Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Collared Towhee (Pipilo ocai)


French: Tohi à collier German: Halsband-Grundammer Spanish: Toquí acollarado

Buarremon ocai


, 1865,

no locality = Las Vigas, west of Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico


Commonly hybridizes with P. maculatus in N & E of range (mainly races alticola and nigrescens, alticola forming a hybrid swarm with adjacent populations of that species), but in Oaxaca brunnescens apparently sympatric with P. maculatus without interbreeding. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. o. alticola (Salvin & Godman, 1889) – W Jalisco and extreme NE Colima, in W Mexico.
  • P. o. nigrescens (Salvin & Godman, 1889) – NC Michoacán (E to near Morelia), in C Mexico.
  • P. o. guerrerensis van Rossem, 1938 – Sierra Madre del Sur (in Guerrero), in SW Mexico.
  • P. o. ocai (Lawrence, 1865) – mountains of E Puebla and WC Veracruz, in EC Mexico.
  • P. o. brunnescens van Rossem, 1938 – C Oaxaca, in S Mexico.
  • Descriptive notes

    19·5–23 cm; 54·5–68 g. Large, long-tailed sparrow, adult with un­streak­ed underparts. Nominate race has black forehead with narrow white median line, rufous crown,... read more


    Song variable, “clee-o-weet-ship-trrr” or “wheer-tseet-tseet-trrr, treee-chit-chit-chit”, or “chree... read more


    Dense brush, including brushy fence rows and woodland edges, at 1500–3500 m; also coniferous... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet little known; probably mostly plant items (seeds, fruit) and small invertebrates, e.g. insects, spiders (Araneae) and millipedes (... read more


    Season early Mar (Michoacán) to late Mar through Jul, and in Sept (Guerrero). Nest a cup of dry grass, pine (Pinus) needles and... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Often common or very common in appropriate habitat. No information on any changes in status.

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2020). Collared Towhee (Pipilo ocai). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 29 February 2020).