Eastern Towhee

When you’re watching for this songbird, look out below. The Eastern Towhee spends most of its time on the ground, whether it’s foraging or nesting.


Roland Jordahl
Eastern Towhee
Connie Etter
Eastern Towhee, female
Connie Etter
Eastern Towhee, female (L) and male (R)


Eastern TowheeRoland Jordahl
Roland Jordahl Eastern Towhee

Scientific Name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus.
Family: Sparrow.
Length: 8 inches.
Wingspan: 10-1/2 inches.
Distinctive Markings: Male has a black head, back and tail with white belly, orange-red sides and red or white eyes. The female’s coloring has a browner cast.
Nest: Builds nest of plant materials, string and cardboard near or on the ground; lays two to six gray eggs speckled with brown.
Voice: Musical with a slow song, “drink your teeeeee.”
Habitat: Old pastures, woodland edges and brushy backyards.
Diet: Insects, spiders, seeds, berries; sometimes small salamanders or snakes.
Backyard Favorites: Oats or flaxseed scattered on the ground; suet.

Bird Song & Range Map

Listen to the Eastern Towhee’s song and learn where to spot them!

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Eastern Towhee Bird SpeciesRange maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.