J. R. Forster, 1781,
no locality = Sri Lanka.
Geographical variation complex and inadequately described, with many intermediate populations in SE Asia; review needed. Morphological and plumage analyses suggest races may represent four or five species, but precise boundaries unclear. Nominate race sometimes separated as a monotypic species, differing in several characters from other Indian races, but almost all of these characters shared with subspecies farther E. Taxa siebersi and exul very distinct in plumage and may constitute a separate species#R. Race speciosus suggested, on basis of its deep scarlet colour, to merit species-level treatment (perhaps also involving fraterculus, andamanensis and semiruber)#R, but this appears untenable. Philippine taxa may represent one or more additional species, but further work required; nigroluteus originally named neglectus, but latter name preoccupied; birds on Bohol (SC Philippines) of unconfirmed racial identity, presumed to belong with leytensis. Populations placed in fraterculus were previously listed as race elegans; but type locality of elegans (Sadiya, in NE Assam) subsequently reckoned to fall within range of speciosus, the two names being synonyms, and leaving fraterculus as name for populations from S Assam to Hainan. Birds on Hainan (type locality of fraterculus) possibly indistinguishable from fohkiensis; if so, name bakeri is available for mainland populations currently included in fraterculus. Proposed race suchitrae (W & SW Myanmar E to C & S Indochina) indistinguishable from semiruber. Nineteen subspecies currently recognized.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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