Another in my series of reintroductions using the new camera. . .
Great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) are ubiquitous around these parts. They represent year-round inhabitants of Texas, and usually in large numbers that explode in winter.
The largest of all grackle species, they get their name from one very important fact: they have very long tails, the length of which is greater than that of any other black-colored bird.
Raucous, unruly, loud, and generally considered a pest, I find this species both fascinating and noteworthy. I’m just weird that way, I guess, though I’ve explained less flippantly before much of my fascination with these avian beauties.
A male great-tailed grackle runs over the frozen ground bathed in
morning light. Notice how the early sunlight brings out the iridescent
color of its plumage. Oh, and check out that tail!
A male great-tailed grackle prances along the shore of White Rock Lake
in search of food. The yellow of its eyes differentiates it from its
closest cousin—along with its size.
A female great-tailed grackle higher in the tree shows
she has the same marvelous tail, albeit attached to
a brown body. Notice how much smaller she is than
her male counterparts further below.
A male great-tailed grackle scours the frozen grass for
breakfast. His frost-encrusted beak and yellow eye paint a
magic picture at sunsrise. And did anyone else notice the
claw attached to that foot?
For a bit of scale on this avian behemoth: a male and a female great-
tailed grackle join several rock doves (a.k.a. common pigeon; Columba livia)
enjoying a breakfast handout. He stands behind the whole scene while she
bends down on the right to sample the offering. These are indeed large
birds, he much more so than she.
[the larger versions of these photos show even more detail, including the ice covering the dry grass in the fourth image]