Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhees are striking birding with reddish undersides, and white spots on its wings. Look for them on the forest floor as they scratch through the leaf litter searching for seeds and insects.

Spotted Towhee, photo by Mick Thompson

Size & Shape: 7 3/4″. Large, striking sparrow.

Color: Dark hood, upper body contrast with rufous sides, white belly, bold white spots on back, white outer corners on black tail. Dark conical bill, red eye.

Behavior: Forages mostly on ground for seeds, insects, fruits. Scratches ground vigorously with both feet while feeding. Does not flock, although found with other sparrows. Eats spilled grain on ground below bird feeders.

Habitat: Open woods with dense, shrubby understory, thickets, overgrown fields.

Field Marks: Black hood and white belly, red eye, rufous flanks and undertail, prominent white spots and streaks on wings and back.

Songs & Calls: Listen here.

Fun Facts: Early in the breeding season, male Spotted Towhees are dedicated songsters, spending 70 to 90 percent of their mornings singing to attract a mate. Once they find their match, they shift their focus and only spend about 5 percent of their time singing.

Latin Name: Pipilo maculatus