SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pipilo maculatus
The Spotted Towhee is a large, striking, long-tailed sparrow of western North America. It has a thick, pointed bill, short neck and a chunky body.
It is roughly the same size as the Robin, with both sexes measuring about 6.7 – 8.3 inches in length, with a wingspan of 11 inches and weight around 33 – 49 grams.
Males have jet-black upperparts and throat. Wings and back are spotted bright white. Flanks are warm rufous and belly is white.
Females look similar but are dark brown and gray instead of black.
CALL: Includes a cat-like mewing and other vocalizations.
SONG: It is kind of a poor man's version of the Eastern Towhee's famous "Drink Your Tea" song, although it typically skips the middle syllable. Sometimes the song may skip both of the first syllables, and consist solely of the trilling ending.
Insects, fruits and berries, seeds, nuts, occasionally small reptiles, amphibians, and snakes.
Prefers brush and thickets, which may include woodland understory, forest edges, shelterbelts and fence lines, riparian areas, or other areas with dense vegetation for nesting.
Breeds across north-western North America.
It is present in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia year-round.
It also resides in northern Arizona and the entirety of California except the southeast corner that borders Arizona.
Their nest is either on the ground or low in bushes. The female builds a bulky and sturdy cup-shaped nest with leaves, strips of bark, twigs, forb stalks and grasses.
It is lined with pine needles, shredded bark, grass and sometimes hair.
She lays 2 – 6 white, gray, green or pinkish eggs, spotted with reddish brown, purple or gray.
She incubates them alone for about 12 – 13 days.