A member of a species group that contains also S. whiteheadi, S. ledanti, S. krueperi, S. villosa and S. yunnanensis. Present species formerly treated as conspecific with S. whiteheadi and S. villosa; close relationship with these two supported by recent molecular data, which indicate that all three form a sister-clade to S. krueperi and S. ledanti, with a genetic distance of c. 10% between the two clades. Monotypic.
SE Alaska (E from Kodiak I) and S Canada (S from S Yukon, including Queen Charlotte Is and Vancouver I, N Saskatchewan and C Manitoba, and E to SC Quebec, S Labrador and Newfoundland, including islands of Prince Edward, Anticosti, and St Pierre and Miquelon), S in W USA (absent much of E Washington) to mountains in California (excluding immediate coast, but breeds irregularly on Santa Cruz I) and Rocky Mts and Great Basin from W & S Montana (also isolated forests in E) S to C & W Colorado, E Arizona and S New Mexico, also W South Dakota (Black Hills) and irregularly SW North Dakota and N Nebraska; in E, breeds S to NE & E Minnesota, N Wisconsin, S Michigan, NE Ohio, C Pennsylvania, N New Jersey and N Connecticut, extending S in Appalachian Mts to E Tennessee and W North Carolina. Irruptive during non-breeding period, reaching some years extreme S California, S Arizona and S New Mexico, S Texas, Gulf Coast and N Florida.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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