Common stonechat

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Common stonechat is the name used for the Saxicola species Saxicola torquatus when this is treated in its broad sense.

It is, however, now more widely considered to be a superspecies consisting of several related but distinct species,[1] which are outwardly fairly similar but genetically distinct and replacing each other geographically without significant hybridisation:[2][3][4]

Three other species, not previously included within the broad view of common stonechat, have also been shown to be members of the superspecies:[2][5]

Species status possible,[2] but not yet verified:

  • Ethiopian stonechat Saxicola (torquatus) albofasciatus

Not all of the above are currently recognised as full species by all of the relevant taxonomical authorities, for example the British Ornithologists' Union,[6] currently include stejnegeri as a subspecies of Saxicola maurus.[7]


  1. ^ IOC World Bird List and references cited therein
  2. ^ a b c Urquhart, E., & Bowley, A. (2002): Stonechats. A Guide to the Genus Saxicola. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6024-4
  3. ^ Woog, F., Wink, M., Rastegar-Pouyani, E., Gonzalez, J., & Helm, B. (2008). Distinct taxonomic position of the Madagascar stonechat (Saxicola torquatus sibilla) revealed by nucleotide sequences of mitochondrial DNA. J. Ornithol. 149: 423–430. Full text
  4. ^ Zink, R.M., Pavlova, A., Drovetski, S. V., Wink, M., & Rohwer, S. (2009). Taxonomic status and evolutionary history of the Saxicola torquata complex. Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution 52: 769-773. Abstract.
  5. ^ Illera, J. C., Richardson, D. S., Helm, B., Atienza, J. C., & Emerson, B. C. (2008). Phylogenetic relationships, biogeography and speciation in the avian genus Saxicola. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 1145-1154. Full text.
  6. ^ The British List
  7. ^ BOU Records Committee [1], September 2011.