Eastern Towhee

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The Eastern towhee (Pipilo erythropthalmus) is our latest backyard visitor. This one is a female eating safflower seeds. She somewhat resembles a robin except for the white belly.

also known as Rufous-sided towhee

The male towhee is quite striking with black where the female is brown, but both have rufous sides. In older bird guides they are listed as Rufous-sided towhees, a name I still prefer.

These year-round Kentucky residents are usually found in brushy areas where they scratch for insects and seeds, and we only occasionally see them in the yard. With  snow covering the ground I expect they are looking for other sources of food.

Their distinctive summer song, “drink your teeeeeeeeee” is one of my favorite bird sounds.

8 thoughts on “Eastern Towhee”

  1. I’ve never seen one of these in my yard, but at least now I’ll know what it is should one pay me a visit. Love the word “rufous”!
    On another topic: this morning I finished reading THE SOUND OF A WILD SNAIL EATING–an utterly delightful book. Thanks for recommending …

    1. Glad for you. Looks like you are at the northern edge of its range and I’m guessing it somewhat uncommon there? They are striking birds and always a treat when we see them in the backyard.

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