Aberts Towhee (Pipilo aberti)

Aberts Towhee

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Pipilo aberti | [UK] Aberts Towhee | [FR] Tohi a face noir | [DE] Schwarzkinn-Grundammer | [ES] Rascador de Abert | [NL] Zwartkintowie


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Melozone aberti
Pipilo aberti NA, MA sw USA, nw Mexico
Pipilo aberti aberti
Pipilo aberti dumeticolus

Physical charateristics

A shy, skulking desert species, similar to the California Towhee but paler and browner, the entire underparts buffy brown. Note the black patch embracing the base of the bill.

Listen to the sound of Aberts Towhee

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/A/Aberts Towhee.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 30 cm wingspan max.: 33 cm
size min.: 21 cm size max.: 23 cm
incubation min.: 14 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 12 days fledging max.: 13 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America, Middle America : Southwest USA, Northwest Mexico


Desert streams, brush, mesquite. Typically in dense brush near water in arid lowlands, as in streamside thickets, edges of ponds or irrigation ditche
s, understory of cottonwood-willow groves, even riverside marshes. In some areas (such as around Phoenix), comes into yards in well-watered suburbs. Where it overlaps with Canyon Towhee, Abert’s stays closer to water in dense cover.


Members of pair remain together all year on permanent territories; courtship and pair formation may occur at any season, but nesting is mainly March through July.
Nest: Site is in dense shrub or tree such as mesquite, willow, baccharis, or elderberry, often well hidden within clump of mistletoe; usually 5-
8′ above the ground, can be higher. Nest (built by female) is a bulky open cup, loosely made of weeds, bark strips, grass, leaves, vines, lined with dry grass and sometimes hair.
Eggs: 1-4, usually 3. Pale blue or whitish with markings of dark brown and black. Incubation is apparently by female only, about 14 days.
Young: Both parents bring food for the nestlings. Young leave nest about 12-13 days after hatching, before they are full-grown, but are unable to fly for another week; tended by parents for a m
onth or more. Often 2 broods per year.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and seeds.
Insects make up majority of diet, especially in summer; major items include beetles, ants, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and cicadas. Also eats many seeds, including those of saltbush, weeds, and grasses.
Behavior: Forages mostly on the gr
ound, often scratching with both feet among the leaf litter as it searches for insects and seeds. Also forages on bark at base of trees, and in low bushes. Members of a pair often forage together.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Aberts Towhee status Least Concern


Resident southwestern United States, very locally in northwestern Mexico. Migration: Permanent resident, rarely wandering even short distances away from favored habitat.

Distribution map

Aberts Towhee distribution range map

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