11 November 2019

King Jird – Talea Valley

Whilst birding the Talea Valley near Abha in October 2019 I came across a single King Jird Meriones rex. The animal was seen briefly running through some grasses and fortunately stopped partially hidden before bolting down its burrow. The King Jird in endemic to Arabia and 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 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 I have seen the King Jird on a number of occasions they are difficult to photograph as they are normally seen briefly disappearing down their burrows.
King Jird