Boat-Tailed Grackle

Quiscalus major
Range Map

Boat-Tailed Grackles are difficult to distinguish from Great-Tailed Grackles. While their native vocalizations are quite different, each species will mimic the other. On the upper Texas Gulf Coast, both species are present year round, though some Boat-Tails will range a little further south to the Central Texas Gulf Coast.

Science recognizes four subspecies of Boat-Tailed Grackle:

  • Q. m. torreyi lives along the Atlantic coast from New York to Florida, and has yellow eyes.
  • Q. m. westoni lives in Florida and has dark eyes.
  • Q. m. alabamensis lives on the gulf coast of Alabama and Mississippi, and has yellow eyes.
  • Q. m. major lives along the Gulf coast from Mississippi to Texas, and has dark eyes.

The Texas birds (Q. m. major) I met in 2021 had brown irises, which differentiate them from the Great-Tailed Grackles sharing territory with them on the Gulf coast in Texas and Louisiana. All Great-Tailed Grackles have yellow irises. Other than the subspecies Q. m. major, no Boat-Tailed Grackles have territories that overlap with the Great-Tailed Grackle, so we aren’t as likely to be confused.

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