Green-tailed Towhee

photo by Phil Swanson

Pipilo chlorurus
L 7 1/4″ (18 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Catlike “mew.” Clear whistled song begins with “weet-chur” and ends in raspy trill.

Description: Sexes similar. Greenish-olive back, wings, and rump, darker tail; reddish crown; distinct white throat bordered by dark and white stripes; white lores; grayish face and underparts; white belly. Juvenile is streaked brown overall with two faint olive wing bars; lacks reddish crown.

Behavior: Usually sings from atop a shrub or young conifer. Erects reddish crown into a crest.

Habitat: Migrants found in thickets and dense shrubbery in arid habitats. Also occur in sagebrush-covered plains.

Where in Nebraska: Uncommon but regular spring and fall migrant in western Nebraska. Mostly seen in Panhandle, but recorded east to McPherson, Logan, and Lancaster Counties.

Fun Facts: Green-tailed Towhees are the smallest and only entirely migratory bird of all the towhees.

Green-tailed Towhee - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)