When a hawk gives chase, the towhee’s flashing tail-feathers draw the predator’s attention. The Spotted Towhee has a loud, geographically varied call and song that can be heard by human ear from up to 750 feet away (Davis 1958). And when they fly, their tails flash white. California Towhees sometimes hide in the shrubbery, where they may be noticed mainly by their sharp callnotes and the squealing duets of mated pairs. The Spotted Towhee forages mostly on the ground, and even builds its nest on the ground, or close to it. Breeding in Middle America, North America: sw Canada to w Guatemala; can be seen in 4 countries. For many years it was considered to belong to the same species as the unspotted Eastern Towhees found east of the Great Plains, under the name of Rufous-sided Towhee. However, the Spotted Towhee’s song sounds similar to the well-known “drink-your-tea” song of its eastern cousin. The spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus) is a large New World sparrow.The taxonomy of the towhees has been debated in recent decades, and until 1995 this bird and the eastern towhee were considered a single species, the rufous-sided towhee.Literature before 1995 referred to the spotted towhee as a rufous-sided towhee that resides in the western United States. ... Download this story 2MB. A Spotted Towhee calls. How they sound: Their song starts with a few short introductory notes and is followed by a fast trill that sounds like a piece of paper stuck into a fan. Some birders can identify a bird by the call or song it makes. Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) bird call sounds on dibird.com. As with the “towhee” call itself, this song also shows geographical variation across the continent. Along the Pacific seaboard from southern Oregon to Baja, this plain brown bird is a common denizen of brushy places, from wild chaparral hillsides to the borders of gardens and city parks. Spotted Towhee bird photo call and song/ Pipilo maculatus (Pipilo maculata) Look for the ruby-red eye that sparkles from its black head. Although the Spotted Towhee retained this name after the species split, its call is actually more of a cat-like mew, reminiscent of a Gray Catbird. The last of the big three towhee sounds is the most seasonally timely: their spring song. The word “towhee” mimics the loud whistle of the Eastern Towhee. Spotted Towhees like to eat right off the ground and do so by using a backwards-scratching hop to uncover food. The Towhee uses its call to communicate with its mate and announce disturbances and alarm in its territory. A widespread towhee of the West, sometimes abundant in chaparral and on brushy mountain slopes. (Compare the calls below.) Both birds, the Eastern Towhee [Song and call of the Eastern Towhee] and the Spotted Towhee of the West [Song and call of the Spotted Towhee], sport a black or dark brown hood and back. Its mewing call can be heard from the underbrush, as it scuffles in the leaf litter for food. Although the Spotted Towhee retained this name after the species split, its call is actually more of a cat-like mew, reminiscent of a Gray Catbird. The word "towhee" mimics the loud whistle of the Eastern Towhee.
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