Europe = Vienna, Austria.
Internal taxonomy extremely complex, with more than 60 races described across species’ huge range, and strong correlation of plumage ground colour and intensity of streaking with environmental factors, even within range of a given race (e.g. within range of olive-grey apuliae in S Italy, ash-grey birds from E Calabria named “heraelaciniae”); also well-marked variation, tending to be clinal, in body size, wing length and, especially, bill length. In general, differences among races slight and intergradation also evident, but two major clades identified#R (treated as subspecies groups here). Geographical areas of special difficulty, where several races meet and establishment of neat frontiers among them appears impossible, include Morocco, Nile Valley, Near East and Turkey; in Morocco, race macrorhyncha (with randonii) found to meet races riggenbachi, kleinschmidti (“cristata”) and carthaginis in a zone so narrow that this and supposedly distinctive characters (greater size and bill length) combine to suggest species status for macrorhyncha#R#R#R, but other taxa may be similar in body and bill size (e.g. arenicola), and macrorhyncha and randonii inadequately sampled geographically so that “more research is needed on the circumscription and nomenclature of these taxa”#R. Birds from NW Spain sometimes attributed to nominate race. Besides listed races, others described include madaraszi from S Croatia (Dalmatia) and muehlii from Greece, both included in meridionalis; moltschanowi from Crimea, in tenuirostris; ioniae from W Turkey (Izmir region), magdae from S Caspian region and submagna from Transcaspia, all in caucasica; weigoldi and ankarae from Turkey, in subtaurica; retrusa from N China (Gansu) and alaschanica from Inner Mongolia (Alxa), in magna; vamberyi from Karakum Desert (Turkmenistan), in iwanowi; gafsae, whitakeri and deprimozi from Tunisia, all in arenicola; deltae from Nile Delta, in nigricans; imami from Yemen and thomsi from N Oman (Muscat), in tardinata; moeritica from N Egypt (Faiyum), in maculata; caroli from Egypt, nubica from Ethiopia and eritreae from Eritrea, all in altirostris; and courtoti from W Chad and zalingei from W Sudan, both in alexanderi. Thirty-seven subspecies provisionally recognized.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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