Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
Above and below: A comparison of Bronzed and Purple Grackles in my yard in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (12/20/2009). Our area hosts a wintering flock of marauding Common Grackles, which often holds a few Bronzed Grackles. Bronzed Grackle (Q. q. versicolor) is the subspecies that breeds generally west of the Appalachians and is the less common migrant and wintering subspecies in Maryland. I have been awaiting an opportunity to photograph the two species in ideal light to show the striking differences in plumage iridescence. Today finally provided just such an opportunity. The first three images show our year-round subspecies, Purple Grackle (Q. q. stonei). Note the green iridescence on the head and extensive purple on the back and belly. The overall iridescence often looks rainbow-colored.
Below: Bronzed Grackle. The following images illustrate the striking plumage differences in ideal light. Note the distinctive blue iridescence on the head and the strong bronze coloration on the back and underparts. These bronzy areas are consistently bronze-colored and do not generally appear rainbow-colored as in Purple Grackle.
Below: Purple Grackles in our yard in Pasadena, Maryland (4/27/2012).
Below: Another Purple Grackle in our yard - Pasadena, Maryland (4/29/2012).
(No added color saturation!)
Below: A Common Grackle in my backyard near Fort Smallwood, Maryland (5/16/2007).
Below: A juvenile Common Grackle still begging for food from its parents - our yard in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (7/8/2007).
Below: A nesting Common Grackle in Oakland, Garrett Co., Maryland (5/22/2009). Identifying breeding Common Grackles to subspecies seems to be tricky in far western Maryland.
Below: A female Common Grackle in our yard in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (7/8/2007).
Below: A Common Grackle in Washington, D.C. (2005).
Below: A Bronzed Grackle (Q. q. versicolor) in our yard in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (10/26/2008). This is the subspecies that breeds generally west of the Appalachians that is the less common migrant and wintering subspecies in Maryland. It was my first of the year, and my earliest sighting of the subspecies in Maryland so far.
Below: A Common Grackle takes a dip in Berlin, Maryland (5/11/2011).
Below: An immense flock of blackbirds over Jug Bay, Maryland (11/21/2009).