Fledgling Common Grackles

How can both these birds be ID’d as fledgling Common Grackles?

I’m not sure where to get an answer to this question, since both photos are not the same bird. I am convinced both are Common Grackles, but are both fledglings? I understand a fledgling is a bird that has just “fledged,” i.e. come out of the nest.

The first one, brown and fully feathered, is posted at https://inaturalist.ca/observations/120007651 and does not look so much like it just came out of the nest. Here’s my note regarding it:

I’m not sure why it’s brownish. I compared with Rusty Blackbird but this bird’s tail is wedged; Rusty Blackbird’s tail is shorter, not wedged. See https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Rusty_Blackbird/species-compare/67364561

Someone told me it’s a fledgling. It was seen on June 2.

The second one, seen June 4, looks more like a fledgling, like it could have emerged from the nest very recently. Any insights?

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Immature birds can mature very quickly. You said that the first was seen on June 2nd and the other on June 4th. So it could be the same bird just maturing or it could be that they are different individuals that fledged at different times.


The problem with that argument is that to me the brown bird seen on June 2 looks more mature (better feathered) than the blackish bird seen on June 4.

With blackish feathers, glossy purple tones on the head, a straw-yellow eye and a well-developed beak, the bird from June 4 looks like an adult. When they are fledgelings, they have brown eyes, messy brown plumage, and a pale fleshy region at the corners of their mouth. The bird looks a bit disheveled, but not a fledgeling.
Your bird from June 2 has a nice covering of plumage, with wing feathers that look fully grown, and the eye is turning light, so would be better to call “immature” rather than “fledgeling”. We can’t really see the corners of the mouth, but doesn’t look like any sign of the fleshy gape. The line where a “fledgeling” stops being a “fledgeling” and is just a juvenile is a bit arbitrary, but usually is when the bird has finished growing their first set of feathers and is independent.


Thank you for this reply. I had forgotten about posting the question but I was still not satisfied with the ID. I have done some more research and conclude that the brown bird from June 2 is a female adult, bronze form (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Grackle/photo-gallery). The person who told me it was a fledgling agreed with me when he saw this link.

As for the blackish bird of June 4. Today someone sent me a link with many young Common Grackles in various stages of development. After closely examining all those young birds, some of them little more than nestlings, it makes sense to me to think of this bird as an adult despite its messy plumage.

Again, thanks for addressing this. No one had yet helped me with this specific bird and it was a “loose end” for me.

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