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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Male Rufous-Sided Towhee

The rufous-sided towhee is about seven inches in length. It has red-brown eyes, long black tail feathers and a small pointed black bill. The male rufous-sided towhee has a black head, neck and shoulders, a white chest and rust-red wings and sides. The female has the same color pattern as the male, but where he is black she is a dark brown.

The rufous-sided towhee breeds from British Columbia east to Maine and south to California, Louisiana, Florida and Guatemala. It winters in the south from British Columbia, Nebraska and southern New England.

The rufous-sided towhee lives in thickets and at the edges of brushy woodlands.

The rufous-sided towhee scratches under leaves looking for food. Nuts, seeds and fruits make up most of its diet. It also eats some insects.

The female makes a nest of weeds, leaves, bark and stems on or near the ground in a well-covered area. Sometimes the males brings materials for the nest. The female lays two to six eggs. The male sometimes brings the female food during incubation. The female incubates the eggs. The chicks hatch in a little under two weeks and both parents feed them. The chicks fledge when they are 10 to 12 days old. The female usually has two broods a year.

Rufous-sided towhees have regional accents! Depending on where they live, the towhee's call will vary. Birds in the east sound nothing like birds in the west.

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