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Aves - Neognathae - Passeriformes - Icteridae - Quiscalus - Quiscalus quiscula

Sternum (Breast Bone) of a Quiscalus quiscula (Common Grackle)


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Species Description
The Common Grackle is a common blackbird found in the open and semi-open areas across North America east of the Rockies. It is an omnivore, eating insects, berries, minnows, frogs, seeds and grain. It has a hard keel on the inside of the upper mandible, which is used to saw open acorns and other hard nuts. The Common Grackle is very gregarious, roosting in large flocks; its penchant for corn and large group size makes it one of the most significant agricultural pests, and the number one threat to corn, today. Not surprisingly, a group of grackles is called a “plague”. Grackles are also known to steal food from other birds, as well as kill and eat smaller birds and nestlings. The Common Grackle, like some other birds, is known to practice “anting”, where ants are rubbed along the feathers during preening. While the exact reason behind this activity is unknown (though ant defensive secretions are thought to help prevent skin parasites), Grackles have been observed to use citrus fruit, chokecherries and marigold blossoms in a similar fashion.
Skeletal Elements Available

Sternum (Breast Bone)
External Links
Animal Diversity Web
Encyclopedia of Life
Wikipedia Common Grackle Page

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