Asir magpie

The Asir magpie (Pica asirensis), also known as the Arabian magpie, is a highly endangered species of magpie endemic to Saudi Arabia. It is only found in the country's southwestern highlands, in the Asir Region. It occurs only in African juniper forest in well-vegetated wadis and valleys. It was formerly classified as a subspecies of the Eurasian magpie (Pica pica), and still is by many authorities.[2] This species is highly threatened by habitat destruction, as its native forests are not regenerating. Tourism development and climate change are also posing a threat. Only 135 pairs (270 mature individuals) are known to survive in the wild, and this number is declining.[1]

Asir magpie
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Genus: Pica
P. asirensis
Binomial name
Pica asirensis
Bates, 1936

A molecular phylogenetic study published in 2018 found that the Asir magpie was sister to the black-rumped magpie that is found on the Tibetan Plateau.[3]


  1. BirdLife International (2017). "Pica asirensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  2. Madge, S.; Kirwan, G.M. (2018). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Asir Magpie (Pica asirensis)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  3. Song, S.; Zhang, R.; Alström, P.; Irestedt, M.; Cai, T.; Qu, Y.; Ericson, P.G.P.; Fjeldså, J.; Lei, F. (2017). "Complete taxon sampling of the avian genus Pica (magpies) reveals ancient relictual populations and synchronous Late-Pleistocene demographic expansion across the Northern Hemisphere". Journal of Avian Biology. 49 (2): 1–14. doi:10.1111/jav.01612.
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