In HBW considered conspecific with Z. pallidus, but here treated as a separate species based on its molecular distance#R and green or grey vs peachy flanks (2); green or grey vs white belly (2); less subdued song and higher-pitched, less staccato contact calls#R (2); and, based on published maps#R#R#R broad zone of either sympatry (no score; clearly two species) or intermediacy (1). When split from Z. pallidus, name virens has priority for present species#R#R. Molecular and other recent evidence has led to the synonymization of races atmorii with capensis and caniviridis with the nominate. Two subspecies recognized.
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