Aberts Towhees (Pipilo aberti)

The Abert’s Towhee (Pipilo aberti) was named for the American ornithologist James William Abert (1820-1897).

Distribution / Range

The Albert’s Towhee has a small range in southwestern North America, where it is mostly found in the lower Colorado River and Gila River watersheds. They are also found in Arizona and small parts of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Sonora in Mexico. They inhabit brushy riparian habitats in the Lower Sonoran desert zone.

They have successfully colonized suburban environments in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area where they are readily found on the campus of Arizona State University.

There has been some range expansion along the Santa Cruz River as well as in Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona, Arizona.


Albert’s Towhees have relatively long tails, dark faces and overall brown plumage. Even though they are related to sparrows and juncos they more resemble the thrashers in appearance. They can be confused with California Towhees, but can be identified by their dark faces.

Diet / Feeding

Albert’s Towhees usually forage among dense brush for seeds. They may also scratch at the ground in a manner similar to quail to dig up grubs.

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