Until recently considered conspecific with S. hortensis, but differs in its more clearly demarcated slaty crown and paler mantle and back (2); whiter underparts (1); slightly larger size including longer bill (effect size for bill 2.41, score 2); and different song, involving greater length of phrase (at least 2), number of notes per phrase (ns), higher maximum number (five vs two) of repetitions of same note (3), and number of different note types per phrase (ns). Form balchanica of dubious validity, perhaps part of a cline#R. Three subspecies currently recognized.
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