Status and distribution Common and widepread in Iberia, southern France and Italy, parts of the Balkans and most of Turkey. Also breeds very patchily in central & northern France, North-West & Central Europe, and from north Germany and south Sweden east to the southern Urals, Caspian and Caucasus. Isolated populations in North-West Africa and in the Near East and recently bred for the first time on Malta.
A summer visitor almost throughout but apparently resident populations in Greece and Crete. Winters in the extreme south-east of Region and in the Sahel zone of Africa, southern Arabia and northern India.
Annually recorded in Britain with 20-30 in some years, but numbers of records have declined in recent years. Most occur on the south coast in late Aug-mid Oct. Elsewhere vagrants recorded in Iceland and Ireland, Norway and Finland.
Subspecies Nominate race occurs throughout Western Palearctic range, Central Asian race griseus is a passage migrant and probably rare winter visitor to Egypt and Middle East, possibly a vagrant to Britain, differs from nominate in slightly smaller size with shorter wings and bill and plainer, greyer plumage.
Habitat Usually dry, sunny areas on heaths, roadsides and cultivated land. Also found in newly cut woodlands, sand-dunes, vineyards and dry hillsides. In North-West Africa found in Atlas Mts above the treeline.