California Towhee

Pipilo crissalis

This bulky, ground-dwelling member of the sparrow family is one of Southern California’s most common birds. Except for its rust-red rump, the California Towhee is drab brown all over. Perhaps its camouflage gives it the confidence to hop around in the open while its more colorful cousin, the Spotted Towhee hides in the shrubs. Both towhees forage in leaf litter with a “double-scratch” motion, hopping rapidly backward and forward to dislodge seeds and insects.

Fun Fact:
The California Towhee looks for food by dragging its feet through leaves and twigs with a distinctive two-legged backward hop.

What’s for Lunch:
Mainly seeds

Where’s Home:
Chaparral and coastal sage scrub, year-round