Friday, January 22, 2016

Green-tailed Towhee

Reddish on the top and greenish on the bottom, the Green-tailed Towhee impresses, if you get to see one.

They are not wildly colorful birds...rather muted in fact. Because they are so secretive, you're lucky to find one in the wild. The Green-tailed Towhee is a bird of the understory...those dark, tangled, inaccessible reaches of the underbrush where predators find it hard to navigate.

But the Green-tailed Towhee must reveal himself on occasions in a search for food. Noticeably uncomfortable and wary, the Green-tailed Towhee bobs and dips as he scratches the leaf litter for food.
The ground is a dangerous place for a bird.

At home in the Rocky Mountains States, the Green-tailed Towhees (sexes alike) will raise their family in the United States, although they winter in Mexico.  In spring the male rises from the underbrush to claim a territory by singing in the treetops. But, most time is spent at ground level feeding on insects in summer and seeds in winter.

They can raise their rufous crown slightly to challenge an offender, but they are reclusive birds, content to stay in the shadows...venturing only into safe surroundings.

I consider myself lucky to have finally seen a
Green-tailed Towhee,
after many years of trying to get a decent image of one.

What I've encountered in the past was a green tail flying away from me.


Credits: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds
The Sibley Guide to Birds