Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Passeriformes > Emberizidae > Melozone > Melozone crissalis

Melozone crissalis (California Towhee)

Synonyms: Pipilo crissalis
Language: Spanish

Wikipedia Abstract

The California towhee (Melozone crissalis) is a bird of the family Emberizidae, native to the coastal regions of western Oregon and California in the United States and Baja California Sur in Mexico. The taxonomy of this species has been debated. At the higher level, some authors place the towhees in the family Fringillidae. Within the group, there has been debate about whether the distinction between this species and the similar canyon towhee (Melozone fuscus) should be at the specific or subspecific level. The two populations are quite isolated from each other, and molecular genetics seems to have settled the matter in favour of two distinct species for the present. On the other hand there seems to be little distinction between the northern and Baja Californian populations within M. criss
View Wikipedia Record: Melozone crissalis


EDGE Analysis

Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 3.33322
EDGE Score: 1.46631


Adult Weight [1]  47 grams
Breeding Habitat [2]  Chaparral
Wintering Geography [2]  Non-migrartory
Wintering Habitat [2]  Chaparral
Diet [3]  Carnivore (Invertebrates), Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore
Diet - Fruit [3]  10 %
Diet - Invertibrates [3]  20 %
Diet - Plants [3]  10 %
Diet - Seeds [3]  60 %
Forages - Mid-High [3]  20 %
Forages - Understory [3]  30 %
Forages - Ground [3]  50 %
Clutch Size [4]  4
Clutches / Year [1]  2
Global Population (2017 est.) [2]  8,400,000
Incubation [1]  13 days
Maximum Longevity [1]  13 years


Name Countries Ecozone Biome Species Report Climate Land
Baja California desert Mexico Nearctic Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
California coastal sage and chaparral Mexico, United States Nearctic Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub
Gulf of California xeric scrub Mexico Nearctic Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
San Lucan xeric scrub Mexico Neotropic Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
Sierra de la Laguna dry forests Mexico Neotropic Tropical and Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forests
Sierra de la Laguna pine-oak forests Mexico Neotropic Tropical and Subtropical Coniferous Forests
Sierra Juarez and San Pedro Martir pine-oak forests Mexico Nearctic Temperate Coniferous Forests

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA III 184543 California, United States
Big Morongo Canyon Preserve Area of Critical Environmental Concern V 3906 California, United States
Boggs Lake Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 192 California, United States
Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest   California, United States
Cabrillo National Monument V 149 California, United States
California Coast Ranges Biosphere Reserve 153447 California, United States  
Carrizo Plain Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 7550 California, United States  
Cosumnes River Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 2138 California, United States
Creighton Ranch Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 3275 California, United States  
Dye Creek Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 38152 California, United States  
Elkhorn Slough Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 964 California, United States  
Fairfield Osborn Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 190 California, United States
Golden Gate National Recreation Area V 26135 California, United States
Hibberd Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 1485 California, United States  
Joshua Tree National Park II 305076 California, United States
Kaweah Oaks Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 319 California, United States  
Kern River Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 834 California, United States
McGinty Mountain Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 753 California, United States  
Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve 5901 California, United States  
Mount Tamalpais State Park 6365 California, United States
Muir Woods National Monument V 492 California, United States
Nipomo Dunes Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 3725 California, United States
Pinnacles National Monument V 2869 California, United States
Point Reyes National Seashore II 27068 California, United States
Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve 277252 Saskatchewan, Canada
Redwood National Park II 77867 California, United States
Ring Mountain Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 438 California, United States  
Samuel P. Taylor State Park 2694 California, United States
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area V 38440 California, United States
Sequoia and Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve II 172261 California, United States
Table Mountain   California, United States      
Vina Plains Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 2056 California, United States
Whiskey-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area V 197791 California, United States
Williams Wildlife Preserve Wildlife Reserve   California, United States      
Yosemite National Park II 95209 California, United States


Biodiversity Hotspots

Name Location Endemic Species Website
California Floristic Province Mexico, United States No
Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands Mexico, United States No

Prey / Diet

Amaranthus retroflexus (rough pigweed)[5]
Anthemis cotula (stinking chamomile)[5]
Avena fatua (flaxgrass)[5]
Brahea armata (Blue Hesper Palm)[6]
Calandrinia ciliata (fringed redmaids)[5]
Chenopodium album (lambsquarters goosefoot)[5]
Claytonia perfoliata (miners lettuce)[5]
Deinandra fasciculata (Fascicled Tarweed)[5]
Digitaria sanguinalis (redhair crabgrass)[5]
Erodium cicutarium (redstem)[5]
Geranium dissectum (cutleaf geranium)[5]
Madia sativa (coast tarweed)[5]
Oxalis corniculata (creeping woodsorrel)[5]
Papaver macounii (Macoun's poppy)[5]
Plantago lanceolata (narrowleaf plantain)[5]
Plectocephalus americanus (Tecolote)[5]
Rumex acetosella (Common Sheep Sorrel)[5]
Saissetia miranda (mexican black scale)[5]
Silybum marianum (Milk Thistle)[5]
Spergula arvensis (devil's gut)[5]
Stellaria media (chickweed)[5]
Toxicodendron diversilobum (pacific poisonoak)[5]
Zea mays (corn)[5]

Prey / Diet Overlap

Competing SpeciesCommon Prey Count
Callipepla californica (Californian Quail)1
Corvus corax (Northern Raven)1
Dipodomys merriami (Merriam's kangaroo rat)1
Haemorhous mexicanus (House Finch)1
Haemorhous purpureus (Purple Finch)1
Icterus cucullatus (Hooded Oriole)1
Icterus parisorum (Scott's Oriole)1
Melanerpes uropygialis (Gila Woodpecker)1
Perognathus longimembris (little pocket mouse)1
Pheucticus melanocephalus (Black-headed Grosbeak)1
Picoides villosus (Hairy Woodpecker)1
Spizella breweri (Brewer's Sparrow)1
Zenaida asiatica (White-winged Dove)1

Range Map

North America;



Attributes / relations provided by
1de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
2Partners in Flight Avian Conservation Assessment Database, version 2017. Accessed on January 2018.
3Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
4Jetz W, Sekercioglu CH, Böhning-Gaese K (2008) The Worldwide Variation in Avian Clutch Size across Species and Space PLoS Biol 6(12): e303. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060303
5Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
6Patterns of frugivory, seed dispersal and predation of blue fan palms (Brahea armata) in oases of northern Baja California, E.V. Wehncke, X.L. Medellín, E. Ezcurra, Journal of Arid Environments 73 (2009) 773–783
Ecoregions provided by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). WildFinder: Online database of species distributions, ver. 01.06 WWF WildFINDER
Biodiversity Hotspots provided by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
Images provided by Google Image Search
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access