While the plumage of this species is distinctive, it, like other towhees, spends much of its time hidden in heavy cover. Upperparts are drab greenish gray to fairly bright olive green. The face and underparts are gray, fading to whitish on the belly. The head has a rufous crown, white spot above the lores, and a black moustachial stripe separating the white malar from the clean white throat. Bill is uniformally black. Juvenile shows rather dense crisp streaking on the upper breast with more sparse fine streaking along the flanks and on the lower bread. It has a pale creamy-white unmarked throat and a rather plain gray face. Crown is slightly darker and streaked with brown. Upper parts have an olive cast particularly on the wings and tail, with some dark streaking in the scapulars and coverts and weak wingbars. Bill of hatch-year birds is paler horn colored and paler pinkish at the base of the mandible.
Length: 18 (cm) Wingspan: 25 (cm)
Calls include a rising cat-like mew and sharp metallic "spink." Song, which is very similar to that of Fox Sparrow, has several introductory notes followed by short trills.
Open forests, shrub steppe, burns, forest edges.
Males sing from exposed perches. When not singing, usually low in heavy cover.
Forages for seeds and insects on or near the ground.
Expanded Life History
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