Ethiopia has rightly become one of Africa`s leading birding destinations. Its avifauna represents an interesting mixture of east and west African, Palearctic and some strikingly unusual endemic components. In addition to more than 800 species of birds, of which a staggering 29 are endemic to Ethiopia and its neighbour Eritrea, Ethiopia has a number of peculiar mammals, and a scenic diversity and cultural uniqueness that are hard to equal.

The highlands, which dominate the country, are bisected by the Rift Valley, and fall away to arid desert and bushlands in the north, south and east, and to moister Guinea woodland in the west. For birders, the most popular access to really high altitude is the Bale Mountains National Park. Highland endemics such as Spot-breasted Lapwing and Rouget`s Rail occur alongside spectacular giant lobelias and Ethiopian wolves. Other widespread highland endemics include Blue-winged Goose, Ethiopian Siskin, Wattled Ibis, and Abyssinian Longclaw.

Ethiopian forest endemics, accessible at such forest patches as those at Wondo Genet (central highlands) and Debre Libanos (northern highlands) include Yellow-fronted Parrot, Black-winged Lovebird, Abyssinian Slaty-Flycatcher, Abyssinian Black-headed Oriole, Banded Barbet and, in Juniper-Hagenia forest at higher altitude, White-backed Black Tit, Abyssinian Catbird, White-cheeked Turaco and Abyssinian Woodpecker.

The Rift Valley, punctuated by several large lakes, offers few endemics but very diverse and enjoyable woodland birding. Some of the several excellent birding sites here are Lake Langano, Awash National Park and Nechisar National Park, offering amongst many others such great birds as African Swallow-tailed Kite, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Arabian Bustard, Somali Fiscal and Gillett's Lark, Red-winged Bush Larks and Singing Bush Larks.

In the south of the country, high diversity and endemicity combine to offer absolutely superb birding. Sought-after specials include the endemic Prince Ruspoli`s Turaco, White-tailed Swallow, Stresemann's Bush Crow and Sidamo and Degodi Larks, as well as a number of dryland species shared with far northern Kenya and Somalia.

Ideally one needs to rent a four-wheel-drive to do a visit to Ethiopia justice, although it is possible to fly to many areas, including the historically fascinating north. The best months to visit are October-December, and over 500 species can be recorded on a thorough three-week trip.

Text courtesy of African Bird Club (info@africanbirdclub.org).

White-backed Duck

White-backed Duck © Nick Borrow, from the surfbirds galleries

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Showing the 26 Most Recent Trip Reports Posted

Ethiopia - August - September 2018, author Greg Roberts (added October 8, 2018)
(Northern highlands, Rift Valley, Bale Mountains, southern dry country. Key species included Masked Lark, Liben Lark, Egyptian Plover, White-winged Flufftail, Red-billed Pytilia, Black-fronted Francolin)

Ethiopia - Jan 2011, author Rockjumper Birding Tours (link created March 7, 2011)

Ethiopia - December 06 to January 07, author Mark Sutton (added March 25, 2007)

Ethiopia - January 2011, author Scott Bowers (link created March 2, 2011)

Ethiopia - 22nd November - 8 December 2014, author Alex Bevan (added March 14, 2015)
(Ankober Serin, Harwood's Francolin, Salvadori’s Seedeater)

Ethiopia - February - March 2011, author John van der Woude (link created March 1, 2014)
(Ankober, Awash, Bale, Negele, Yabello, Awassa, Wondo Genet - Ankober Serin, Sombre Rock Chat, Hartlaub's Bustard, Spot-breasted Plover, Prince Ruspoli's Turaco, White-tailed Swallow, Spotted Creeper)

Ethiopia – endemics, near endemics and hard to find species - 14th May - 4th June 2017, author Stephen Blaber (added June 28, 2017)
(highlands, Bale Mts, central lakes, southern border regions)

Ethiopia - Endemics I Jan 17, author Rockjumper Birding Tours (link created June 13, 2017)
(Ethiopia, Lalibela, Rift Valley, Sanetti Plateau, Clapperton's Francolin, Rupell's Robin-Chat, Quailfinch, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Moorland Francolin, Red-and-yellow Barbet, Somali Short-toed Lark, Hunter's Sunbird, African Spo)

Ethiopia - Endemics II Jan-Feb 17, author Rockjumper Birding Tours (link created June 13, 2017)
(Ethiopia, Great Rift Valley, Lake Cheleleka, Ruspoli's Turaco, Secretarybird, Abyssinian Owl, Nile Valley Sunbird, Long-crested Eagle, Black-crowned Crane, Golden-breasted Starling, Abyssinian Roller, Three-banded Courser, Stresemann's Bushcrow)

Ethiopia: 15 May - 03 June 2016, author Catherine McFadden (added July 30, 2016)
(Jemma Valley, Debra Libanos, Awash NP, Bishangari, Rift Valley, Bale Mtns NP, Negele, Yabello)

Ethiopia - Full Circuit Including the South - March 2008, author Ken Behrens (link created July 22, 2008)
(Salvadori's Serin, Prince Ruspoli's Turaco, Harwood's Francolin, Ankober Serin, White-tailed Swallow)

Ethiopia - 29th January - 19th February 2011, author Wendy Newnham (added July 14, 2011)
(Wondo Genet, Negele, Yabello, the Rift Valley, Debre Birhan & the Awash NP)

16 days in Ethiopia: 25th December 2013 - 9th January 2014, author Mike Hunter (added February 10, 2014)

Ethiopia - 16th April - 1st May 2011, author Graham Talbot (link created December 4, 2012)
(During the last few years two site guides and a new identification guide have been published which together with improved logistics have opened up the country to independent travellers.)

Ethiopia (Central) Nov-Dec 2018, author Pritam Baruah (link created December 31, 2018)
( Addis Ababa, Sululta Plain, Debre Libanos, Jemma Escarpment & Valley, Ankober Escarpment, Melka Ghebdu & Afar Plains, Aledeghi Wildlife Reserve, Awash National Park and Debre Zeit lakes (Bishoftu))

Ethiopia - December 22nd 2010 – January 12th 2011, author Peter Collaerts (link created December 2, 2012)

Ethiopia on a budget - 27th October - 9th November 2012, author Jens Thalund (added December 11, 2012)
(Ankober, Melka Ghebdu, Gambela, Metu, Gibe Gorge, Awash, Lake Ziway)

Ethiopia, November, author Surfbirds Admin (added August 26, 2004)

Ethiopia (with Naturetrek), 22nd February - 1st March 2003, author Surfbirds Admin (added August 26, 2004)

Ethiopia, a birding tour with Naturetrek 14th-23rd November 2003, author Surfbirds Admin (added August 26, 2004)

Ethiopia - birding "the Roof of Africa" - 20 March - 8 April 2011 , author Chris Lotz, Birding Ecotours (added April 28, 2011)

Ethiopia - Gambela, Metu, Yayu - February 23 – March 3, 2011, author Sander Bot (added April 17, 2012)

Ethiopia: endemics, eggs and dust - 19th January - 9th February 2008, author Allan Drewitt (added April 16, 2008)
(Bale Mountains, Ruspoli's Turaco, Stresemann's Bushcrow, Ankober Serin, Salvadori's Serin)

Ethiopia Nov-Dec 2011, author Rockjumper Birding Tours (link created April 11, 2012)

Ethiopia I Jan 2011, author Rockjumper Birding Tours (link created April 11, 2012)

Ethiopia II Jan-Feb 2011, author Rockjumper Birding Tours (link created April 11, 2012)