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Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee
Photo Information
Copyright: Billy C Banks (K9madtex) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 122 W: 67 N: 278] (1022)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-02-18
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 5D, Canon 70 - 200 f2.8L IS USM, Canon 72mm UV Haze
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-02-19 16:21
Viewed: 3457
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Check out the claws on this guy. I have found it very hard to get a good photo of him. He darts out from under cover just long enough to grab a few seeds and then he's gone. I have one other good shot I'll post later where you can really see his claws. It's easy to see why some believe they could be descendants of dinosaurs.

Pipilo maculatus

A familiar bird of scrubby habitats, the Spotted Towhee was formerly considered the same species as the Eastern Towhee. The two forms hybridize on the Great Plains.
Cool Facts

Watch a Spotted Towhee feeding on the ground; you'll probably observe its two-footed, backwards-scratching hop. This "double-scratching" is used by a number of towhee and sparrow species to unearth the seeds and small invertebrates they feed on. One Spotted Towhee with an unusable, injured foot was observed hopping and scratching with one foot.

The Spotted Towhee hybridizes with the Eastern Towhee where their ranges meet in the Great Plains. It also hybridizes with the Collared Towhee where their ranges meet in Mexico.

Twenty-one different subspecies of Spotted Towhee are recognized, three on islands off the Pacific Coast. The race from Isla Guadalupe off Baja California is extinct. The small race on the island of Socorro off Baja California and the larger race on Santa Catalina Island off southern California are vulnerable to extinction because of their restricted ranges. The Santa Catalina form formerly was found on San Clemente Island, but disappeared from there by 1976.


* Size: 17-21 cm (7-8 in)
* Weight: 33-49 g (1.16-1.73 ounces)
* Medium-sized songbird.
* Head, back, wings, and tail dark (black in male, female paler).
* Chest and belly white.
* Sides and flanks rufous.
* White spots on wings and back.
* Two white wingbars.
* Long tail black with white outer tail feathers and white at outer corners.
* Bill dark, short, and thick.
* Eyes red.


bahadir, eqshannon, rcrick, bobcat08, uleko, kebapci, jaycee, NinaM, angybone, Adanac has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • kjpweb Gold Star Critiquer [C: 326 W: 86 N: 1084] (4788)
  • [2008-02-19 16:46]

Woah - you did great! Color is spot on and you nailed the detail! Kudos! Cheers, Klaus

Hello Billy,
A perfect shot with excellent details, vivid colours, nice faraming. TFS. Regards,

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2008-02-19 18:45]

Really nice shot of the Towhee. Great colours, very sharp image, fine details. See what you mean by the claws, they look like a hawks. Super photo!!

Hello Billy,
What a awesome pair of claw!
This Towhee has been captured well with good sharpness, original colour and details !
a good and useful notes!
many thanks for sharing

A very darn good picture...you are definitely not the kind of serviceman I knew as a youngster...although I did work for the Walter Reed newspaper in my last days before discharge! Your pictures show more than talent.. they show concern...and it show well here!

Hey Billy,
Really nice work on this Spotted Towhee, excellent light, stunning colours, beautiful eye catch, nicely framed as well, all the best Cheers Rick :)


Great image of this towhee,
I was able to get a few shots in AZ,
Great job and don't you just love the eyes,


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-02-20 1:39]

Hello Billy,
What a great capture of this beautiful and interesting bird. Great focus on the eye and fine details as well as colours. You show those long claws very well and I like the composition. Very good note too.
Many thanks and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-02-20 8:10]

Hi Billy,

I have never seen one of these here - only Canyon Towhees which are a drab grey. Nice shot of this with wonderful colors. I love the eye - that is a bright orange. Nice pose on the tree.


  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-02-20 16:18]

That picture is so alive, Billy! The light is shining and bright, the bird is so colourful. I like it with all the twigs around the bird. You even caught its red eye with a small light! That's a real dinosaur, what claws! Even bigger than the woodpeckers. Thank you!


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-02-20 20:39]

Hello Billy

Excellent sharpness and focus.The bird is in perfect focus.The plumage detail is wonderful,and well defined.
Very good use of the natural lighting,it has produced natural and vivid colours.
Those claws are like talons.

I need to get over to the park and get some shots sometimes. Haven't been hiking in a long time and the weather is getting perfect.

Great shot here - wonderful color! That orange is just fabulous!

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-02-23 7:38]

Hello Billy,
It is an excellent image showing this beautiful species in all its' splender. Camera work is wonderful, thanks for sharing Billy.

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