The Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major), a large blackbird of the southeastern United States, was not distinguished from the Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) until the 1970s, but the two forms overlap on the coasts of Texas and Louisiana without interbreeding. The Boat-tailed Grackle is generally more closely associated with water, such as around marshes and beaches, although in Florida it may be found inland. These birds eat a range of foods, mainly taken from water, such as aquatic insects, snails, crayfish, crabs, tadpoles, frogs, and small fish, but also including terrestrial insects and the eggs and young of other birds. During some seasons, seeds and grains are an important component of the diet. Nesting is in colonies, generally near water. These birds are often very common within their range, which in recent decades has extended northward along the Atlantic coast to Long Island (New York, U.S.A.). The distribution extends southward through peninsular Florida and west along the Gulf Coast to southeastern Texas. There is generally little movement between seasons, although a few northern breeders may move south in the fall. The Boat-tailed Grackle is one of only about a dozen bird species that are endemic to the United States (i.e., found nowhere else in the world). (Kaufman 1996; AOU 1998)
- American Ornithologists' Union. 1998. Check-list of North American Birds, 7th edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
- Kaufman, K. 1996. Lives of North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
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