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Description of the Green-tailed-towhee


The Green-tailed Towhee has a gray head with a rufous crown, greenish upperparts, wings, and tail, a gray breast, and a white throat.  Length 7 in.  Wingspan 10 in.

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Photographs © Alan Wilson.


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Sexes similar.

Seasonal change in appearance



Fall immatures resemble adults, but have grayer backs.


Green-tailed Towhees inhabit brushy areas of mountains, including stream sides.


Green-tailed Towhees eat insects and seeds.


Green-tailed Towhees forage on the ground, scratching in leaf litter.


Green-tailed Towhees breed across much of the western U.S. They winter the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. The population appears to be stable.

Fun Facts

Like other towhees, Green-tailed Towhees hop-scratch in the leaves using both feet.

Vagrant Green-tailed Towhees occasionally are found in the eastern U.S. during fall.


The song consists of several notes followed by trills.  A "mew" call is also given, as is a buzzy flight call.


The Green-tailed Towhee’s nest is a cup of grass, twigs, bark, and weeds and is lined with finer materials. It is placed on the ground or low in a shrub.

Number: Usually lay 3-4 eggs.
Color: Pale blue with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 12 days and fledge at about 11-12 days, though remaining dependent on the adults for some time.