Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

Eastern Towhees are a common summer resident of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. Listen for the male’s “drink your tea-a-a-a” song and the sound of towhees scratching around in the underbrush, searching for food. Males have a striking color pattern, with black above and on the breast, rufous sides and a white belly. Females look similar, but are brown where the males are black.


Habitat: These large sparrows are shrubland birds, and prefer open habitats like the inland pine barrens. They typically construct their nest on the ground, however they will also build their nests among shrubs and vines.  


Cool facts:
Eastern Towhees are short-distance migrants, moving from the Albany Pine Bush to the southeastern United States to overwinter.
Eastern Towhee nests are often parasitized by the Brown-headed Cowbird. Female Cowbirds lay their eggs in Towhee nests, then leave them for the towhee to raise at the expense of their own chicks.

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