Common birds - U City In Bloom

Small black Birds with white Bellies

Phoebe Flycatcher / June 26, 2017

Green-tailed Towhee

Towhee, Sparrpws, Juncos, Longspurs, Buntings - Family Emberizidae
Green-tailed Towhee adult

Green-tailed Towhee Pipilo chlorurus

A large and colorful member of the sparrow family, the Green-tailed Towhee is perhaps more recognizable by its eye-catching chestnut crown than by its less intense green-gray back and olive tail.

As a ground forager, it spends most of its time on the ground or in thick cover, scratching about industriously in the leaf litter, and it may go unnoticed. But its catlike mewing call, which it often gives from a brushy perch, is one of the quintessential sounds of the shrublands of the east slope of the Cascades and the Great Basin.

Spotted Towhee at EE WilsonIt is locally fairly common east of the Cascades in summer and the most common in the north Great Basin, where it is found in nearly all mountain ranges.

Spotted Towhee
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus

This well-known ground-dwelling bird is black above, on the male, and brown on the female, including the entire head and upper breast. On both sexes the upperparts are spotted with white on the wings and the long tail. It has rufous sides and a white belly.

It frequents brushy areas and is common at bird feeders wherever seed is scattered on the ground, but does not feed far from cover. The varied song usually has one to three parts.

The Spotted Towhee breeds statewide and winters primarily west of the Cascades and in small numbers in lowland areas east of the Cascades.

California Towhee

California Towhee adult

California Towhee Pipilo crissalis

The California Towhee can be found in chaparral habitats of southern Oregon, quietly flitting in and out of the brush in search of seeds. It is a plain brown bird with a rusty throat patch and undertail coverts. It is noticeably larger than the Spotted Towhee. Its long slender tail is also a useful identifying feature. Sexes cannot be told apart in the field, but juveniles can be distinguished by the extensive streaking and spotting of the underparts.

American Tree SparrowThe California Towhee is a fairly common permanent resident throughout the Rogue, Applegate, and Illinois Valleys.

American Tree Sparrow adult

American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea

This winter visitor is a study in gray and tan, with a small dark spot on an otherwise gray breast, dull rufous stripes on the side of the head and crown, and brown wings with distinct white stripes.

Tree Sparrows visit Oregon only in winter, mainly in lowlands within the Blue Mountains and Owyhee Upland regions, with a few farther west in some years. They frequent willow clumps in grassy areas and occur occasionally at feeders.

Chipping Sparrow adult
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina

The Chipping Sparrow is a small and slender sparrow that has a distinctive sharp chip note and simple, trilling song. Breeding adults display a chestnut crown, a black eye-stripe, and crisp white eyebrow. After nesting season both male and female lose their distinctive bright cap for a streaky dull brown head pattern that is similar to other winter sparrows.

It is a common summer resident in open forests and drier woodland edges throughout Oregon and is especially abundant in the Blue Mountains.

Chipping Sparrow Clay-colored Sparrow Brewer's Sparrow Brewer's Sparrow