The avian genus Quiscalus contains seven of the 11 species of grackles, gregarious passerine birds in the icterid family. They are native to North and South America.

Common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Icteridae
Genus: Quiscalus
Vieillot, 1816
  • Quiscalus major
  • Quiscalus quiscula
  • Quiscalus mexicanus
  • Quiscalus nicaraguensis
  • Quiscalus niger
  • Quiscalus lugubris
  • Quiscalus palustris (extinct)

The genus was named and described by French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1816.[1] The type species was subsequently designated as the common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) by English zoologist George Robert Gray in 1840.[2][3] The genus name comes from the specific name Gracula quiscula coined by Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus for the common grackle.[4] From where Linnaeus obtained the word is uncertain, but it may come from the Taíno word quisqueya, meaning "mother of all lands", for the island of Hispaniola.[5]

The genus contains six extant species and one extinct species:[6]

Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
Quiscalus major -Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area, Florida, USA -male-8.jpg Quiscalus major Boat-tailed grackle Florida and the coastal Southeastern United States
Quiscalus-quiscula-001.jpg Quiscalus quiscula Common grackle North America
Quiscalus mexicanusMPCCA20061226-0567B.jpg Quiscalus mexicanus Great-tailed grackle northwestern Venezuela and western Colombia and Ecuador in the south to Minnesota in the north, to Oregon, Idaho, and California in the west, to Florida in the east, with vagrants occurring as far north as southern Canada
QuiscalusTenuirostris.jpg Quiscalus palustris Slender-billed grackle endemic of central Mexico, namely Valley of Mexico and Toluca Valley (extinct around 1910)
Thirsty (8387794451).jpg Quiscalus nicaraguensis Nicaraguan grackle Nicaragua and northernmost Costa Rica
Quiscalus niger -Ciego de Avila Province, Cuba-8 (3).jpg Quiscalus niger Greater Antillean grackle the Greater Antilles
Quiscalus lugubris.jpg Quiscalus lugubris Carib grackle Colombia east to Venezuela and northeastern Brazil


  1. ^ Vieillot, Louis Jean Pierre (1816). Analyse d'une Nouvelle Ornithologie Élémentaire (in French). Paris: Deterville/self. p. 36.
  2. ^ Gray, George Robert (1840). A List of the Genera of Birds : with an Indication of the Typical Species of Each Genus. London: R. and J.E. Taylor. p. 41.
  3. ^ Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, ed. (1968). Check-list of Birds of the World. Vol. 14. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 187.
  4. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Vol. 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 109.
  5. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 328–329. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  6. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Oropendolas, orioles, blackbirds". IOC World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 4 September 2019.

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