Over the greater part of Europe this bird is a common breeding species. In Spain it is found in suitable localities which are few and far between, but it breeds near the mouth of the Guadalquivir, and also in the Balearic Islands, while it is very common in Portugal, but does not nest in Corsica and Sardinia. Throughout France, Belgium, and Holland it is generally distributed and abundant, and the same may be said of Denmark, but in Southern Sweden we reach its northern breeding limit at Lake Wener, nearly 59° N. lat.
To Germany it is a common summer visitor, though less plentiful in some of the eastern provinces, and in all suitable localities in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy it is numerous. In Switzerland we find it common and breeding even in the Alpine valleys at an altitude of 4,000 ft., and it also visits Italy and Sicily in large numbers, and is again numerous in many parts of the Balkan Peninsula, but has not been proved to breed in Greece. In Poland it is common, but the southern parts only of the Baltic Provinces are inhabited, and it is again common in the provinces of Volhynia, Kiev, Tchernigov, Poltava and Podolia, and occurs throughout Southern Russia generally, and probably also in the Crimea. From the northern slopes of the Caucasus there are no records, but on the southern slopes it has been found near Tiflis and Lenkoran, and it appears to visit Astrakhan and the Uralian Cossacks in large numbers.
There are also records of its occurrence from the Transcaspian Province, Turkestan, and the Altai Mountains.
In parts of Asia Minor it is not rare, and has bred in Cyprus, Baluchistan and Persia.
Of its winter quarters in Africa we have yet much to learn, but its range appears to be an extensive one, since it occurs as far south as Rhodesia, the Orange River Colony, and perhaps even Cape Colony.
It is also recorded at this season as visiting Greece, Asia Minor, Palestine, Persia and Ealuchistan.