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Pleske's Ground Jay - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Persian Ground-Jay; Iranian Ground-Jay; Pleske's Ground-Chough; Pleske's Groundpecker

Photo by Shahrzad
Semnan, Iran, April 2019
Podoces pleskei


Photo by Seyed Babak Mus
Near Shahre babak, Iran, April 2006

24cm (9½ in). A small, distinctive corvid:

  • Warm sandy buff plumage
  • Whitish on throat and undertail-coverts
  • Black lores, extending as Post-ocular streak
  • Black patch at centre of lower throat
  • Glossy black tail
  • Black and white wings
  • Dark brown eye
  • Black, slim and slightly decurved bill

Sexes similar, juveniles poorly documented.


Endemic to eastern Iran.
Locally numerous but nowhere common.


This is a monotypic species[1].
Forms a species pair with Turkestan Ground-Jay.


Steppes and sandy desert plains, particularly where zygophyllum grows. Occurs at 900 - 2000m.



Feeds in spring mainly on insects. Later in the year takes also grains and seeds. Known to hide food.
Usually seen in pairs or in families of up to 6 birds.


The breeding season starts in March. They build a spherical nest, camouflaged by a layer of interwoven twigs, among small shrubs. 3-6 pale blue-green eggs are laid. Only the female incubates, for 17-19 days, and the male feeds her while she is on the nest. The chicks grow fast, two weeks after hatching they are feathered.


A resident species with some dispersal movements in winter.


Call: 'pee-pee-pee-pee-pee'


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  3. Birdforum Member observations

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