Spotted Towhee Breeding and Nesting Habits

Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by naime

The Spotted Towhee is a beautiful bird that is found throughout western North America. This bird is known for its striking plumage and its unique vocalizations. In this article, we will explore the breeding and nesting habits of the Spotted Towhee.

The Spotted Towhee, also known as the Rufous-sided Towhee, is a medium-sized bird that belongs to the family Emberizidae. The male Spotted Towhee has a black head, back, and tail, with white spots on its wings and a rust-colored side. The female is similar but has a brown head instead of black.

Spotted Towhees are found in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, shrublands, and suburban areas. They are non-migratory birds, meaning that they stay in the same area year-round.

Breeding and Nesting Habits

Breeding Season

The breeding season for the Spotted Towhee typically begins in April and lasts until July. During this time, the male Spotted Towhee will establish and defend a territory, which he will use to attract a mate.

The male will court the female by performing a variety of displays, including puffing out his chest, spreading his wings, and hopping around on the ground. If the female is receptive, the male will feed her and perform a courtship dance

Nesting Habits

After the male and female have paired up, they will begin to build a nest. The nest is typically constructed on the ground, in a dense shrub or tree, or in a low tree branch. The nest is a cup-shaped structure that is made out of twigs, grasses, and other plant material. The female will lay 2-6 eggs, which are white with brown spots.

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The female will incubate the eggs for 12-14 days, while the male will bring her food. Once the eggs hatch, both parents will take turns feeding and caring for the chicks.

Nesting Success

The Spotted Towhee has a relatively high nesting success rate, with up to 80% of nests successfully producing young. However, there are a number of factors that can impact the nesting success of the Spotted Towhee, including predation, habitat loss, and climate change.

Parental Care

The Spotted Towhee parents are very devoted to their young. They will protect the nest from predators and will continue to feed and care for their chicks even after they have fledged.

Once the chicks have fledged, they will remain with their parents for several more weeks as they learn to forage for food and develop their flying skills.

Threats and Conservation

The Spotted Towhee is not currently considered a threatened species. However, like many other bird species, it faces a number of threats, including habitat loss, predation, and climate change.

To help protect the Spotted Towhee and other bird species, it is important to conserve and restore their habitat, reduce the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


The Spotted Towhee is a beautiful and unique bird that has adapted to a variety of habitats throughout western North America. Its breeding and nesting habits are fascinating and provide insight into the complex lives of birds.

By understanding and appreciating the breeding and nesting habits of the Spotted Towhee, we can better protect and conserve this species and the ecosystems in which it lives.

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How can I attract Spotted Towhees to my backyard?

You can attract Spotted Towhees to your backyard by providing a mix of shrubs and trees, as well as bird feeders with seeds and suet

Are Spotted Towhees good singers?

Yes, Spotted Towhees are known for their unique and beautiful songs. The males in particular have a variety of vocalizations that they use to communicate with each other and attract mates.

How long do Spotted Towhees typically live?

Spotted Towhees have an average lifespan of about 3-4 years in the wild, although they can live up to 7 years in some cases.

Do Spotted Towhees migrate?

No, Spotted Towhees are non-migratory birds and do not typically undertake long-distance migrations. They will stay in the same area year-round.

Can Spotted Towhees be kept as pets?

No, it is illegal to keep Spotted Towhees as pets in most countries. Additionally, keeping wild birds as pets can be harmful to the birds and is not recommended.

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