Green-tailed Towhee

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pipilo chlorurus

Green-tailed Towhee

The Green-tailed Towhee is a small but chunky songbird with a big head, stocky body and longish tail. Its bill is thick and sparrow-like. It is the smallest towhee but is still one of the larger members of the American sparrow family Passerellidae.

Adults are 7.25 inches in length, with a wingspan of 10 inches and weight of 29 grams.

They are grayish birds with olive-yellow wings, back and tail. The head is strongly marked with a bright rufous crown, white throat and a dark mustache stripe.

Juveniles are streaky and brownish, but typically show distinctive yellow tinge to wings and tail.

CALL: A distinctive mewing call that is thin, high, and rises in pitch. Both sexes use this call to stay in contact while foraging, upon leaving the nest, or while in flight. When alarmed, they make a sharp, repeated "tick" note.

SONG: Males sing a long, jumbled series of clear whistles and trills lasting about 2.5 seconds. A singing male at the height of the breeding season may sing up to 12 songs per minute.

Primarily feeds on insects and seeds. They also occasionally feed on fruits and berries.

Found in a variety of semi-open habitats, primarily in the mountains of the West. Preferred habitats are areas of low dense shrubby cover with a few scattered taller trees.
They can tolerate human presence, and sometimes benefit by the low second- growth vegetation that grows after the clearing of a forest.

Its breeding range covers most of the interior Western United States, with a winter range in Mexico and the southern edge of the Southwestern United States.

The female builds a deep cup-shaped nest with twigs, plant stems, and bark, and lining it with grasses, fine stems, rootlets and hair, sometimes from horses, cows, and porcupine.
It is concealed at about knee height in very dense vegetation, in the low branches of sagebrush, snowberry, chokecherry, raspberry, juniper, oak, and other shrubs and small trees.

The female lays 2 - 5 pale blue eggs, speckled with reddish brown.
Incubation last for 11 - 13 days, by female.


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