any of several large, ground-feeding, North American sparrows (family Emberizidae); esp., the rufous-sided towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) with a chestnut patch on each flank and, usually, red irises
Origin of towheeechoic of one of its calls
- A songbird (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) of eastern North America having black, white, and rust-colored plumage in the male. Also called chewink.
- Any of several similar birds of the genera Pipilo and Melozone, found in western North America.
Origin of towheeImitative of the song of some of these birds.
male spotted towhee
The taxonomical classification has varied. Currently, the towhees are in Pipilo, but in the past some have been put in Melozone.