Fun Spotted Towhee Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Spotted Towhee Facts For Kids

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If you are in North America and a twitcher, then you will make out the call of this beautiful wild sparrow-like species called a Spotted Towhee and enjoy marking the differences between Easter Towhee or Rufous-sided Towhee vs. Spotted Towhee and would be surprised to locate one of their hybrids.

The Spotted Towhee is a colorful bird with bright white spots and stripes on its black above. With attractive orange sides and white underside, one can spot this bird more by its song as its flanks camouflage the bird in dry leaves on the ground. YOu can locate them hopping in the leaf litter in the underbrush of the northern Great Plains, middle elevations of mountains, and plateaus. Pacific coastal lowlands and offshore islands also shelter them, while willows, sagebrush, chaparral, and brushy woods are their favorite.

The North American Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) sometimes migrate for forage and breeding grounds. Surviving on small insects and seeds and fruits, they hop in pairs or small groups. The male Spotted Towhees can be differentiated by their brighter plumage, though the female spotted Towhee is also lovely. Read on for Spotted Towhee fun facts for kids and adults.

If you like these facts about the Spotted Towhee, visit kestrel bird and painted bunting facts too.

Fun Spotted Towhee Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Insects, beetles, spiders, moths, acorn seeds, caterpillars, berries

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-5 eggs

How much do they weigh?

1.2-1.7 oz

How long are they?

6.7-8.3 in

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Upperside of the body: black or brown The underside of the body: white Flanks: red, orange-brown

Skin Type

Fur and feathers

What were their main threats?

Snakes, Rodents, Cats, Hawk

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Scrubland, Dry Upland Forests


North America









Spotted Towhee Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Spotted Towhee?

The Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)is also known as a large New World sparrow. The Spotted Towhee and Eastern Towhee are similar species and very similar to each other and also interbreed. Owing to bright rufous sides and white belly, both the North American birds are also known as Rufous-sided Towhee.

What class of animal does a Spotted Towhee belong to?

The scientific name of a Spotted Towhee is Pipilo maculatus, and it belongs to the Aves class. The bird is one of the Rufous-sided Towhee of the order Passeriformes, family Passerellidae. The species are hence known as perching birds and songbirds.

How many Spotted Towhees are there in the world?

The exact count of these birds is unknown, but these are widely found in abundance, and no conservation measures are required.

Where does a Spotted Towhee live?

Spotted Towhees live in the dry upland forests and woodland areas of North America. Since they forage under leaf litter, they are found in thickets or shrubby areas of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, southwestern Mexico, and southern British Columbia.

What is a Spotted Towhee’s habitat?

They build their nest in low shrubs in dry upland forests, great plains and live in the woodland areas with ample dry leaves on the ground, hopping around. They forage on small insects by noisily rummaging through dry leaves and can be found in forest edges, old fields, and shrubby backyards. During the breeding season, few of these species prefer the Coastal sage scrub of California for protection against predators.

Who do Spotted Towhees live with?

Spotted Towhees live in small groups composed of up to 12 birds. These birds are territorial though they don’t change their territory. The Towhees are loyal to their mates and stick together.

How long does a Spotted Towhee live?

The lifespan of a Spotted Towhee is about 10 years in the wild. They are not entirely migratory but fly around for forage and breeding according to seasons.

How do they reproduce?

Spotted Towhees reproduce by sexual reproduction. Once paired, they stick together and are loyal to each other—Towhees mate for life. During the breeding season, during spring and summer, the male Towhee spends most of its time singing to attract its mate. The female builds the nest under a shrub on the ground or low bushes not more than five feet above the ground. They use bark strips, leaf stems, dry leaves, rootlets, and sometimes animal hair to build its nest of four-inch upper cap and two-inch lower cap one and a half inches deep. The whole process takes five days.

A female lays two broods consisting of three to five eggs in a season. The male provides for the female during the incubation period, which lasts for about 15 days. The hatchlings are altricial (which means they are blind, naked, and helpless). The little ones grow fast and leave the nest in 10 days but stick around the nest with their family for a month.

What is their conservation status?

According to IUCN Redlist, this species’ conservation status is Least Concern. They are widely found in their habitat and can also be seen in the region’s suburban areas.

Spotted Towhee Fun Facts

What do Spotted Towhees look like?

The two-footed Spotted Towhee belongs to the order Passeriformes, family Passerellidae. These birds have black upper bodies with white spots and rufous sides, generally orange in color with white corners. The bottom side of the bird is white with extensive white wing markings. The eyes of the bird are strikingly red. Females are grayer than males. The flanks camouflage the bird in its habitat.

Spotted Towhee, the best time to watch it is during spring.

How cute are they?

They are cute two-footed birds that hop around and perch on low shrubs. They industriously scratch in the leaf litter under dense thickets for forage. They move in a backward direction while doing so. Most often, they are spotted because of their songs.

How do they communicate?

Towhees are also known as songbirds. They are difficult to spot as they camouflage in their surroundings but can be located because of their trill phrased calls. Pairs communicate by soft, lisping call. A catlike mew call shows the bird is in some distress or otherwise. They spend most of their time singing at length during the mornings. In response to other towhees or when disturbed, Towhees flick and flash their large white cornered tails.

How big is a Spotted Towhee?

Spotted Towhee is a large sparrow. They have a long, dark fan-shaped tail with a wingspan of 11 in. On a sunny day, it likes to rest on the grass by spreading its feathers and loves to wash them in the morning dew from leafy vegetation.

How fast can a Spotted Towhee fly?

The exact speed of this species is not available. The birds hide in the shrubs by walking away for some time and return to forage. They most often prefer to be on the ground, hopping around, sometimes perching on small shrubs.

How much does a Spotted Towhee weigh?

A Spotted Towhee weighs between 1.2-1.7 oz.

What are their male and female names of the species?

No specific terms are given to the males and females in this species. However, a female Towhee is lovely and looks gray brownish, which is duller than the male plumage, which has dominant black. A group of about 12 birds is called a tangle or a teapot.

What would you call a baby Spotted Towhee?

A baby Spotted Towhee is not known by any specific known. It is altricial at birth, and both the parents participate in its upbringing before it is independent to live on its own.

What do they eat?

Towhees are omnivorous and their diet varies with season. During the breeding season, they prefer protein-rich food. They love caterpillars and beetles and munch on moths and true bugs. This bird doesn’t mind tossing spiders, snails, and millipedes in its mouth. Berries, fruits, and many seeds are also part of their diet.

Are they dangerous?

The term dangerous doesn’t suit their nature. They are birds of small built little larger than a sparrow singing songs and happy hopping around.

Would they make a good pet?

Spotted Towhees are found in abundance in the wild and generally are not kept as pets. They have not been domesticated. The reason could be that wild birds are not harmful and need quite a large area to hop around and scratch the leaf litter, which is a significant part of their lifestyle. Moreover, it is illegal to own this bird species as a pet as it is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Did you know...

The Spotted Towhee range is across Southwestern North America. From Canada, California, to Guatemala to the south.

Oregon Towhee was the older name to the present Spotted Towhee.

Among the North American birds, it is a famous and familiar one.

Types and names of Towhees

There are 21 types of this bird species. Towhees love to spend their time on the ground and hide in the thickets and widgets. Because of this reason, they are called ground robin and swamp robin. They are famous for their song-like calls hence are called songbirds. It spends its time perching on the shrubs getting its other name, perch bird. Owing to its rufous sides, it is also known as the Rufous-sided Towhee. The Spotted Towhee call has been interpreted as a 'drink of tea' call and its sounds such as 'chew-ink' and 'toe- hee', form the basis of its common name.

How to attract Spotted Towhees

Attracting them in your backyard is easy and requires little effort. Letting the species live in natural habitat is preferable to enjoy their company. Lower dense shrubs, quality seeds, and a ground-level birdbath with a dripper are all that are needed to attract these species in the backyard and spending pleasant mornings listening to their songs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including lyrebird, or night heron.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our spotted towhee coloring pages.

Written By
Kidadl Team

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