A medium-sized (7-8 ½ inches) songbird, the male Eastern Towhee is most easily identified by its black head and body, black breast, pale belly, and rufous flanks. Female Eastern Towhees are similar but paler, with the black replaced by brown. Most individuals have red eyes, although birds from Florida and Georgia tend to have white eyes instead. The Eastern Towhee breeds across much of the eastern United States and southern Canada west to Nebraska and Saskatchewan. In winter, many northern birds move south to the southern part of this species’ range as well as east Texas, Oklahoma, and southern Louisiana, where this species does not breed. Southern birds generally migrate short distances, if at all. Eastern Towhees breed in a variety of woodland habitats, particularly in heavily-vegetated undergrowth near forest edges or clearings. This species utilizes similar habitats in summer as in winter. Eastern Towhees mainly eat a variety of plant and animal foods, including fruits, berries, and insects. In appropriate habitat, Eastern Towhees may be seen foraging for food on the ground or, less frequently, in the canopy. Birdwatchers may also listen for this species’ song, a trilled “drink-your-teeeeee” or “towhee towheeeee,” from which this species derives its name. Eastern Towhees are primarily active during the day.
- Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ibc.lynxeds.com/species/eastern-towhee-pipilo-erythrophthalmus.
- Greenlaw, Jon S. 1996. Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/262
- Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
- Pipilo erythrophthalmus. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://xeno-canto.org/browse.php?query=Pipilo+erythrophthalmus.
- eBird Range Map - Eastern Towhee. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ebird.org/ebird/map/eastow.
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