Europe and America = Sweden.
Has often been treated as conspecific with some or all of S. nagaensis, S. cashmirensis, S. castanea, S. cinnamoventris and S. neglecta; until recently considered conspecific with S. arctica. Geographical variation complex. Races have been traditionally divided into buff-breasted “caesia group” (W Europe, N Africa and Middle East), white-breasted “europaea group” (N Palearctic from Scandinavia E to Japan, S to E Tien Shan and N China), and buff-breasted “sinensis group” (C & E China). Morphological studies of Asian populations, combined with DNA from many localities across range (excluding Turkey, the Levant, Iran and China), have revealed a more complex situation, and present treatment tentative, based on incomplete genetic screening#R#R: “europaea group” (now including “caesia group”), within which DNA reveals a European clade, as well as a separate one based on race caucasica (but other W Asian populations not sampled, so provisionally combined with European clade); Asian “asiatica group”, comprising white-bellied N forms and buff-bellied SE forms, which form a natural grouping (although some or all of Japanese forms may represent a distinct subgroup); and “sinensis group” of China (no DNA data). To complicate matters further, “europaea group” meets or overlaps with “asiatica group” in two small areas (S Urals, and lower basins of R Kama and R Vyatka), with hybridization reportedly limited and not significantly affecting the phenotype of adjacent “pure” populations; these two groups possibly represent distinct species. In addition, nominate and caesia intergrade over broad front from E Denmark E to Lithuania and W Belarus and S to W Ukraine, E Bulgaria and NW Turkey; birds in N Turkey are intermediate between caucasica and caesia/levantina; race amurensis intergrades with baicalensis in Amur Valley (SE Russia) and with sinensis in relatively narrow zone in NE Hebei (E China). Birds in Altay region of N Xinjiang (NW China) provisionally included in seorsa. Races baicalensis, sakhalinensis, clara and takatsukasai often merged with asiatica, and race formosana often synonymized with sinensis. Twenty-one subspecies currently recognized.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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