Eastern Towhee

Pipilo erythrophthalmus




New World Sparrows and Towhees (Passerellida)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Creamy white or gray

Number of Eggs:

2 - 6

Incubation Days:

12 - 13

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Sticks, rootlets, grass, bark, and leaves., Lined with soft grasses and animal hair.


Northern birds migrate



Eastern Towhee: Large sparrow with black upperparts, hood and upper breast, rufous flanks, and white underparts. Wings are black with white markings. Tail is long and black with white corners. Female is similar but is brown instead of black. Juvenile is dark-streaked brown overall with pale chin.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Eastern Towhee: Two to six creamy white or gray eggs are laid in a cup nest made of sticks, rootlets, grass, bark, and leaves, and lined with soft grass and animal hair. Nest is built on the ground under a bush or brush pile. Incubation ranges from 12 to 13 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Eastern Towhee: Eats insects, acorns, seeds, and berries; forages on the ground or in low vegetation.


Eastern Towhee: Song is a clear, whistled "drink your teeee" with the "teee" trilled. Call is "chewink."

Similar Species

Eastern Towhee: Spotted Towhee has wing-bars and white spots on back.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The area of the face just below the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X