Green-tailed Towhee - Pipilo chlorurus

Length 6.2-7.0 in (15.9-17.8 cm)
Wingspan 6.5 in (16.5 cm)
Weight M: 1 oz (28.3 g), F: 0.9 oz (24.9 g)
Clutch Size 3-5
Chicks at birth Altricial
IUCN Conservation Status Least Concern

The Green-tailed Towhee is a large Emberizidae sparrow. It is also the smallest Towhee. They have a gray-white breast and face with a white throat, a rusty cap, a black malar strip and a greenish back and tail. Their eyes are dark brown with a dark conical bill. Juveniles are streaked with brown and white and have a yellow wash on their wings. They may be in decline in some of the areas that they are found.

Green-tailed Towhees prefer dense chaparral and scrub covered slopes and are found near or on the ground. This can make it difficult to find them and get a good picture. Hopefully, next time I see this bird, I can improve on my photos.

(For more information)

Diet: Green-tailed Towhees forage for food (insects, spiders, seeds and fruit) by scratching both legs backward at the same time (double-scratching).

Courtship: In spring, the males will sing from the top of shrubs. They are monogamous.

Nesting: Green-tailed Towhees usually hatch 2-5 (usually 4) white eggs speckled with brown. The nest is on or near the ground and is a deep and thick-walled cup made up of twigs, grasses, hair, etc. Both parents feed the young.

Habitat and Range: Green-tailed Towhees are found throughout the western U.S. and Mexico where there is dense chaparral and thickets.

Vocalization: Series of chip notes accelerating to a trill.

Plumage/Molt: No information.

Migration: Winters in Mexico and the southwest. Migrates to parts of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and other western states for breeding.

Tongue/feet: From a picture on the web, the tongue looks triangular shaped with the tip pointed.


  • Beadle, David and J.D. Rising, Sparrows of the United States and Canada: A Photgraphic Guide,Rising, Academic Press, 2002
  • Alsop III, Fred J. , Birds of Texas,DK Publishing, Inc., 2002
  • Bird Friends of San Diego County, Accessed June, 2012

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