The Spotted Towhee is a large, striking sparrow of sun-baked thickets of the West. When you catch sight of one, they’re gleaming black above (females are grayish brown), spotted and striped with brilliant white. Their warm rufous flanks match the dry leaves they spend their time hopping around in. The birds can be hard to see in the leaf litter, so your best chance for an unobstructed look at this handsome bird may be in the spring, when males climb into the shrub tops to sing their buzzy songs.
You can find Spotted Towhee by walking slowly along the edges of forests, thickets, and overgrown fields. Listen for the Spotted Towhee’s whiny, cat-like mew call, its rapid song, or simply any rustling the bird makes in dry leaves. Look low in shrubs or along the ground in places with rich leaf litter and dense stems.
Information from the All About Birds website, www.allaboutbirds.org, © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.