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Turkestan Ground Jay - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Alastair Rae
Uzbekistan, May 2007

Alternative names: Pander's Ground-Jay; Saxaul Jay; Grey Ground-Jay; Pander's Ground-Chough

Podoces panderi


25cm. A small, distinctive corvid:

  • Sandy grey head, neck and upperparts
  • Whitish throat
  • Black on lores
  • Black patch on centre of breast
  • Rosy grey underparts, whitish on undertail-coverts
  • Black and white wings
  • Glossy black tail
  • Black, slim and slightly decurved bill
  • Dark brown eye
  • Pale greyish legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles have a pinkish-grey bill.

Similar species

Similar to Iranian Ground-Jay but note grey head and mantle. Ranges don't overlap.


Found in steppes south of Lake Aral in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. An isolated population near Lake Balkhash in eastern Kazakhstan.
Has decreased considerably in the last decades but still locally common.


Forms a species pair with Iranian Ground-Jay.


Sandy desert with dunes and bushes, particularly saxaul bushes.


Feeds on insects, seeds, grain and other plant material. Stores food.
Usually seen in piars or in families of up to 6 birds.
Breeding season from March to April. Pairs stay together all year. The nest is a dome of twigs which protects a well-constructed bowl of twigs and rootlets. It's placed in a bush up to 1m (rarely higher) above the ground. Lays 4 -5 eggs.
Resident but small groups may wander around in winter.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  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

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