Saturday, August 3

Eastern Towhee mimicry

I recently recorded a couple of examples of mimicry by Eastern Towhees.

This odd song appears to begin and end with the puck and flight calls of an American Robin (July, ME).

Here the song begins with a perfect imitation of a Hermit Thrush flight call (Aug, PA).

note the (real) American Robin flight call call to the right

Mimicry by towhees is considered to be rare but has been previously described:
Borror, D. J. 1977. Rufous-sided Towhee mimicking Carolina Wren and Field Sparrow. Wilson Bull. 89:477-480.
Greenlaw J. S., Shackelford, C. E., and Brown, R. E. 1998. Call Mimicry by Eastern Towhees and Its Significance in Relation to Auditory Learning. Wilson Bull. 110:43l-434.

1 comment:

JR said...

I have also heard/recorded Eastern Towhees mimicking other species. The strangest was one who seemed to be mimicking a Mississippi Kite.