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Spotted Towhee

Pipilo maculatus


dark brown head and back, red sides, white breast and white dots?? on wings


parks and byways


Oops - a male

A female

Gordon Dietzman
Gordon Dietzman 9 years ago

phredshome, I think we are headed in the same direction on the ID. At one time, ornithologists recognized the eastern and spotted towhees as two separate species, then they changed their mind and decided that those two species were really just one species--the rufous-sided towhee. Now the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction and once again and most newer field guides again consider these two distinct species.

To complicate matters there has been a move--although not accepted yet--to help distinguish these two species by renaming the spotted towhee as the western towhee to describe its geographical range in contrast to the eastern towhee. The naming of birds (both common names and scientific names) appear to be undergoing some discussion, probably due to less emphasis on physical and behavioral characteristics and more emphasis on genetic relatedness. It does complicate things for the rest of us a lot...grin. How does one keep up with new findings? I certainly can't....

phredshome 9 years ago

Rufous-sided Towhee
pipilo erythrophthalmus

Gordon Dietzman
Gordon Dietzman 9 years ago

I think there is a move to rename this bird to "Western Towhee."

Spotted by

Oregon, USA

Spotted on Feb 22, 2012
Submitted on Feb 22, 2012

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