Slender-billed Grackle

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Slender-billed Grackle

Quiscalus palustris

ListedJune 2, 1970
DescriptionA medium-sized perching bird.
FoodInvertebrates and fruits.
ReproductionLaid eggs in a cup-shaped woven nest attached to emergent reeds.
ThreatsHabitat loss.


The slender-billed grackle is closely related to the great-tailed grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus ), and is sometimes considered as a subspecies of it. The males have a lustrous dark-purple color, with purplish and greenish iridescence, a bright yellow eye, and a tail equal to almost half of its body length. The female is colored a pale brown and lacks such a long tail.


Male slender-billed grackles proclaimed their breeding territory by noisy displays. During the non-breeding season these birds aggregated into noisy, local, non-migratory flocks. A cup-shaped nest woven of grass was attached to emergent stems of reeds in a marsh.


The slender-billed grackle inhabited freshwater marshes.


The slender-billed grackle was a locally evolved (or endemic) species that only occurred in the vicinity of the upper Rio Lerma in Mexico.


The decline of the slender-billed grackle was caused by the loss of most of its wetland habitat through agricultural and urban development. In addition, around the beginning of the twentieth century the great-tailed grackle expanded its range to encompass that of the slender-billed grackle. Interbreeding and competition with the invasive species with may have contributed to the population collapse of the slender-billed grackle.

Conservation and Recovery

There are no known surviving individuals of the slender-billed grackle and the species has been declared extinct by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). This species is classified as Endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Instituto Nacional de Ecología
Av. Revolución, 1425
Col. Campestre, C.P. 01040, Mexico, D.F.


Burke, Peter, and Alvaro Jaramillo. 1999. New World Blackbirds: The Icterids. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Peterson, A. T. 1998. "The distribution and type locality of the extinct Slender-billed Grackle, Quiscalus palustris." Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 118:119-121.