English and Scientific names:

Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)

Number of individuals: 

1 (age and sex unknown - possibly adult male)

Locality: LOUISIANA: 


Specific Locality:

"Big Woods" area, about 9 mi E of Cameron on Trosclair Rd.

Date(s) when observed:

31 Dec 2009

Time(s) of day when observed:  


Reporting observer and address:

Erik I. Johnson

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

Melvin Weber (first found the bird)

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Melvin Weber (first found the bird)

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

overcast; even light; bird was in area with tall shrubs

Optical equipment: 

Swarovski 10x42 EL; photographed with Nikon D100, 80-400mm ED lens

Distance to bird(s): 

about 10 m

Duration of observation:

several minutes


coastal cheneir, but area with missing trees and about 5' tall mix of shrubs, Rubus, and vines The bird was in shrubby understory, lurking with at least 5 Eastern Towhees.

Behavior of bird: 

The entire group was being pushed around by myself and Melvin, flushing from bush to bush.


dark eye, heavy white spots on back and wing coverts, otherwise appearing like Eastern Towhee with black head and chest, white belly, and dark rufous flanks


not heard

Similar species:

Eastern Towhee should never have such heavy spotting on back and wing coverts.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?


Melvin also got some lower-quality photos

Previous experience with this species: 

first time seen in Louisiana. I saw this bird a couple times during brief visits out west about 12 years ago (New Mexico) and 2 years ago (California).

Identification aids:

Sibley Guide - immediately after observation

This description is written from: 

notes made from after the observation and memory

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



Date and time: 

30 Jan 2010