Boat-tailed Grackles are among the most commonly seen birds in the wetlands, but the lovely brown females are very often overlooked, while their flashy (and boisterous!) male counterparts demand our attention.
The hardworking female Grackle builds her nest by herself in the low recesses of the grassy marsh plants, and she does a great job keeping the family fed, too.
“Boat-tailed Grackles eat arthropods, crustaceans, mollusks, frogs, turtles, lizards, grain, seeds, fruit, and tubers.” (All About Birds).
The male Boat-tailed Grackle is nearly twice as large as the female, (What Bird) and very showy in his glossy blue/black plumage.
The male has a reputation for being a bit of a Casanova. “The Boat-tailed Grackle has an odd mating system, called “harem defense polygyny,” that has much in common with deer and other big game. Females cluster their nests in a small area safe from predators, and males compete to see which one gets to defend and mate with the entire colony,” (All About Birds).
Making the most of their captivating purple to blue-green iridescence, they “display conspicuously with much wing-fluttering and harsh repeated calls,” (Audubon.org). You can’t miss them in the marsh! To get the idea, watch this noisy little video clip posted by earthanimals101: