English and Scientific names:

Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus arcticus?)

Number of individuals:

One adult male Ė presumably arcticus ssp. (northernmost breeding and most migratory of interior group)


Locality: LOUISIANA:

Bossier Parish

Specific Locality:

nr. jct. of Millerís Bluff Rd. x Buckshot Rd., Millerís Bluff, ca. 4 mi. S of Wardview

Date(s) when observed:

18 January 2009

Time(s) of day when observed:

10:30-10:45 AM CST

Reporting observer and address:

Devin Bosler

Baton Rouge, LA

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):


Justin Bosler, Terry Davis

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):


Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Clear sky with optimal late morning sunlight.Sun angle high, so backlighting or glare not a problem.


Optical equipment:

Zeiss Victory FL 8x42, Nikon Fieldscope w/ 20-60x optical zoom, Canon Powershot SD1100 IS(all equipment in good condition)

Distance to bird(s):

ca. 6-8 meters

Duration of observation:

only in view for 1-2 min. over 15 min. observation


Upland mixed pine-hardwood regenerating clearcut, 10-15 years old.Primarily slash pine and white/post oaks.Early successional brushy edge along roadside with privet-sumac-dewberry thickets and greenbrier-honeysuckle tangles.

Behavior of bird:

The towhee was observed in flight and at rest.The bird first appeared low in a dense thicket of Chinese privet, sumac, and dewberry with accompanying Eastern Towhees.It was coming in closer to investigate the screech-owl tape recording.As expected, the bird was agitated but remained silent.It would fly into a dense patch of vegetation and perch quietly for a minute or two before moving to another secluded spot.It only perched in full view once or twice, but was always obstructed by tangles, branches, or leaves.A very territorial Northern Mockingbird was chasing off every towhee that popped up.



A large, bulky sparrow with a long, rounded tail.Resembles Eastern Towhee in appearance with black upperparts, orange-rufous sides, flanks and undertail coverts, and white belly.Entirely black hood and bib indicate adult male.Long, rounded tail showing extensive white corners underneath.Fairly extensive white spotting on back including scapulars, upperwing coverts, and tertials.Noticeable white tips on median and greater wing coverts forming two superficial wing bars.Dark slate-gray bill, paler at base of lower mandible and reddish iridies.Flesh-pink tarsi and feet.


No song or calls heard from SPTO.

Similar species:

Eastern Towhee (EATO) can be eliminated by extensive white spotting on scapulars, upperwing coverts, and tertials.Also lacking white patch at base of primaries, a field mark consistent with EATO.A hybrid can be safely ruled out by the amount of white spotting on the back, especially scapulars, which is unlike the intermediate characteristics shown by hybrids.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Yes, digiscoped photos attached.Photos by Devin Bosler.

Previous experience with this species:

Previous experience with this species from many birding trips to w. U.S.Seen on multiple occasions in multiple locations from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Idaho.

Identification aids:

National Geographic Complete Birds of N.A. (Alderfer et al. 2005) and Sibley's Guide to Birds (Sibley 2003).

This description is written from:

notes made during the observation, notes made after the observation, memory

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain:




Devin Bosler

Date and time:

Date:20 January 2009Time:10:00 PM CST