Eastern Towhee

The Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) is a large sparrow with rufous sides, a white belly and a long dark tail with white edges. The eyes are red (white for birds in the southeast). Males have a dark head, upper body and tail; these parts are brown in the female.

The taxonomy of the towhees has been under serious debate in recent decades, and formerly this bird and the Spotted Towhee were considered a single species, the Rufous-sided Towhee, sometimes called a chewink.

Their breeding habitat is brushy areas across eastern North America. They nest either low in bushes or on the ground under shrubs.

Northern birds migrate to the southern United States.

There has been one record of this species as a vagrant to Western Europe; a single bird in Great Britain in 1966.

These birds forage on the ground or in low vegetation. They mainly eat insects, acorns, seeds and berries.

The call is “Drink your teeeee” – the word “towhee” imitates this call.