Spotted Towhee

Bird of the Month: Spotted Towhee

By Hugh Jennings

PC: Mick Thompson (Spotted Towhee)

PC: Mick Thompson (Spotted Towhee)

Scientific Name: Pipilo maculatus

Length 7 - 8.5 in

AOU Band code SPTO

The name for the western version of this bird has been changed to spotted towhee.  The eastern version will remain the rufous-sided towhee. 

The bird is 7 - 8 ½" long.  It is a common resident of brush, woods, coastal forest, farms, and gardens.  The male's black upperparts and black hood contrast with his chestnut sides and white underparts.  White wing patches and white-cornered tail are conspicuous in flight.  The western, spotted towhee is known by the white above, and two white wing bars.  The "tow-wheee" call sounds almost like a cat.  Towhees like various weed seeds, raspberries, and insects.