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Breeds in Iberia and France east to the Baltic States, Belarus and Ukraine, Balkans and Greece, much of Turkey and the Caucasus. Also breeds in scattered outposts around edges of main range in south-east England (more rarely in central and northern England), Denmark and southern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, in North-West Africa and in scattered parts of the Middle East. In the Mediterranean breeds on Sicily and small numbers have bred on Corsica since the 1980s.
Resident in the south and some birds resident in Britain and Central Europe, but further north and east migratory, wintering chiefly around the Mediterranean and in the Middle East.
Several separable races occur in the region differing mainly in extent of black/grey in plumage of male. They fall into 2 groups, the largely black western races and the red-bellied birds from the east.
Found on cliffs, rocky slopes, screes and boulder-strewn areas from sea-level up to the snowline. Formerly confined to rocky areas on coasts and in mountains but has adapted to living alongside man and has spread into many lowland areas. Now breeds widely in villages and towns and on patches of waste-ground, railway yards and similar areas in many large cities.
The diet includes insects, spiders, worms, berries and seeds.
It nests in crevices or holes in buildings.
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