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Xinjiang Ground Jay - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Biddulph's Ground-Jay; Sinkiang Ground-Jay; Tarim Ground-Jay; White-tailed Ground-Jay; Biddulph's Ground-Chough

Photo by Askar Isabekov
Takla-Makan desert, Xinjiang, western China, August 2016
Podoces biddulphi


26·7–31·2 cm (10½-12¼ in). A distinctive corvid:

  • Glossy black crown and nape
  • Lores and rest of head pale sandy
  • Blackish chin, upper throat and malar area
  • Sandy brown upperparts, darker brown on scapulars, rump and uppertail-coverts
  • Black and white wings
  • Pinkish sandy buff underparts
  • White tail
  • Dark brown eye
  • Black, gently decurved bill
  • Black legs
Photo by James Eaton
Taklimakan Desert, Tibet

Sexes similar. Juveniles have diffuse dusky markings on tail and the wings are dull black, not glossy.

Similar species

Similar to Mongolian Ground-Jay but note white tail and black on throat.


Endemic to the Taklimakan Desert in Xinjiang, China.
A restricted-range species with a serious population decline in the last decades.


This is a monotypic species[1].
Forms a species pair with Mongolian Ground-Jay and is sometimes included with the latter in the genus Eupodoces.


Sandy desert, scrub and desert poplar between 900 and 1200m.



Feeds omnivorous on seeds, grain and insects.
Usually seen in pairs or families of up to 6 birds. May be seen in human settlements.


Breeding season starts in late March. The nest is a bowl made of twigs and rootlets. It's placed low in a bush, rarely on ground. Lays 1 - 3 eggs.


A resident species.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. 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

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