See the Towhee

Another bird that I consider to be extraordinary is the Eastern Towhee. They are birds that keep a low profile, are pacific and mind they own business as the folks say. These are  birds that I’ve seen in my backyard since the beginning when I moved to Georgia.

The Eastern Towhee is a large and striking species of sparrow. Adults have rufous sides, a white belly, and a long dark tail with white edges. The eyes are red, white for birds in the southeast. Males have a black head, upper body, and tail; these parts are brown in the female. Juveniles are brown overall. Eastern Towhees of all ages and both sexes generally are unmistakable and are not known to co-exist with the similar western spotted towhee.

Eastern towhees primarily eat on the ground, although they also glean from vegetation. When foraging on the ground eastern towhees use a scratching technique where both feet kick back simultaneously.

Eastern towhees eat a variety of plant and animal matter. In literature reviews, eastern towhees are reported to eat seeds and fruits, several invertebrates, and occasionally small amphibians, snakes, and lizards. Reviews report eastern towhees foraging at feeders. Reviews show that animal matter makes up a larger proportion of the diet in the breeding season. Insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, ants, wasps, bees, moths and caterpillars are also part of their diet, depending of the season.

“I do not see them often but I hear them and I know that they are probably watching me, they are naturally shy.”


Photo Gallery


Text and photographs © HJ Ruiz – Avian101

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22 thoughts on “See the Towhee

  1. Fantastic photos! I love these birds. There familiar “Drink your tea” call and foraging. One my “days off” during second hike of A.T. was a morning of watching a Towhee huntin’ and eatin’ in the nearby shrubs. Much fun!

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