Abert's TowheeMelozone aberti

adult
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
adult
Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO
adult and nestlings
J. Hoffman/VIREO
Abert's Towhee

Description

8-9" (20-23 cm). Grayish brown above; slightly paler underparts, with buffy belly and tawny undertail. Black facial patch surrounds pale bill.

Voice

Call is a single bell-like note. Song resembles a rapid series of call notes.

Listen

song
call

Habitat

Along arroyos in desert thickets; associated with cottonwood, willow, and mesquite, although it is also found around farms, orchards, and urban areas.

Range

Resident in southern and western Arizona, parts of neighboring Utah, New Mexico, and California, southward into Baja California and Sonora in Mexico.

Discussion

This bird, while related to and closely resembling the California and Canyon Towhees, is paler, more secretive, and has a different song. The three do not interbreed, even though their ranges overlap.

Nesting

3 or 4 pale blue-green, with brown scrawlings mostly at wide end in a cup nest close to the ground in a bush or tree.

Similar Species

adult

Olive Sparrow

5 3/4" (15 cm). Unstreaked, dull olive green, with brown head stripes, buff breast, and whitish belly; no wing bars; like a small edition of the Green-tailed Towhee.

adult

Green-tailed Towhee

6 1/4-7" (16-18 cm). A ground-dwelling species, smaller than the other towhees. Rufous cap; olive green above; white throat and belly; gray breast. White lores and dark "mustache" stripe.

adult

California Towhee

8-10" (20-25 cm). Uniform gray-brown above and below, with buff or rust-colored undertail coverts.

adult

Canyon Towhee

8-10" (20-25 cm). Upperparts gray-brown, with paler buff throat, buff undertail coverts, and rusty crown. There is a dark spot in center of breast.

Vireo

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