24 Apr 2017

King Jird near Tanoumah – Asir Mountains

Whilst birding the Tanoumah area in April 2017 I came across a King Jird Meriones rex. The animal was making a squeaking sound reminiscent of a bird, so I was looking in a small bush when Phil Roberts who was with me pointed out the Jird on the rocks below where I was looking. It ran along a row of rocks along the edge of a small cultivated field before disappearing into a hole and not reappearing. The King Jird occurs in the highlands of the southwestern Arabian Peninsula, from near Mecca in Saudi Arabia south to near Aden in Yemen. In Saudi Arabia the species has been reported from 1,350 to 2,200 metres above sea level. This jird occurs lives in large burrows amongst bushes, preferring raised areas bordering agricultural land. It is active in the evening and early morning. It lives in burrows which it shares with other rodents and lizards. They are reported as common throughout their range. Although  have seen the King Jird on a number of occasions this is the first time I have seen one properly and also the first time I have managed to get a photo of one. Normally they are seen briefly disappearing down their burrows.
King Jird Meriones rex

King Jird Meriones rex

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