Has sometimes been considered conspecific with B. oreophilus, B. trizonatus and also B. brachypterus, and until recently included B. japonicus and B. refectus; closely related to all five, and possibly also to B. jamaicensis and B. ventralis. B. japonicus weakly distinct morphologically from B. buteo and B. refectus#R#R, more so vocally#R and strongly so genetically#R. B. refectus (under the name burmanicus; confusion over correct name now resolved#R#R) separated from B. b. vulpinus on account of size, plumage and vocal differences#R, and this now supported by molecular evidence#R. Has hybridized with B. lagopus in Norway#R and Finland#R, with B. rufinus cirtensis in Strait of Gibraltar region (S Spain)#R, and with B. jamaicensis (escaped captive)#R. Form vulpinus may be approaching species threshold (in which case with menetriesi as a race). Island form bannermani found in one study to be genetically closer to B. socotraensis and B. rufinus#R, and sometimes placed with one or other of those#R (see also B. socotraensis). Some other island races poorly defined and possibly better rejected; thus, rothschildi often subsumed within insularum, harterti within nominate, and arrigonii within pojana. Suggested separation of Spanish population as hispaniae#R generally not accepted. Nine subspecies recognized.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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