The Great-tailed Grackle is a noisy bird, chattering away in large groups in trees of the Tucson area. It also hangs around the mountain areas where streams and water is available, including the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.
The Great-tailed Grackle is a large blackbird with purple iridescence to the feathers. The eyes are yellow, which stand out against the blackish-purple body. The legs and beak are also black. The tail is quite long, thus the ‘great tail’. This bird prefers to walk, but will fly if needed. It feeds on insects, small fish, snails and even other birds and their eggs. It’s varied diet also includes seeds and berries.
The Great-tailed Grackle was thought to be the same species as the Boat-tailed; but it is now considered to be a separate species. The Grackle has been expanding its territory over the years, becoming more widespread.
Reference: The Nature of Madera Canyon by Douglas W. Moore, Friends of Madera, 1999; Whatbird.com