In past, sometimes considered conspecific with L. collurio or L. isabellinus, or both, but recent genetic analyses support treatment as separate species. Occasional hybridization with L. collurio recorded in C Asia. Races form three distinctive groups: single-taxon “superciliosus group” brighter than others, male bright rufous above, with wider white frontal band merging with broad white supercilium, strongly contrasting jet-black mask, orange-tinged below; single-taxon “lucionensis group” much greyer than others, with narrower supercilium, male with light grey crown and nape, brownish-grey upperparts, russet-brown rump, buff lower underparts; and “cristatus group”. Geographical variation partially clinal; race confusus poorly differentiated, intergrading with nominate and perhaps better merged with it. Four subspecies currently recognized.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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