Nov 202013

Abert’s Towhee (ABTO) is predominantly an Arizona bird that’s bigger than a sparrow and smaller than a robin.

It’s range is the southern half of Arizona following the lower Colorado River and Gila River basins.

  We have a good number of them living in the trees surrounding our yard which is located southeast of Phoenix.

Here are 12 different towhees I photographed over a 2 hour time span.

Abert’s vent area is illustrated as orange in field guides, but none of my birds show much color there.

I photographed this bird south of Tucson.

ABTOs are not sexually dimorphic thus mom and dad look the same.

Abert's Towhee ABTO

Abert’s Towhee ABTO

Here is one from my backyard.

Abert’s is one of the friendlier birds in the yard.  If you sit still they will actually get quite close.

Abert’s Towhee is multibrooded (has multiple clutches per season) and it’s nesting ranges from March through July (personal observation).

Two towhees were seen to lay six clutches in one season (Finch, 1984).

Here is an Abert’s Towhee nest.

And when the kids are hungry.

Both mom and dad take care of the kids.

A group of towhees is called a tangle or a teapot.

Abert’s is a ground feeder and easily navigates the underbrush.

I have purposefully piled up tree branches and trimmings for habitat where the towhees love chasing each other.

Brown-headed Cowbird — Chapter 2

Bronzed Cowbird — Chapter 3

Eggs in Parasitized Nest — Chapter 4

Hatchlings — Chapter 5

  One Response to “Brood Parasites
Chapter 1 — Abert’s Towhee”

  1. Fascinating facts about towhees. I did not know they were called a tangle or a teapot and I’ve never seen this variety of towhee. I’m going to try piling up some branches and see what happens in my yard.
    Thanks, Matt,

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