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Canyon Towhee

Melozone fusca

The Canyon Towhee is a year-round resident of southwestern USA and Mexico. They live in scrub along dry watercourses and upland desert scrub at lower desert elevations, and upward into higher-elevation pine-oak or even coniferous forests.

Older references list the scientific name of this bird as Pipilo fuscus, but the naming has recently been changed to Melozone fusca. The status of “Brown Towhees” has long been debated. Some scientists would have us lump the California Towhee and the Canyon Towhee into a single species. It seems the introduction of genetic information supports the argument to separate them into their own distinct species.

To date, all my meetings with Canyon Towhees have been in Arizona, though they range across New Mexico and West Texas, and south deep into the Mexican interior plateaus.

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