© Lorenzo Calcaño
© Edwin Munera
© Gil Ewing
© Ryan Terrill

Velvet-fronted Grackle Lampropsar tanagrinus

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Slim, medium-sized blackbird closely associated with water. Plumage is entirely black with iridescent sheen; note dark eyes. At close range, note rather short bill and diagnostic patch of short, dense feathers on forehead. Farther away, note habitat, social habits, and vocalizations. Found in flooded habitats including coastal swamps and riverine forest. Flocks rove through forest, often descending to ground at the water's edge, probing a variety of substrates in search of food while vocalizing constantly. Song is regionally variable and consists of grating, creaking, and sharp whistled notes; low chucking calls are similar to those of many other blackbirds. Distinctive if seen well; distinguished from other grackles by dark eyes, and from male Shiny Cowbird by habitat (usually) and longer bill and tail.