|Conservation status||Widespread and very common, and has been expanding its range toward the west in recent decades.|
|Family||Blackbirds and Orioles|
|Habitat||Farmland, towns, groves, streamsides. Common in many kinds of open or semi-open country. Often forages in farm fields, pastures, suburban lawns, cattle feedlots, marshes. Nests and roosts in places with dense trees (especially conifers) close to open areas, as in groves, woodland edges, parks.|
Forages mostly by walking on ground or wading in very shallow water; also up in trees and shrubs. When not nesting, usually forages in flocks. Sometimes steals food from Robins or other birds. Has been seen killing an adult House Sparrow. Will come to feeders for various items. When eating dry bread crumbs, may soak them in water first.
4-5, sometimes 2-6. Pale blue, blotched with brown. Incubation is by female only, 12-14 days. Young: Both parents feed nestlings, bringing them mostly insects. Young leave the nest about 16-20 days after hatching. 1 brood per year, sometimes 2.
Both parents feed nestlings, bringing them mostly insects. Young leave the nest about 16-20 days after hatching. 1 brood per year, sometimes 2.
Omnivorous. Feeds on insects, including beetle grubs, grasshoppers, caterpillars, many others; also spiders, millipedes, earthworms, and such diverse items as crayfish, minnows, frogs, lizards, eggs and young of other birds, and small rodents. Vegetable matter also important in diet, may be majority in winter; includes berries, seeds, waste grain, acorns.
Typically nests in small colonies of 10-30 pairs, sometimes to 100 or more. In courtship, male fluffs out body feathers, partly spreads wings and tail, and gives short scraping song; also postures with bill pointing straight up. Nest site is often well hidden among branches of dense tree or shrubs near water, less than 20' above ground; sometimes much higher, or very low in marsh growth. Unusual sites include hole in tree or hollow stump, in lower part of active Osprey nest, or inside old building. Nest (built by female) is bulky open cup of weeds, grass, twigs, usually with some mud added; inside lined with fine grass.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates in flocks. Present all year in much of range. In the North, migration is quite early in spring and fairly late in fall.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsClucks; high-pitched rising screech, like a rusty hinge.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Common Grackle
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Common Grackle
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.