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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pipilo maculatus
POPULATION: 30 million
HABITAT: Forest edges, shrubs, thickets, brushy backyards, and parks.
The Spotted Towhee and its close relative, the Eastern Towhee, were once considered one species — the Rufous-sided Towhee — but were recognized as distinct species in 1995. One of the distinguishing features of the Spotted Towhee is the white spotting splashed over its wings and back. (The Eastern Towhee is dark-backed.)
The word “towhee” mimics the loud whistle of the Eastern Towhee. Although the Spotted Towhee retained this name after the species split, its call is actually more of a cat-like mew, reminiscent of a Gray Catbird.