The spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus) is a large New World sparrow. The taxonomy of the towhees has been debated in recent decades, and until 1995 this bird and the eastern towhee were considered a single species, the rufous-sided towhee. Another outdated name for the spotted towhee is the Oregon towhee (Pipilo maculatus oregonus). The call may be harsher and more varied than for the eastern towhee.
Individuals in the Socorro Island population are much smaller than other spotted towhees, and show distinctive gray upper-parts. That population is sometimes treated as a subspecies: the Socorro towhee (Pipilo socorroensis).