Canyon Towhee

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image: CanyonTowhee.jpg

Common Name: Canyon Towhee

Scientific Name: Pipilo fuscus

Size: 8-9 inches (21-23 cm)

Habitat: United States Southwest and interior Mexico. Prefers underbrush or areas where there are thick layers of mulch.

Status: Not threatened, however habitat loss and it’s inability to adapt to urban settings are factors.

Diet: Insects and seed. Forages on the ground, scratching in a two-footed, backwards-scratching hop called a "double-scratch".

Breeding: Two to five eggs are laid in a nest in tree or shrub, but rarely on ground. Nest is a poorly constructed open cup of twigs and grasses, lined with hair, bark, or seed down.

Cool Facts: A resident of desert slopes and vegetated gullies, the Canyon Towhee is sensitive to human intrusions. It has been pushed back from urban and suburban expansion into more remote parts of the desert. Its bulky nest is made of twigs, grass and bark and placed in a bush or low tree near the ground. It runs on the ground like a large rodent and feeds by using both feet simultaneously to scratch up seeds and insects from the leaf litter.

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