Spotted Towhee
(Pipilo maculatus)

Summary

Picture of bird
© Glen Tepke (www.pbase.com/gtepke)
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

In Canada, the Spotted Towhee occurs in thickets and scrubby habitats throughout most of southern British Columbia and the southern Prairie provinces. The Breeding Bird Survey provides good information for the species, indicating a moderate increase in the Canadian population since about 1970. The species sometimes hybridises with its close relative, the Eastern Towhee, along the eastern edges of the Great Plains (Bartos Smith and Greenlaw 2015). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.

Designations

Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate IncreaseHighAt an Acceptable Level
 

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000,000 - 50,000,000 adults
 

Distribution maps

 

Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaLow

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between mid-April and late May and ends between late July and early August, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.
 

Conservation and management

The Spotted Towhee is sensitive to major changes in rural land management practices, especially those that remove or degrade shrubby habitats (Bartos Smith and Greenlaw 2015). However, the species may co-exist with humans, or even benefit, where agricultural and urban development is moderate or where bush and undergrowth habitat is increased (Bartos Smith and Greenlaw 2015). Recommended conservation efforts, should they become necessary, focus on the preservation of riparian woodlands and dense woody thickets, and the limitation of high-density urban development (Bartos Smith and Greenlaw 2015).

 

Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Northern Pacific RainforestNorthern Pacific Rainforest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Stewardship
 

References