Anyone who has visited Mexico’s Riviera Maya real estate has probably heard the song of the Great-Tailed Grackle,which is one of the region’s most recognizable birds. These large,raucous black-hued birds flock to the area’s city plazas,alighting on trees in parks to entertain with their shrill whistles,clacks and shrieks.
Although they somewhat resemble the crows and ravens found in the U.S. and other parts of the world,the Great-Tailed Grackle is not related to either of these species,which cannot be found anywhere in the Yucatan. Their song can be downright ear piercing if you find yourself close to where they are roosting,and while the noises these comical birds make could hardly be described as melodic,they do have an impressive vocal range,which includes singing prettily if they so desire. In addition,the Great-Tailed Grackle has been known to mimic the sound of a siren or cell phone,and is also fond of chattering with other members of its flock.
Although they appear to be black in certain light,especially when seen in the shade or at dusk,feathers of adult males,who stand between 14 and 18 inches tall,will shine in hues of purple and dark blue-green in the sunlight. The birds have bright yellow eyes,while females and juvenile birds tend to display brown-hued plumage. The Great-Tailed Grackle gets its name from a large,wedge-shaped tail,which typically appears too large for its body and is often cocked from one side to the next.
Widespread and common across Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula,these birds are omnivores that eat grains such as corn and oats,as well as fruit,insects,worms,lizards and eggs. They have even been seen wading into shallow water to snatch a small fish,frog or tadpole,and mice are also regularly on the menu.
The range of the Great-Tailed Grackle includes open habitats throughout the region,from farms,to city lawns and parks. They also enjoy spending time at the local beaches and can often be found perched on palapa roofs,just waiting for you to drop a tidbit of food in the sand while dining.
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