Eastern Towhee

Silhouette TowheesTowhees

Eastern Towhee

Pipilo erythrophthalmus
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Passerellidae
Basic Description

A strikingly marked, oversized sparrow of the East, feathered in bold black and warm reddish-browns – if you can get a clear look at it. Eastern Towhees are birds of the undergrowth, where their rummaging makes far more noise than you would expect for their size. Their chewink calls let you know how common they are, but many of your sightings end up mere glimpses through tangles of little stems.

More ID Info
image of range map for Eastern TowheeRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Walk slowly along the edges of forests, thickets, and old fields. Listen carefully for the Eastern Towhee’s scratchy chewink call, its bright song, or simply any rustling the bird makes in dry leaves. Then lower your eyes to ground level and scan the leaf litter, looking for a scratching towhee or the bright white corners of the bird flashing its tail at you.

Other Names
  • Rascador Espalda Negra (Spanish)
  • Tohi à flancs roux (French)

Backyard Tips

Eastern Towhees are likely to visit – or perhaps live in – your yard if you’ve got brushy, shrubby, or overgrown borders. If your feeders are near a vegetated edge, towhees may venture out to eat fallen seed.

This species often comes to bird feeders. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

  • Cool Facts