Type species in a complex whose taxonomy remains unresolved, with badly needed research hampered by wide distribution, highly reclusive behaviour and (at least partly) migratory habits (which render identity of samples uncertain) of the target taxa. Until late 1990s considered conspecific with Z. aurea, and often with several other phenotypically very similar species (including Z. lunulata, Z. heinei and Z. machiki); HBW maintained Z. aurea as a subspecies pending clarification of certain subspecific relationships, but progress has been slow except for increasing body of acoustic evidence on which the arrangement here is based; nonetheless, identity of birds in SE Asia (present species or Z. aurea) remains unclear. Song of Z. major close to that of present species#R, but evidence now tilts balance in favour of splitting these two taxa. Song of breeding birds on Taiwan assigns them to Z. aurea; newly described iriomotensis on Iriomote (S Ryukyu Is) likewise placed with Z. aurea, though song remains unknown. Monotypic.
W Himalayas (from extreme NE Pakistan) E to Assam, SC China (Sichuan S to Yunnan and Guangxi), W & N Myanmar, N & W Thailand and N Indochina (status unknown in S Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia)#R; non-breeding mainly in Himalayan foothills, lowlands of NE Indian Subcontinent, S China and SE Asia.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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