Abert's Towhee

Melozone aberti





Code 4


Code 6



Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Solitary nester

Egg Color:

Blue white with dark brown speckling

Number of Eggs:

2 - 5

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

In trees or shrub.

Nest Material:

Forbs, bark pieces, leaves, and vines., Lined with dead grasses and mammal hair.





Abert's Towhee: Large, stocky, secretive sparrow with distinct black face, pale gray bill, gray-brown upperparts, paler gray-brown underparts and rust-brown vent. Tail is long and darker than upperparts with rust-brown undertail coverts. Sexes are similar. Juvenile underparts are paler, duller, and faintly streaked. May be difficult to spot because it perfers to stay well-hidden under bushes.

Range and Habitat

Abert's Towhee: Found primarily in the Colorado and Gila River valleys in Arizona and parts of California, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. Generally prefers desert riparian and desert wash habitats. Preferred habitat includes dense vegetation, including thickets of willow, cottonwood, mesquite, and saltcedar; also found in cities or suburbs in exotic plantings.

Breeding and Nesting

Abert's Towhee: Two to five blue white eggs with dark brown speckles are laid in a nest made of forbs, bark pieces, leaves, and vines lined with dead grass and mammal hair. Nest is built in tree or bush, usually 25 to 30 feet above the ground. Female incubates eggs for about 14 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Abert's Towhee: Eats seeds and insects. Scratches in litter and gleans from the ground and shrubs, often in shade.

Readily Eats

Cracked Corn, Millet, Sunflower


Abert's Towhee: Song is a series of 4 to 6 repetitive "peek" or "chip" notes, accelerating and dropping in pitch at the end, "chip, chip, chip, chip, chip, chee, chee, chee, chee, chee." Call is a sharp, thin slightly nasal "peek", often repeated.

Similar Species

Abert's Towhee: Canyon Towhee is found at higher altitudes, has brown cap and paler underparts.. California Towhee is browner overall with paler chin and throat, gray necklace, and pale eye-ring.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
Relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater. 
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X