Return of Bird of the Week: Carib Grackle

Carib Grackle Male, Northern Trinidad

(These photos were taken with WC’s first digital single lens reflect camera, an Olympus E-1. State of the art at the time, c. 2006, the photo quality is a little embarrassing by today’s standards. It makes WC want to go back to Trinidad with a better camera. Maybe someday.)

This is a grackle with a somewhat limited range, extending from the southernmost Caribbean Islands to northernmost South America. It’s smaller than most grackles, but at least as noisy as its congeners. It’s closest cousin, as you might guess, is the Nicaraguan Grackle. The male has a violet-green to violet-purple sheen on an otherwise black body. The eye is striking, a very pale yellow. Against the very dark bird, the eye color is striking.

Carib Grackle Female, Tobago

The female Carib Grackle is dark brown above, with a paler brown throat, chest and belly. She’s slightly smaller than the male as well. As you would expect on a multi-island species, there are a lot of subspecies for a bird with such a comparatively small range, as many as eight subspecies, in fact.

Carib Grackles are generalists, eating whatever is at hand. They seem to adapt readily to human-altered habitat, and tolerate a fairly high level of human disturbance. It’s regularly found in then highly urbanized Caracas, Venezuela, for example. The combination of generalist diet and human tolerance make it a species of Least Concern.

For more bird photographs, please visit Frozen Feather Images.