Relationships confused and poorly understood; various studies and phylogenetic analyses have reached widely differing and sometimes contradictory conclusions regarding species and subspecies limits, some advocating numerous splits, others#R suggesting that all taxa in this genus be treated as part of a single species; clearly, much more research needed, including wider genetic sampling of taxa. Present species hitherto treated as conspecific with P. mauritanica; and may be conspecific with New World P. hudsonia and P. nutalli (see both, below). Race camtschatica (much white in wing, powerful green gloss) of NE Siberia is also distinctive, while bottanensis of Tibetan region differs strongly from neighbouring forms, but said to intergrade with anderssoni in N of its range. Many intergrading populations exist, complicating taxonomic arrangements (e.g. anderssoni is possibly an intermediate series of populations): galliae (France) and germanica (Germany) included in nominate race; kot (E Ukraine), laubmanni (Kelat, in Pakistan) and hemileucoptera (C Siberia) in bactriana; japonica (Japan), amurensis (near Khabarovsk, in Ussuriland) and jankowskii (near Vladivostok) in anderssoni; and hainana (Hainan) and alashanica (Ala Shan, in C China) in serica. Race serica often misspelt “sericea”. Nine subspecies currently recognized.
Introduced (race serica) on Kyushu (Japan).
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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