California Towhee

Melozone crissalis

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Emberizids (Emberizidae)

Code 4

CALT

Code 6

PIPCRI

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The California Towhee is native to the United States and Mexico. This is a terrestrial bird that has a range of nearly 400,000 square kilometers. The global population of the California Towhee is believed to be nearing 5 million individual birds. As a result of its fairly large range and population, the California Towhee has been downgraded from a previous rating of Lower Risk to a current rating of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

California Towhee: Large sparrow, uniform brown-gray body, faintly streaked underparts, buff throat bordered with dark streaks. Tail is long with cinnamon-brown undertail coverts. Pink-brown legs and feet. Short flights with rapid beating wing strokes alternating with wings pulled briefly to sides.


Range and Habitat

California Towhee: This species is a resident in coastal areas and foothill chaparral habitats ranging from southern Oregon, along much western California, and throughout Baja California. Its other preferred habitats include shady underbrush, open woods, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and suburban gardens.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"chink", "tseeee"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • California Towhees are highly territorial and will often battle their own reflections in windows or other reflective surfaces.
  • First named as a separate species in 1839, they were combined with Canyon Towhee in 1886. Studies of their mitochondrial DNA has recently resulted in them being considered a full species once again.
  • They forage on the ground, scuffing the dirt with both feet at once in a fast, hopping motion.
  • A group of towhees are collectively known as a "tangle" and a "teapot" of towhees.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for California Towhee

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Santiago Cornejo

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X