America, east of the Rockies in the United States to northern and central Canada in the north, and the Gulf of Mexico in the south. Current estimates have shown traces of these North American birds further north in Manitoba, Canada than what was previously assumed. In winter, common grackles move from the north to the southeastern states, except the residential Gulf Coast population. The bronzed common grackles are found in New England, while purple grackles occur from New York to North Carolina and further south in the southeastern states the greenish grackles are found. They stretch from Louisiana to Florida.

What is a Common Grackle's habitat?

Common grackles are found in various types of open habitats. The birds are found to occur in huge numbers around agricultural lands and farms. As a result, agricultural expansion in many areas has benefitted these birds on a large scale. They can also inhabit open marshes, swamps, meadows, and open forest edges. Human-modified lands such as suburban and residential developments, city parks, and cultivated lands and plantations also shelter a large number of common grackles. They build their nests in comparatively private spots, generally among dense trees or in shrubs located near water and low marshes. Some unusual nesting sites have also been located in the bird species like inside woodpecker holes, old buildings and under barns, the lower part of an active osprey nest, and on rafters. Their nest site is bordered with grass, mud, and horsehair.  

Who do Common Grackles live with?

The common grackles are highly social birds. They travel to their migrating grounds in large flocks. These flocks do not only consist of birds of their own type but they also migrate with other species like the red-winged blackbird, European Starling, and Brown-headed Cowbird. Their wintering flocks might consist of more than a million birds. During the breeding season, they have been observed to roost in small to large colonies in their breeding sites. The common grackles in a group are referred to as plague.

How long does a Common Grackle live?

The highest recorded age in the species of common grackles is 22 years. However, most of the birds in the wild do not have such a long lifespan. Only half of their total population can reach adulthood.

How do they reproduce?

The female bird builds a cup-shaped bulky nest before the season using twigs, branches, and leaves. Usually, the common grackles prefer to nest in large coniferous trees with some exceptions. The male fluffs up its feathers and tilts its head backward to show prowess over other male birds and to attract female birds towards it. Copulation in the birds begins as soon as the nest-building process ends. The female lays around 1-7 eggs in a single clutch. Mostly, the male birds isolate the eggs and the nest right after breeding while some stay around with their female partner and take part in incubating the eggs. The common grackle juvenile emerges from the eggs after an incubation period of 12-14 days. Adult common grackle call and displays are common during the incubation period. The young bird fledges the nest after 12-15 days but stays closer to the nest for the next day or two. They are fed by their parents for several weeks. Sometimes, this social bird has been observed to visit a nest and feed other birds' babies.  

What is their conservation status?

The common grackles have been classified as a Near Threatened species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN Red List. Their population has declined in the past few years but human modifications on open lands have gradually helped the birds to restore their numbers. At present, their population trend is monitored and many measures have been taken to stop their decline.

Common Grackles Fun Facts

What do Common Grackles look like?

What Do Common Grackles Look Like

The common grackles are fierce-looking birds that resemble the species of brewer's blackbirds. They can, however, be differentiated by their size differences. The base plumage of this bird is black and the feathers have a glossy and iridescent sheen to them. They have pale yellow eyes and a pointed long bill which is black in color. The tail is long compared to the other blackbirds and keel-shaped. Around the head, neck, and breasts the adult common grackles have glossy purple. blue, or green feathers. They have three subspecies under them and they are categorized mainly based on their plumage color and places of occurrence. For example, the bronzed grackle has a brass-colored plumage and they occur to the west of the Rockies while the purple ones are found in New York. The common grackle male and female show some sexual dimorphism. The females are smaller in size and look duller than the males. While in flight, the females appear brown, without the iridescent purple or blue colors. The tail is also short and unlike in males, the females lack the keel shape of the tail. The juveniles also have brown plumage with dark brown eyes.

How cute are they?

The common grackles are a very aggressive and rude species and because of their arrogant nature, humans have a negative prejudice towards them, therefore, do not find them cute.

How do they communicate?

The bird communicates by visualizations and vocalizations. They are differentiated from other blackbirds by the distinctive and harsh common grackle sound or squeak.

How big is a Common Grackle?

The length of common grackles ranges -between 11-13 in (28-34 cm). They are larger in size than the brewer's blackbirds which have a size of 8-10 in.

How fast can a Common Grackle fly?

The speed of common grackles has not yet been determined.

How much does a Common Grackle weigh?

The average weight of the male common grackles is 4.3 oz (122 g) and that of a female is 3.3 oz (94 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and the female species of the bird are referred to as cock and hen.

What would you call a baby Common Grackle?

Baby common grackles are referred to as chicks or hatchlings.

What do they eat?

The common grackles eat almost anything they get. These opportunistic feeders are lazy foragers and they grab any kind of food dropped by unwary birds on the ground. They are omnivorous in nature. The common grackles diet consists of insects and vertebrates during the breeding season while in winter, they feed on grains, fruits, and seeds. They also eat small frogs, minnows, salamanders, mice, and small bats.

Are they dangerous?

Common grackles are considered to be dangerous for farm owners. They attack farmlands and destroy large amounts of crops. However, setting bird nets or getting rid of old trees might help in reducing the attacks and slowly get rid of the birds.

Would they make a good pet?

Common grackles are aggressive and stubborn birds. They are wild animals that cannot be domesticated easily. In many places, it is also illegal to pet a grackle.

Did you know...

The common grackles have the ability to interpret the magnetic field of the earth. This helps the bird to navigate.

Are Common Grackles bad?

Common grackles cannot be considered as one of the nicest birds in their class. They are infamous for their aggressive behavior towards other species. Sometimes they eat the eggs and nestlings of other birds. However, these invasive species are mostly renowned for raiding and destroying crops and farms worth millions of dollars. Currently, this bird is the most prominent agricultural pest in its home range. The old roosting sites of the common grackles and other blackbirds harbor a type of fungus called histoplasmosis. This fungus can cause respiratory diseases in humans that can result fatally.

What are Common Grackles good for?

Although common grackles are well known for their notorious behavior of destroying crops, they cannot be entirely villainized. These birds act as important pest control in these crop fields. Their main motive behind attacking the cornfields is to eat the worms that attack the corn sprouts and not the sprouts themselves. Therefore sometimes they also help the farmers in controlling the pest population.    

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including yellow warbler facts, or blue tit facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable common grackle coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

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