J. E. Gray, 1834,
Closest to F. rusticolus; genetic data indicate that these two, along with F. biarmicus and F. jugger, form a group of closely related species#R. Internal taxonomy very complicated and uncertain, especially with regard to populations of C Asia. Status of form altaicus controversial: has been considered a separate species, or a race of present species or of F. rusticolus, but often reckoned to be a morph of present species, or a hybrid between it and F. rusticolus now being swamped by back-crosses with F. c. milvipes; nevertheless, breeds significantly earlier than nearby populations of present species; currently included within milvipes; molecular analyses required. Described race progressus (EC Asia) apparently rather distinctive and may be valid, as perhaps may cyanopus (C & E Europe); form korelovi, very recently described from deserts E of Caspian Sea (replacing same authors’ aralocaspius, which is preoccupied), is here synonymized with coatesi, but further investigation desirable. Form saceroides, in the past sometimes considered a valid race, now thought to be intergrade (in SC Siberia) between W & E populations, but possibly an aberrant morph (identical individuals recorded also in W of species’ range). Four subspecies currently recognized.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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