Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee
(Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

Order:  Passeriformes
Family:  Passerellidae

Photo by Alberto [CC NC 2.0]

Eastern Towhee Information

Length:  7 - 8.5"

Habitat:  Brushy woodland edges, open woodlands with shrubby understory, brushy clearings such as overgrown fields and pastures, thickets, shrubby parks.

Diet:  Insects such as caterpillars, ants, and beetles; spiders, snails, weed seeds, grass seeds, acorns, small fruits and berries.

  Song and calls of the Eastern Towhee

  Eastern Towhee Nest with Eggs

Additional Information

Eastern Towhee
Taxonomy, description, distribution, behavior, breeding, habitat, food habits and conservation status. Includes photos and range map. (From Wikipedia)

Female Eastern Towhee

Female Eastern Towhee

By Ken Thomas

Eastern Towhee
Identification Tips

  • Conical bill
  • Red eye (white in southeastern birds)
  • Rusty sides
  • White belly
  • Buffy undertail coverts
  • White primary bases and tertial edges
  • Long tail with white outer tail feathers
  • Male has black head, back, wings and tail- brown in female
  • Juvenile (Summer) heavily streaked, brown above and buffy below
  • Frequently feeds on the ground where it noisily scratches for food
  • Formerly conspecific with Spotted Towhee

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Eastern Towhee

(Image credit: USGS)

Range in New England

The Eastern Towhee breeds throughout the region, with the exception of northern Maine. During breeding season, it is found in greater abundance in the southern New England states than in the northern ones.

In New England, this bird is found during the winter in Connecticut, Rhode Island, parts of Massachusetts, and along the coasts of New Hampshire and Maine. See the eBird maps below for more details.

Range Map from eBird
Eastern Towhee Range Map

Abundance Map from eBird
Eastern Towhee Abundance Map

Christmas Bird Count Map
Historical CBC Map from USGS