Eastern Towhee

Genus:  Pipilo
Species:  erythrophthalmus

Corel Images © Copyright 2012 - American Beaver

Eastern towhees are ground sparrows. They spend most of their time foraging for seeds, insects and fruit on the ground or on low shrubs. Eastern towhees scratch the ground with their feet to uncover food buried under leaves or dirt. They have a thick beak that helps them break open seeds.

Description:  Eastern towhees are about 8 inches long with a 10 inch wingspan. At first glance, male and female eastern towhees look very different. The males are black, while the females are brown. But at closer inspection, the males and females share several similar markings. Both male and female eastern towhees have white chests, orange sides and yellowish rumps. 

Many times, you will hear an eastern towhee before you see one. They sing with a musical "drink-your-teaeeee". The "tea" part of the song is a rolling trill.  Eastern towhees also have a "shewink" shorter call.

Habitat and Range: Eastern towhees prefer shrubby woodlands, fields, and scrublands. They like a lot of ground cover to search for food. Eastern towhees live year-round in the Southeast and Midwest. They migrate to the Northeast and the Great Lakes region in the summer.

  • Fun Fact
    Eastern towhees can have red or white eyes.

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