to·​whee | \ ˈtō-ˌhē How to pronounce towhee (audio) , ˈtō-(ˌ)ē, tō-ˈhē \

Definition of towhee

1 : a long-tailed passerine bird (Pipilo erythrophthalmus of the family Emberizidae) of eastern North America with the male having reddish sides, white underparts, and black upperparts, head, and neck

called also chewink

2 : any various similar related birds (genera Pipilo and Melozone) found mainly in western North America

Note: Towhees live primarily on the ground, often in bushes and thickets, where they feed on insects and seeds.

Examples of towhee in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To date, Creager’s rescues have included a cardinal, a wren, a towhee and a mockingbird. Mary Colurso |, al, "When a baby bird needs help, this Alabama woman swoops in," 23 Sep. 2020 The idea is to walk the course and look for the birds, starting with Canada geese on Hole 1 and then through such species as Eastern towhees, American robins, belted kingfishers and mallards. Washington Post, "This Rockville golf course is full of birdies — the feathered kind," 10 Feb. 2020 In such gardens, expect to see wood thrushes and eastern towhees. Washington Post, "Bird populations have crashed. Here’s what you can do to help.," 16 Oct. 2019 Reports from Crane WMA in Falmouth included 2 American kestrels, 9 Eastern phoebes, 2 grasshopper sparrows, 18 Eastern towhees, 2 bobolink, 4 Eastern meadowlarks, a dickcissel, and 2 blue grosbeaks., "Recent bird sightings on Cape Cod (as of Sept. 3) as reported to the Massachusetts Audubon Society.," 11 Sep. 2019 The dawn chorus on Camp Stewart Road is mostly Northern cardinals, American robins, Carolina wrens and Eastern towhees. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "Breeding Bird Survey yields 56 species over 25-mile route," 20 June 2018 Summer species include Northern bobwhite, black-chinned hummingbird and spotted towhee. Houston Chronicle, "Top birding spots around Texas," 10 May 2018 The short, river-hugging trail leads you beneath tall oaks; birds to be seen include towhee and mockingbird. Peter Fish, San Francisco Chronicle, "The 5 best hikes in Napa for wine lovers," 21 Feb. 2018 Northern mockingbirds have started singing in earnest, along with Eastern towhees. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "Watch for the annual visit by red-winged blackbirds | Charlotte Observer," 16 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'towhee.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of towhee

circa 1729, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for towhee


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Time Traveler for towhee

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The first known use of towhee was circa 1729

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Cite this Entry

“Towhee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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