The song is given only by male California Towhees and is made up of repetitions of the bird’s metallic chip note. Songs typically start with a few well-spaced notes that rapidly accelerate into a trill and then stop abruptly. The whole song typically lasts 1-2 seconds.
The most frequently heard sound from California Towhees is a clear, metallic chip, similar to the sound of a Northern Cardinal (and also to the California ground squirrel). Males and females may call intermittently or in a monotonous string of chips every couple of seconds. When birds are alarmed, the chipping rate may triple. Mated pairs often face each other and give a rapid series of squeals and squeaks; this call is an important part of reinforcing the pair bond.