Status and distribution Breeds in Iberia and Balearics, southern France and patchily in the Alps, much of Italy, Corsica and Sardinia, Sicily and Malta, east Adriatic to Greece and Greek islands. Also breeds in Turkey (except central & northern areas) to the Caucasus, in parts of the Middle East and in North Africa in Morocco, and northern parts of Algeria and Tunisia.
Most populations are altitudinal migrants to some extent but others move greater distances and becomes more widespread in winter in North Africa. Females tend to move further than males in autumn.
Vagrants recorded north to Belgium, Germany, Sweden and Finland, also recorded in Britain (5 records). It was long thought that only escaped individuals were likely to occur in Britain but the species has recently been admitted to full list.
Subspecies The nominate race solitarius occurs occurs over most of Western Palearctic range replaced by paler and greyer longirostris in north-east Iraq.
Habitat In mountains, on cliff-faces and in ravines, also on ruined buildings and in quarries and in some areas on rocky sea-cliffs. Generally at lower levels than M.saxatilis.