China, Java and Malacca; error = Belgaum, Karnataka, India.
Sometimes considered conspecific with L. atricapilla and also, less often, with L. ferruginosa, the three taxa being vocally very similar. Formerly, hybrid zone between present species and L. atricapilla apparently existed in E peninsular India (NW Odisha S to NE Tamil Nadu); it is suggested that some intermediate-looking individuals may be plumage morphs of present species, as they occur also in Sri Lanka, well outside range of L. atricapilla. In a mixed captive group, these two species associated and paired assortatively; also, no interbreeding reported in Hong Kong, where escaped individuals of both breed in Mai Po marshes. Monotypic.
Peninsular India S from Gujarat, C Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, and Sri Lanka; recent regular records in SE Rajasthan#R. Introduced to Hawaiian Is, West Indies (Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Martinique), Middle America (Mexico S to Panama) and N South America (Colombia, Venezuela).
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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