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Black Birds

JEROME JACKSON
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Blackbirds in the New World are members of the Family Icteridae and include not only some black birds such as our cowbirds, grackles, and Red-winged Blackbirds, but also more colorful birds such as our Baltimore and Orchard orioles, and Eastern Meadowlarks -- each of which has a slender pointed bill. Even among the blackest of blackbirds, females have plumages that are more “earth-toned”. Use of the name “blackbird” for this group is well established, but perhaps unfortunate in that many other birds are all or mostly black. Common and Fish crows, for example, are solid black – but are in the same family as Blue Jays and Florida Scrub Jays. Common Grackles and Boat-tailed Grackles are sometimes confused, but Boat-tailed Grackles are always larger and males have a distinctly long tail that has outer tail feathers raised higher than inner ones – creating its “V” shape. Florida Boat-tailed Grackles characteristically have dark eyes whereas those farther north have light-colored eyes more similar to the eyes of Common Grackles.