The spotted and eastern towhees (formerly combined as the rufous-sided towhee) have a narrow hybrid zone in the central Great Plains. In general, a female spotted differs less from a male than in the eastern. Length 7.5".
Male: plumage like eastern towhee’s, except for white tips on median, greater coverts forming 2 white wing bars, variable white spotting on back and scapulars, lack of rectangular white patch at primary bases. Female: similar to male spotted, but with a slate-gray hood (variable by ssp.). Juvenile: like juvenile eastern, but lacks white primary patch.
Nine subspecies show weak to moderate variation. “Interior” birds have extensive white spotting above, prominent white tail corners; “Pacific” birds dark overall with white back spotting, reduced tail corners