A songbird (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) of eastern North America having black, white, and rust-colored plumage in the male.
Any of several similar birds of the genera Pipilo and Melozone, found in western North America.
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 towhee
- Imitative of the song of some of these birds
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition