Comments: An examination of morphological variation by Thompson (1991b) indicated that recognition of the two nominal subspecies, PALLIDIOR and CIRIS, as currently defined, is not warranted. However, Thompson (1991b) suggested that the eastern population (breeds from North Carolina south to Florida) and the western population (breeds from Arizona, Kansas, and Missouri south to northern Mexico, southern Texas, southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and extreme western Florida) may be two distinct species. A phylogenetic, mitochondrial cytochrome-b study by Klicka et al. (2001) did not examine this relationship, but placed P. CIRIS and P. VERSICOLOR as sister species. LINARIA is an invalid generic name for North America buntings (Banks and Browning 1995).
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