25 Nov 2019

Arabian Magpie – Tanoumah to Billasimer

The Arabian Magpie is the only truly endemic species in Saudi Arabia, meaning it is found in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and nowhere else in the world. It has a very restricted range (An Namas to 20 kilometres south of Billasimer) and very low number of birds and should probably be classified as Critically Endangered on Red Data list rather than its current Endangered status. We went to the southwest mountains in the hope of locating as many birds as we could. We saw twenty different birds at various locations and got some amazing views of a couple of them. Trying to photograph the species is difficult, as they are nervous and stay in valleys with steep sides, moving up the hillside quickly when disturbed. This trip we were lucky to see two birds close to the roadside and as we were in the car the birds were not afraid. One came down and fed near to a roadside skip allowing some good photos to be taken. We saw various groups of birds with the largest being seven individuals. On asking a local man near Billasmer he said the birds used to be common in years gone by but are now only seen occasionally, reflecting our personal field observations. The southernmost sighting we had of 20 kilometres south of Billasmer is the most southern record of the species in the last ten years as far as we are aware.
Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

Arabian Magpie

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