SPOTTED TOWHEE

SPOTTED TOWHEE(Pipilo maculatus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Spotted Towhee male has a black head, neck and throat. Back and wings are black with white spots. Tail is long and black, with white outer feathers. Under parts are white with rufous flanks. Conical bill is black, eyes are red, and legs and feet are grey. Female is similar but with grey instead of black. Bird length is around 18 cm (7 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Pipilo-maculatus
NAME: ‘Towhee’ is an onomatopoeia for one of the bird’s calls. ‘Spotted’ (as well as Latin species name ‘maculatus’) refers to the bird’s spots on the back. Latin genus name ‘Pipilo’ means ‘to chirp’.
HABITAT: Open forests.
DIET: Insects in summer, seeds, acorns, berries in winter.
NESTING: Nest is built on the ground or in a shrub. Three or four creamy eggs are laid, incubated by female. Nestlings fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in southern Canada from Saskatchewan to British Columbia, also in north central USA. Year-round population is found in southwest British Columbia, western USA and in Mexican forests. Wintering grounds include mainly south central USA and north west Mexico.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotted_towhee – /media/File:Pipilo_maculatus_map.svg
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far. See note below on bird vagrancy.
CONSERVATION: Widespread and common, not at risk.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Eastern Towhee, Black-headed Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole
REFERENCES: American Bird Conservancy (Spotted Towhee) http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABPBX74080 (Montana Field Guide)
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/spotted-towhee
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Spotted_Towhee/id
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotted_towhee
http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/102/overview/Spotted_Towhee.aspx
http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/spotted_towhee
https://www.nps.gov/chis/learn/nature/spotted-towhee.htm (Channel Islands National Park, California)

Spotted Towhee - Mt. Charleston, NV - June 2017 - photo by Hamma085
Spotted Towhee – Mt. Charleston, NV – June 2017 – photo by Hamma085
Spotted Towhee - Skagit Wildlife Area, WA - Mar. 2012 - photo by Walter Siegmund
Spotted Towhee – Skagit Wildlife Area, WA – Mar. 2012 – photo by Walter Siegmund
Spotted Towhee - Stanley Park, BC - Mar. 2010 - photo by ZeWrestler
Spotted Towhee – Stanley Park, BC – Mar. 2010 – photo by ZeWrestler

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