Previously considered conspecific with P. murina. Races cineracea and griseiventris sometimes considered to represent two additional species, but differences although striking are few, and they intergrade with other races. Races rossikowi and caspica sometimes treated as synonyms of nominate, but further research on range of variation within nominate (and probably europaea) required; alternatively, when rossikowi is recognized (as here) then caspica is only doubtfully separable#R. Nominate race intergrades over wide areas with europaea in SC Europe and with cassinii and griseiventris in E Asia, populations of large and small individuals merging in somewhat clinal manner; several additional races proposed on basis of small differences in plumage tones of face, upperparts and underparts, and wing measurements, e.g. coccinea (described from Baden, in SW Germany), germanica (Thuringia, in EC Germany) and paphlagoniae (near Bolu, in NW Turkey), all synonymized with nominate, kurilensis (Kuril Is) with cassinii, and rosacea (from Yokohama, in E Honshu, in Japan) and exorientis (lower R Amur) treated as synonyms of griseiventris. Some regional variation within pileata: birds from Ireland paler than those in S England, and males in W & C Scotland slightly darker and females paler or greyer than corresponding sexes in C England. Race europaea often misspelt europoea (as in HBW) but original spelling recently confirmed with help of magnification#R. Nine subspecies recognized.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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