Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Turkestan Ground-jay (Podoces panderi)


French: Podoce de Pander German: Saxaulhäher Spanish: Arrendajo terrestre del Turquestán
Other common names: Pander's Ground-jay

Podoces Panderi

J. G. Fischer von Waldheim

, 1821,

Kyzylkum, Uzbekistan


See P. hendersoni. Birds from Transcaspia described as race transcaspius and those from E Kazakhstan (L Balkhash) as ilensis, but effects of bleaching and plumage wear render such forms of questionable validity. Treated as monotypic.


N & C Uzbekistan, S Kazakhstan and N & C Turkmenistan; also isolated population in E Kazakhstan (S of L Balkhash).

Descriptive notes

25 cm; 86–96 g. A small, striking corvid with slightly decurved, rather slim bill, relatively short, glossy black uppertail-coverts. Head, neck and upperparts are sandy... read more


Most frequently heard is a series of far-carrying, clear ringing notes, "chweek chweek chweek... read more


Sandy desert with small dunes and extensive bushy cover; notably associated with saxaul (... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous, but little studied. Takes variety of invertebrates and seeds of desert plants, grain and other plant materials. In winter diet... read more


Season protracted, nests with eggs found from late Feb to late May, optimum period seemingly late Mar and early Apr; single-brooded, but... read more


More or less sedentary, but family groups wander the desert throughout winter in search of food and... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common; rare in extreme E of range. Was described as common, in places even abundant, in Kyzul Kum and Kara Kum deserts in... read more

Recommended citation

Madge, S. (2020). Turkestan Ground-jay (Podoces panderi). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).