Spotted Towhee

Once grouped with its eastern counterpart in a species called the rufous-sided towhee, the Spotted Towhee now has its own scientific name.


Roland Jordahl
Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhee


Spotted TowheePannrose
Pannrose Spotted Towhee

Scientific Name: Pipilo maculatus.
Family: Sparrow.
Length: 8-1/4 inches.
Wingspan: 10-1/2 inches.
Distinctive Markings: Male has a black head, back and tail with a white belly, orange-red sides and multiple white wing marks. Female is similar, but has gray or brown accents instead of black.
Nest: Builds on or near the ground using leaves, stems, pine needles and more; lays two to six gray, white, pinkish or greenish speckled eggs.
Voice: Wide variety of songs, which typically feature high-pitched introductory notes followed by a trill. Also has a buzzy rapid trill.
Habitat: Old pastures, woodland edges and brushy backyards.
Diet: Insects, spiders, caterpillars, seeds, berries; sometimes small lizards or snakes.
Backyard Favorites: Oats or flaxseed scattered on the ground; suet.

Bird Song & Range Map

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

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Spotted 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.