Eastern Towhee

Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Emberizids (Emberizidae)

Code 4

EATO

Code 6

PIPERP

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Eastern Towhee has a large range, estimated globally at 3,200,000 square kilometers. It is native to the nations of North America as well as Guatemala and prefers forest and shrubland ecosystems, though it has been known to reside in degraded former forests. The global population of this bird is estimated to be 11,000,000 individuals and it does not appear to meet population decline criteria that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. The current evaluation status of the Eastern Towhee is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Eastern Towhee: Large sparrow with black upperparts, hood and upper breast, rufous flanks, and white underparts. Wings are black with white markings, and tail is long and black with white corners. Short, bounding flight, alternates several rapid wing beats with wings pulled to sides.


Range and Habitat

Eastern Towhee: Breeds from southern Saskatchewan east to Maine and south to Louisiana and Florida. Spends winters across much of eastern U.S. north to Nebraska and southern New England. Preferred habitats include undergrowth and brushy edges of open woods. Northeastern birds favor young jack pines or second-growth oak forests; southern birds seek scrub oak or palmetto.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"drink your teeee!!!", "chewink"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Eastern Towhee was considered the same species as the Spotted Towhee until 1995. Where the two forms meet in the Great Plains, hybrids occur.
  • It has red eyes across most of its range, but the towhees in Florida and southern Georgia have straw-colored eyes. Eye color is variable from southern Alabama to southeastern North Carolina. This pattern may reflect the fact that the pale-eyed form, which was isolated when Florida was an island during the Pleistocene era, is now coming back in contact with the red-eyed form of the mainland.
  • The name "Towhee," an imitation of this bird's call note, was given in 1731 by the naturalist and bird artist Mark Catesby, who encountered it in the Carolinas.
  • A group of towhees are collectively known as a "tangle" and a "teapot" of towhees.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Eastern Towhee

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Samira Belous

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X