SCIENTIFIC NAME: Melozone crissalis
The California Towhee is a large and plainly marked ground-sparrow that shows no sexual dimorphism. It is a native to the coastal regions of western Oregon and California in the United States and Baja California Sur in Mexico.
It is a large sparrow, with short rounded wings, long tail and thick, seed-cracking beak.
Both sexes measure about 8.3 - 9.8 inches in length, with 11.4 inches wingspan and weight ranging from 37 - 67 grams.
They are dull brown overall, with light rust undertail covert feathers and buff or rust-colored streaks at the throat.
Both males and females are essential identical in appearance.
CALL: Consists of a single-note sound that different people hear as “seet”, “tsip”, “cheet”, “cheenk” or “peenk”.
SONG: Consists of a long repeating series ended with a trill.
Feeds on seeds and insects. They also eat berries such as elderberry, coffee berry, and poison oak, acorns, and garden produce like peas, plums, and apricots.
They may also eat spiders, millipedes, snails and eat millet, among other seeds, at feeders.
Found in a variety of brushy habitats, including coastal scrublands, riparian thickets, dry chaparral, brushy forest forest edges, and urban parks.
They are also found in small backyards and neighborhood parks of lowland California towns.
The female builds a bulky cup-shaped nest with sticks, grasses and strips of bark, lined with fine grasses, animal hair and plant down.
The female lays 2 - 5 pale blue-white to creamy white eggs sparsely spotted or blotched with dark brown or purplish-black.
The female alone incubates the eggs for 11 - 14 days.