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Widespread throughout Europe and temperate Asia; scarce winter visitor to northwest Africa. Sedentary or short-distance migrant; vacates colder northern areas in winter. Occurs from sea level, to a maximum of 4,000 m altitude in the Himalaya.
R. r. sikkimensis: Himalaya of Nepal to south-eastern Tibet and western China
R. r. japonensis: mountains of Manchuria to northern and eastern China, Korea and Japan
R. r. yunnanensis: mountains of western China (southern Gansu and Shaanxi to Sichuan and Yunnan)
The subspecies differ in colour tone (R. r. coatsi the palest, R. r. yunnanensis the darkest), and the width and intensity of the black crown border. In most, the black border does not extend across the forehead, but it does in R. r. teneriffae (as also in Firecrest). In R. r. tristis, the body plumage is greyer, and the crown border is grey-brown, not black (see right).