Spotted Towhee

Scientific Name: Pipilo maculatus

Diet: Spotted Towhees eat many insects in summer such as weevils, lady bugs, grasshoppers, crickets, moths, bees, caterpillars, and other arthropods. In winter Spotted Towhees switch to eating mostly seeds and plant food like acorns, berries, wheat, corn, poison oak, and oats.

Habitat: The Spotted Towhee can be found in thickets, brushy forest edges, chaparral, and suburban areas, and if there are shrubs and bushes in your yard, Spotted Towhees are likely visitors.

Sound: The Spotted Towhee’s song is a two notes followed by a buzzing trill, or a flute-like drink-your-tea. The call is a harsh mewing sound ascending in pitch at the end.

Nesting: The nest is made from bark, grass, and leaves, and it is lined with pine needles and hair. Spotted Towhees place their nests on or near the ground. If the nest is placed on the ground it is put in a dip so that the rim of the nest is at the same level as the ground. Spotted Towhees don’t usually put their nests in thickets, but they are still well concealed at the base of a log, a clump of grass, or a shrub. Spotted Towhees incubate 2 to 6 eggs for 12 to 14 days. The chicks leave the nest after 9 to 11 days. Spotted Towhees usually lay one brood.

Description/field marks: The Spotted Towhee has a black tail, back, wings, and head. The throat and breast are also black. Unlike the Eastern Towhee (a similar looking species) the Spotted Towhee has white spots on its wings. They have rufous sides, and white undersides. On the underside of the tail there are two white circles which you can see when this towhee hops around, and Spotted Towhees have red eyes. The females are duller.

Behavior: Spotted Towhees are ground foragers. They scruff in the leaves and dirt with both feet to uncover seeds and bugs to eat.

How to attract: To attract Spotted Towhees put out a seed feeder. Since Spotted Towhees are ground feeders it is a good idea to sprinkle some seed on the ground. Place your feeder near shrubs because that is where Spotted Towhees normally are.

Spotted Towhee

A Spotted Towhee at my seed feeder

Spotted Towhee

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