Eastern Towhee

Pipilo erythrophthalmus

About This Animal

SIZE: 7 inches

RANGE: Eastern US

HABITAT: Dense thickets and brambles in clearings and edges of woods

DIET: Seeds, insects and berries

ON EXHIBIT: Cove Forest and Delta Swamp in River Journey

The male has a black head, throat, back and tail set off by a red eye and a dark beak.  The flanks are rusty red with a white belly. The female is brown where the male is black and has a brown eye. This bird is mostly a resident in its range and does not migrate very far.  It is named for its call, which sounds like “towhee.”  They are often seen on the ground near backyard feeders scratching for food.

Eastern towhees are protected by the Migratory Bird Act and their populations are stable. The Tennessee Aquarium has a pair in the Delta Swamp and Cove Forest and they have bred in both exhibits.