- The Birds of the Highlands of South-West Saudi Arabia and adjacent parts of the Tihama: July 2010 (2010)
- The objective of the survey was to compare habitats and bird life in the Asir region, particularly Jebal Souda and the Raydah escarpment protected area of the Saudi Wildlife Commission, and adjacent regions of the tihama, with those observed in July 1987 (Jennings, et al., 1988). The two surveys were approximately the same length and equal amounts of time were spent in the highlands and on the tihama. A number of walked censuses were carried out during 2010 on Jebal Souda, using the same methodology as walked censuses in 1987, and the results are compared. Broadly speaking the comparison of censuses revealed that in 2010 there were less birds and reduced diversity on the Jebal Souda plateau, compared to 1987. However in the Raydah reserve the estimates of breeding bird populations compiled in the mid 1990s was little changed as far as could be assessed in 2010. The highland region of south-west Saudi Arabia, especially Jebal Souda, has been much developed since the 1987 survey and is now an important internal recreation and resort area. This has lead to a reduction in the region’s importance for terraced agriculture. These changes may be a contributing factor to changes in bird numbers on the plateau. Subsidiary tasks that arose during the 2010 survey were to help locate satellite tagged Bald Ibises Geronticus eremita from Syria which were transiting Saudi Arabia at the time. Secondly to search for the Asir subspecies of the Eurasian Magpie Pica pica asirensis, which is endemic to the south-west Saudi Arabia highlands, and is reported to be in decline. A separate team searching for the Bald Ibis located some individuals and one was found dead. Few Magpies were located and it seems clear that this very scarce bird has declined further in numbers in recent years. A number of interesting records of birds were obtained, especially on the tihama, where two new birds for Saudi Arabia were observed, Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala and Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis and one species, Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus was found breeding for the first time in the Arabian Peninsula. Some recommendations for the protection and management of the Raydah reserve are presented. A systematic list of all birds seen is provided.