Greater Antillean Grackle (Quiscalus niger)

Greater Antillean Grackle


The Greater Antillean grackle (Quiscalus niger) is a grackle found throughout the Greater Antilles as well as smaller, nearby islands. Like all Quiscalus grackles, it is a rather large, gregarious bird. It lives largely in heavily settled areas. It is also known as the 'kling-kling' and 'chinchilín' in the Dominican Republic, and as a ‘chango’ in Puerto Rico. The 27 cm (11 in)-long male is glossy black with a large rudder-like tail; the 24 cm (9.4 in)-long female has a smaller tail and is similar in color, but less glossy than the male. The eye is yellow and is the only non-black body part. The Greater Antillean grackle is a generalist eater; it eats fruits, bread, plant matter, and both small vertebrates and invertebrates alike.

Distribution And Habitat

The Greater Antillean Grackle occurs in the Greater Antillean islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico (Jaramillo and Burke 1999, Raffaele and others 1998). It is a very common resident in Puerto Rico, including Vieques (Gemmill 2015) and Culebra. The Greater Antillean Grackle occurs mostly in lowlands and open areas including mangrove forest edges, pastures (Raffaele and others 1998), farms, and towns, but it avoids deep forests (Oberle 2018). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 955 records within 394 hexagons or 82 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 394 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 66 percent (261) of the hexagons, probable in 21 percent (81), and possible in 13 percent (52) (see map). Greater Antillean Grackle distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.

Greater Antillean Grackle Distribution

Breeding Habits

This species builds a nest made of grass and sticks (Oberle 2018), and breeds from February to September, with most breeding activity from April to August, according to previously published reports (Raffaele and others 1998). However, atlas results indicate that this 271Greater Antillean Grackle/Mozambiquespecies breeding season extends throughout the year, but it is most active from March to June (see chart). Results show that the Greater Antillean Grackle breeds within all ecological life zones but mostly within the subtropical moist forest life zone (64 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The Greater Antillean Grackle has a stable population within its distribution range, and it is listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2018). Locally, this species is very common and not listed under any threatened categories of PRDNER or USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Greater Antillean Grackle has a protected habitat in land of 11 percent or 1078 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (9398 km2). Note this area is larger than the total terrestrial area of the island because coastal hexagons and those hexagons covering small cays include a portion of water.