grackle, common name applied to some members of the New World family Icteridae, which also includes blackbirds, orioles, meadowlarks, cowbirds, and others. The plumage of the purple, or common, grackle of the Atlantic coastal region is black with metallic hues, iridescent in the sunlight. It feeds on grain and harmful insects, but it is a cannibalistic nest robber. Grackles invade cities and roost in huge flocks. The bronzed grackle, which interbreeds with the purple, is found further inland and W to the Rocky Mts.; in the South are found the Florida and boat-tailed grackles, in Texas and Mexico the great-tailed grackles, or jackdaws. Grackles are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Icteridae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.