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Abert’s Towhee

Melozone aberti

The Abert’s Towhee inhabits dense brush and woodlands along Colorado and Sonoran Desert rivers and streams in Arizona and surrounding states. These birds are inconspicuous because they forage in thick undergrowth and rarely fly any great distance.

Typical of towhees and most sparrows, these birds forage on the ground by scratching through leaf litter, kicking back with both feet at once to expose seeds and sometimes insects. Also typical of towhees, pairs remain on their territory year-round.

Towhees used to all be classified in the genus Pipilo, but studies of mitochondrial DNA in 2008-2009 started a rethinking of this and other towhees. The genus Melozone was adopted for the “Brown Towhee” complex, including this bird.

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