Syria, Arabia, Libya, Africa = Sennar (south-east Sudan).
Previously considered conspecific with S. molybdophanes but the two differ significantly in plumage and bare parts, genetically and behaviourally. Since turn of century both commonly given species status, and this view accepted here. Distinguished from S. molybdophanes by pink, reddish or pinkish-grey vs strong grey-blue neck and legs (3); paler black plumage (1); lack of black scutes on lower tarsi (1); dark brown vs pale brownish-grey eye (greyish-blue in female) (1); crown with short, stiff feathering vs bare crown (2); largely parapatric distribution #R#R (3). Genetic study#R also strongly supports this separation. S race australis, with bluish neck, sometimes suggested to be a separate species, but differences are less marked than those of molybdophanes, in addition to which it appears genetically very similar to nominate and especially massaicus#R#R. Race †syriacus (Arabia), closely related to nominate#R, extinct probably since 1960s. NW populations (Río de Oro) previously separated in race spatzi on basis of different pattern and structure of pores in eggshells, but detected differences now attributed to individual variation#R#R#R. Three extant subspecies recognized.
Introduced to other parts of South Africa and locally in NW & SC Australia.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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