Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus)


French: Tohi à queue verte German: Grünschwanz-Grundammer Spanish: Toquí coliverde

Fringilla chlorura


, 1839,

no locality = Ross’s Creek, about 20 miles [c. 32 km] south-west of Blackfoot, Bingham County, Idaho, USA




W USA from SC & C Oregon, SE Washington, S Idaho, SC Montana and Wyoming, possibly also WC South Dakota, S to SW & E California (principally E of Sierras), N & C Arizona, WC & NE New Mexico, and C Colorado, W Oklahoma (rare) and SW Texas, and in extreme NW Mexico (N Baja California); non-breeding S California E to W Texas, S in Mexico to S Baja California, Jalisco, Michoacán, Puebla and Tamaulipas.

Descriptive notes

15·7–18 cm; 21·5–39·4 g. Large, long-tailed sparrow, adult with unstreaked underparts. Has blackish forehead, rusty cap and white supraloral... read more


Song consists of lively clear, whistled notes, “wheeet clurr cheeeweee-churrr”, or... read more


Diverse shrub communities (often following fire), including dry shrubby hillsides and second growth... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds primarily on insects and other small animal items, probably augmented with seeds, and some fruit when available. In winter, probably... read more


Season May to early Jul In Utah, from Apr in S of range, and sometimes not until Jun in high-elevation sites; probably double-brooded.... read more


Migratory; migrates at night. Spring migration Feb–May. Arrival in S breeding areas begins in mid-... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common. Populations evidently stable. Adversely affected by habitat degradation, such as destruction of sagebrush and reseeding with grasses... read more

Recommended citation

Rising, J. (2020). Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus). 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 23 February 2020).