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Canyon Towhee - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Glenn Bartley
Melozone fusca

Pipilo fusca


20–25 cm
Brown upperparts, lighter underparts, dark head, rufous cap, reddish under tail, long tail.
Sexes similar

Similar Species

Paler, grayer, and shows more contrast than the California Towhee.


Southwestern United States and northern Mexico.


Formerly considered conspecific with the California Towhee under the name Brown Towhee.


mesoleucum has a much darker brown cap than texanus There are 10 subspecies[1]:

  • P. f. mesoleucus: has a much darker brown cap than texanus
  • P. f. intermedius: Semi-arid north-western Mexico (southern Sonora to northern Sinaloa)
  • P. f. jamesi: Isla Tiburón (northern Sea of Cortés off Sonora)
  • P. f. mesatus: South-eastern Colorado to north-eastern New Mexico and extreme north-western Oklahoma
  • P. f. texanus: Highlands of western and central Texas to northern Mexico (north-western Coahuila)
  • P. f. perpallidus: Mountains of western Mexico (Sierra Madre Occidental)
  • P. f. fuscus: Mountains of western Mexico (Nayarit, Jalisco and Colima to Distrito Federal)
  • P. f. potosinus: Highlands of northern Mexico (Coahuila to north-eastern Jalisco and south-western Tamaulipas)
  • P. f. campoi: Highlands of east-central Mexico (Hidalgo, adjacent Puebla and Veracruz)
  • P. f. toroi: South-central Mexico (Tlaxcala to Veracruz, Puebla and northern Oaxaca)

Two additional subspecies aimophilus and relictus are generally considered invalid[2].

This species was formerly placed in the genus Pipilo


Brush or chaparral.



The diet includes insects.


  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. Avibase
  3. 51st supplement to the AOU checklist of North American birds
  4. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.