The green-tailed towhee (Pipilo chlorurus) is a denizen of shrubby, dense habitats where it feeds on the ground. This relative of the sparrow scratches through the litter with both feet at once searching for seeds and insects.
Monotypic (males and females look alike), green-tailed towhees have olive upper parts and tails. Its head and underparts are grey with a whitish belly. The reddish crown, white loral (between the eye and the base of the bill) spot, white throat and black “mustache” stripe are distinguishing characteristics.
Green-tailed towhees winter in the mesquite deserts of the Southwest. Summer finds this bird in the sagebrush steppes, Great Basin and high deserts of the West.
This green-tailed towhee was photographed in Bueno Aires National Wildlife Reserve Arizona. Although green-tailed towhees summer in our area (Modoc County CA), Leonard and I have only seen them once locally – in a friend’s yard.