Eritrea has a bird list of over 500 species but there has been little ornithological activity for some thirty or forty years. Sadly, long running disputes with Ethiopia and political instability have impacted habitat and species adversely as well as limiting opportunities for visiting birders.
Eritrea borders Djibouti, Ethiopa and Sudan and has a Red Sea coastline which also includes a large number of islands. The climate is hot and dry in the desert strip along the Red Sea coast, cooler and wetter in the central highlands.
Five biomes are found in Eritrea and each holds significant species only found in that biome: Sahara-Sindian in which Spotted Sandgrouse and White-crowned Black Wheatear are found; Sahel with Yellow-breasted Barbet and Black Scrub-Robin; Sudan-Guinea Savanna with Bush Petronia and Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver; Afrotropical Highlands with Black-winged Lovebird and White-cheeked Turaco and Somali-Masai with Hemprich's Hornbill, Rosy-patched Shrike and Ruppell's Weaver.
Of particular significance are large congregations of breeding and wintering seabirds on the Dehalak Archipelago, at other offshore islands and along the coast. There are also large concentrations of breeding and wintering waders including Crab-Plover. Its geography and range of habitats make Eritrea an important stop-over location for many species of Palearctic migrants including warblers, waterbirds and raptors. Some authorities consider Blue Saw-wing which is only found in Eritrea to be a separate species.
Text supplied by the African Bird Club
Crab Plover © Carlo Galliani, from the surfbirds galleries