The Eastern Towhee and the Spotted Towhee were formerly
considered separate races of the same species, the Rufous-Sided Towhee (a name
which is no longer used). The two are very similar, but differ in range,
as the Spotted Towhee is mostly a western U.S. bird while the Eastern Towhee is
an eastern U.S. bird. The Eastern Towhee also lacks the Spotted Towhee's
white spots on its back and wings. The two species may interbreed where
their ranges overlap.
Habitat: Prefers brush and
thickets, usually as the understory to a forest/woodland.
Diet: Insects, fruits and berries, seeds, nuts,
occasionally small reptiles, amphibians, and snakes.
Behavior: Eastern Towhees prefer to forage on the
ground, scratching through leaf litter for food. They will also
clamber through shrubs and trees in search of food.
Nesting: June and July
Breeding Map: Breeding bird survey map not available, as the Eastern Towhee was only recently
split from the former Rufous-Sided
Towhee. That breeding map primarily shows the other member of the split, the
Migration: Northern populations (including those in South Dakota) migrate south in the
Bird Feeders: Will attend feeders for suet and some
Conservation Status: Has declined in the northeastern U.S.
South Dakota "Hotspot": Newton
Hills State Park in Lincoln County usually is very reliable for finding
Eastern Towhees in the summer months. Look through the brush along
Sergeant Creek, near the horse and camping area on the northeastern side of
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Eastern Towhee"
eNature.com: Eastern Towhee
Photo Information: May 13th, 2001 - Newton Hills
State Park, South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Eastern Towhee photos.