Abert’s Towhee

The Abert’s Towhee (Pipilo aberti) is a bird of the family Emberizidae, which is currently threatened by cowbird nest parasitism and habitat loss in its small range along the U.S. state of Arizona’s borders with California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Mexico.

This bird is common in brushy habitats and deserts but requires some effort to spot. One way to coax the bird out into the open is to attract it with feeders filled with cracked corn on the ground.

These birds are easily recognizable by their long tails, dark faces and overall brown plumage. They are related to Sparrows and Juncos but are actually more similar to Thrashers in appearance. They can sometimes be confused with California Towhees, but their dark faces easily set them apart.

These birds are often seen foraging among dense brush for seeds. They scratch at the ground like Quail and will sometimes dig up and eat grubs.

The name of this bird commemorates the American ornithologist James William Abert (1820-1897).