Socorro Towhee

Pipilo socorroensis

My participation in a science expedition to the Archipiélago de Revillagigedo in February 2017 was a privilege and a pleasure, and easily one of the most memorable highlights of my life. Socorro Island, or Isla Socorro, the largest island in this group of volcanic islands, offered meetings with several endemic species, including these birds found nowhere else.

Though slightly smaller, this bird closely resembles the Spotted Towhee, a familiar bird of the western USA. We did not encounter this species along the lower elevations near the shoreline. It wasn’t until we ascended the volcanic slopes and reached the cloud forest that we started meeting these birds. We observed them behaving in much the same manner as all towhees, scratching about the understory and confining themselves to dense growth and keeping themselves to within a few feet of the ground.

Taxonomists regard this species as monotypic (i.e. no subspecies).

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