Eastern Towhee  ( Tohi flancs roux )      This species is on the OBRC review list for northern Ontario.  All sightings should be documented and reported.

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Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Description:    Eastern Towhee
Photo Date:   October 30, 2010




Mike Leahy

General Notes

Formerly this large, long-tailed  member of the Sparrow family and the more western Spotted Towhee were considered a single species, the Rufous-sided Towhee. They were split into separate species in 1995, whence the non-spotted race was officially renamed the Eastern Towhee.

Eastern Towhees are just beyond the northern end of their normal breeding distribution here in Timiskaming, and there has been no evidence discovered of local breeding.  The birds that are found in Timiskaming most probably have made their way here during post breeding dispersal. Essentially all of our records to date are from late fall or early winter. Although they usually migrate to the southeastern United States for the winter, at least one individual has potentially spent the winter here.

Abundance: Out of range
Breeding Status: Accidental

Documented Observations



December 1, 1966. A male and a female observed in Swastika by Mr. and Mrs. Roy Thompson.

October 22-24, 1990. One male observed near Matachewan by Lloyd Taman, Olga Taman, and Walter Zarowski. Photo on file with OBRC. 

November 12 - December 20, 1997, one male observed at Mountain Chutes Camp near Kenabeek by Barry and Kelsey Kinch. Photo on file with OBRC. 

November 28 - December 4, 2004. One male observed at a feeder in Kirkland Lake by Bud Miller. Photos on file.

February 26 - March 6, 2005. One observed at a feeder in Kirkland Lake by Bud Miller, probably the same bird as the above observation.

November 18, 2005. One observed in Latchford, reported to Bruce Murphy.

October 26-30, 2010. One discovered by Ann Black in Swastika. Also observed and photographed by Mike Leahy and Serge Gendron.

October 27, 2010. One observed by Dorothy Farmiloe near her feeders in Elk Lake.