Once you see a black and orange Eastern Towhee, it may not come as a surprise that these birds are sometimes called “ground robins.” While they're very different from robins, they are enjoyable to watch.


These birds are found in much of the Midwest and New England during the summer breeding season, and are seen year-round in southeastern states. (Out west, the related species is the Spotted Towhee.)

Habitat and diet

The Eastern Towhee lives along forest edges, in thickets and other bushy places, where they forage for insects, snails, spiders and centipedes hiding in the leaf litter. To reach their food, the Towhee deploys some distinct moves. They “kick back” the topmost debris with both feet, then lurch forward to grab the bug. They also live alone; if another towhee ventures into their territory, they will chase them away.


The female Eastern Towhee (which has brown feathers to the male's black) builds her nest right in the leaf litter on the ground, lining the nest with grasses, rootlets and animal fur. They may also build nests in the branches of shrubs as well the vines of grapes or honeysuckle.

Feeder tips

In addition to insects and spiders, the Eastern Towhee eats seeds and fruits. For those who have shrubbery or bushes in their yard, the Eastern Towhee will readily visit bird feeders. Lyric Supreme Mix contains sunflower seeds and other morsels that would appeal to the Eastern Towhee as well as a host of other birds.