Carib grackle

Carib grackle

Carib grackle

Quiscalus lugubris

The Carib grackle (Quiscalus lugubris ) is a New World tropical blackbird, a resident breeder in the Lesser Antilles and northern South America east of the Andes, from Colombia east to Venezuela and northeastern Brazil. There are eight subspecies, of which the most widespread is the nominate subspecies (Q. l. lugubris ) of Trinidad and the South American mainland. This subspecies was introduced to Tobago in 1905 and is now common there.


The adult male Carib grackle is 27 cm (11 in) long with a long wedge-shaped tail, although the latter is not so long as other grackles. Its plumage is entirely black with a violet iridescence, its eyes are yellow, and it has a strong dark bill. The adult female is 23 cm (9.1 in) long, with a shorter tail and brown plumage, darker on the upperparts. Young males are shorter tailed than adult males and have some brown in the plumage. Young females are very similar to the adult females.

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The seven island subspecies differ from the nominate one in size, plumage shade (especially in the browns of the females), and vocalisations.

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Carib grackle habitat map
Carib grackle
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Habits and Lifestyle

The Carib grackle is a highly gregarious species, foraging on the ground for insects, other invertebrates, small fish, small frogs, lizards, or scraps. It is also known to catch small bats in the air. It can become very tame and bold, entering restaurants to seek food, normally feeding on leftovers. It will form groups to attack potential predators, such as dogs, mongooses or humans, and at night it roosts colonially.

Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

Mating Habits

The breeding habitat is open areas, including cultivation and human habitation. This is a colonial breeder, with several deep, lined cup nests often being built in one tree. Two to four whitish eggs are laid. Incubation takes 12 days, with a further 14 days to fledging. This species is sometimes parasitised by the shiny cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis ), but is quite successful at rejecting the eggs of that species.



1. Carib grackle Wikipedia article -
2. Carib grackle on The IUCN Red List site -
3. Xeno-canto bird call -

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