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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Brown Towhee -- Pipilo fuscus

RANGE: Resident from southwestern Oregon, California (except higher mountains, deserts, and extensive forests), Arizona, southeastern Colorado, and west-central Texas south to central and western Mexico.

STATUS: Locally abundant.

HABITAT: Generally inhabits chaparral, brushland, woodlands, and open habitats such as lawns and gardens - chaparral and suburban gardens in Oregon and California; cholla cactus and pinyon-juniper in Colorado; the lower mountain canyons in Arizona; and low scrub habitats in New Mexico and Texas.


NEST: Builds a bulky nest ranging from ground level up to 35 feet above the ground (usually 3 to 12 feet) in a variety of shrubs and low trees. Usually places nest in the densest part of the foliage, supported by several branches.

FOOD: Forages on the ground for seeds and insects. Feeds insects to nestlings during summer; eats predominately weed seeds in winter. Also eats grain and small fruits.

REFERENCES: Bent 1968b, Johnsgard 1979, Terres 1980.

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