Projects

Our activities focus primarily on the scientific studies on biology and ecology of the endangered species of birds, bird and wetland conservation, public educations, bird surveys related with a proposed infrastructures such as wind farming and power lines.

Research on biology and ecology of Mongolian ground Jay Podoces hendersoni in southern Mongolian Gobi

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The Henderson's ground jay or Mongolian ground jay (Podoces hendersoni) is a species of bird in the family Corvidae, where there are four species namely: Podoces biddulphi, Podoces hendersoni, Podoces panderi and P. pleskei (Radnezhad et al., 2011; Londei, 2013). It is found in arid areas of Central Asia (Mongolia, northern China and adjacent areas of Russia and Kazakhstan) and is of “least concern” globally under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species but holds a regional status of “vulnerable” with less than 10,000 individuals in Mongolia (BirdLife International, 2016; Gombobaatar and Monks, editors, 2011). 

The Mongolian Gobi is home to the Mongolian ground jay. The Henderson’s ground jay is distributed in whole gobi desert in Mongolia (Batsaikhan and Stubbe, 2008).  The previous studies of Mongolian ground jay reveal that eggs hatch around April/May and build a nest on a tree 20-140 cm above the ground and would usually lay 3-4 eggs in late April or early May (Ilyashenko, 2018). Human activity in the Gobi has certainly affected wildlife population numbers and how they can use the landscape, with certain areas frequently traversed by livestock. Once expansive grasslands in Mongolia have been degraded by overgrazing, putting further pressure on already challenged native species as the ground jay. 

Surveys on nesting Mongolian Ground-jay were conducted from end of April to mid of May, between 2017 and 2019 in the Galba Gobi in Southern Mongolian, in the southeastern part of the species distribution area. A total of 274 nests, including 56 active and 218 old nests were found during the survey periods. A coloration and size of 32 eggs from 10 nests, as well as two downy plumages of nestlings (neoptile and juvenile plumulae), behavior of nestlings in nests and egg incubating and nestling feeding adults were described; the number of pairs in different habitats were determined. This research was carried out in three places in the Galba gobi in Southern Mongolia between end April to mid May, 2017 -2019. All three places were monitored by same method during the survey. It is known that ground jays build their nests inside Amygdalus mongolica—an almond bush that is listed as “Data Deficient” but subject to ex situ conservation under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Rhodes et al. 2016).