Field identification tips: The Spotted Towhee's (Pipilo maculatus) dark hood contrasting with white belly, red eyes, rusty-colored sides and dark back & wings with white spots make this bird unmistakable. Adult males have a black hood and generally brighter colors while females' and immature birds' colors are more muted. The similar Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), at one time thought to be conspecific with P. maculatus, lacks the white spots on the back & wings, and lives farther east.
Typical range: P. maculatus is typically found in the western portions of the North American continent, migratory in the Rocky Mountains and western Great Plains, and permanent residents in the more western states.
Habitat: P. maculatus is at home is dense brush and forest understory (including messy suburban yards) where a two-step fore-and-aft scratching in leaf litter is used to find its food. Winter food is primarily seeds and berries while breeding season's meal plan includes numerous types of invertebrates.