Thought to form a species-group with B. virginianus (including recently separated B. magellanicus), B. ascalaphus and B. bengalensis, perhaps including also B. capensis. Sometimes considered to include ascalaphus and bengalensis as races; appears to intergrade with former in parts of Middle East, suggesting that conspecificity perhaps not impossible. Race interpositus has been suggested as a separate species on basis of DNA analysis, but samples presumably small; this form interbreeds freely with B. ascalaphus, and turcomanus hybridizes with B. bengalensis, in both cases producing fertile young#R. Geographical boundaries of races obscured throughout by intergrading populations. Large number of additional races named, some representing no more than individual variation or intermediates: e.g. populations described from Bashkirskaya region of SW Russia (baschkiricus) included in sibiricus; from L Zaysan region (zaissanensis) in yenisseensis; from N Mongolia (dauricus) and NE China (inexpectatus) in ussuriensis; from SE Yunnan (jarlandi), Sichuan (setschuanus), SE China (swinhoei) and Korea (tenuipes) in kiautschensis. Sixteen subspecies recognized.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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