Hume’s Groundpecker (Pseudopodoces humilis)

Hume's Groundpecker singing in the Tibetan countryside

Hume’s Groundpecker singing in the Tibetan countryside

A bird of many names, the Hume’s Groundpecker (Pseudopodoces humilis) is or was alternatively called Ground Tit, Tibetan Ground Tit, Hume’s Ground Tit, Tibetan Ground Jay, and Hume’s Ground Jay. The birds are lark-sized and occur throughout the Tibetan Plateau of China, India, and Nepal. The species inhabits open alpine steppe, occasionally with some shrubs, but avoids densely vegetated areas. Almost its entire habitat is at altitudes above 3,000 m! True to its name, the birds spent most of their time on the ground where they search for their food including mainly small invertebrates. The prey is caught by probing through yak dung or soil with the long curved bill. In fact, they are very good in digging and also nest in excavated burrows wich can be more than 1 m deep! I have observed these little birds while hiking through the countryside around Yushu in the Qinghai Province of China during a journey in August 2015.

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