Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Spotted Towhee

Erika and  I encountered a female Spotted Towhee at the Billy Frank Jr Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge on 24 February 2021. Twenty-one races of Spotted Towhees are described, differing in color and size. In fact, only recently have Spotted and Eastern towhees been declared distinct species.  This bird is undoubtedly the Spotted Towhee race, Pipilo maculatus oregonus. It is both the darkest of the Spotted Towhee races and one that has the fewest spots and streaks on its scapulars and wing coverts. I think these birds of the Pacific Northwest are as different from most other Spotted Towhees races as they are different from Eastern Towhees. Genetic studies of these birds would probably prove to be interesting.

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