Ethiopia, November

Published by Surfbirds Admin (surfbirds AT


African Fish Eagle

Nick Ransdale

All images by Dean Smith. A bird tour by Naturetrek ( Leader Negussie Toye

With 342 bird species in under nine days, Ethiopia is an ideal destination for a short-range trip. With some 30 endemics, some African species difficult to see elsewhere, and many birds quite approachable, it makes for a birder and digiscoper's paradise. This was a Naturetrek £990 trip; "Ethiopia - A Birdwatching Tour", with details on their website. With this illustrated trip list I've added some information on species, etc that may be of use; it's a pretty concentrated trip.

Highlights were really too numerous to mention, but here's some personal favourites; Saddle-billed Stork, White-backed Duck, Little Sparrowhawk, Martial Eagle, 30 Wattled Cranes, Lesser Jacana, Narina's Trogon, Double-toothed Barbet, Half-collared Kingfisher, Abyssunian Ground Thrush, African Hill Babbler, Spotted Creeper, Somali Golden-breasted Bunting, African Firefinch, Red-headed Weaver, Violet-backed starling, Superb Starling and Thick-billed Raven.

White-collared PigeonWattled Ibis

Obviously not all of these are particularly rare. This trip list is an example what of what can be seen in November. Reference to other trip reports suggests we did pretty well overall; some things seem virtually guaranteed, e.g. five bustard species, others, typically owls, hit and miss. However, the chances seem good whichever way it goes; our trip was good, but a week after we left Awash, another group saw Arabian Bustard there.

Negussie Toye is an excellent guide. He worked tirelessly to get our group a good list - not easy whilst at Awash. There had been no rain there for eleven months; it was parched. Species were relatively hard to come by. Fortunately we seemed to compensate with exceptional birds elsewhere.

Grey KestrelBlack-crowned CraneBlack Heron

One potential problem was the high birder to guide ratio; our trip was full (16). In reality this rarely proved a problem, mainly because of the nature of the habitat. Only on one occasion, whilst on a steep, narrow trail at Wondo Genet did it prove frustrating. In fact, any species missed by anyone there were picked up later in the trip.


15/11 - Evening flight Heathrow to Addis via Rome.
1611 - Gefersa Reservoir.
17/11 - Addis to Awash, via Lake Chelekleka.
18/11 - Awash NP, including Kudu Valley and Awash River.
19/11 - Awash to Lake Langano, via Lake Ziway.
20/11 - Lake Langano, then to Wondo Genet via Lake Abijatta.
21/11 - Wondo Genet.
22/11 - Wondo Genet, then to Lake Awasa.
23/11 - Lake Awasa to Addis, via Lake Ziway, etc
24/11 - Addis local then midday flight to London.

Perhaps the ideal combination here would be "Ethiopian endemics" 10-day tour with 3-day Awash extension. This would cover most of the places we did, plus the Bale Mountains for Simien Wolf, Spot-breasted Plover, etc and Debre Libanos/Solulta Plains.

Species Lists

* = endemic

1. LITTLE GREBE T. ruficollis Good nos. in suitable habitat. 60+ Lake Chelekleka.

2. BLACK-NECKED GREBE P. nigricollis 1 juv. Lake Chelekleka.

3. GREAT WHITE PELICAN P. onocrotalus Small nos. Lakes Ziway, Abijatta, Awasa.

4. PINK-BACKED PELICAN P. rufescens Fairly common on Rift Valley lakes.

5. GREAT CORMORANT P. carbo Common Rift Valley lakes and Gefersa.

6. LONG-TAILED CORMORANT P. africanus Very common all suitable habitat.

7. DARTER A. m. rufa 1 Gefersa, 2 Lake Basaka, 2 on nest Lake Awasa.

8. SQUACCO HERON A. ralloides Common Rift Valley lakes.

9. BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON N. nycticorax c12 L.Awasa.

10. CATTLE EGRET B. ibis Common around cattle.

11. GREEN-BACKED HERON B. striatus 1 adult Awash Falls.

12. BLACK HERON E. ardesiaca Small nos. Lakes Ziway and Awasa.

13. GREAT WHITE EGRET E. alba Fairly common in suitable habitat. 2 Gefersa.

14. INTERMEDIATE EGRET E. intermedia Doubtless under-recorded but 2+ noted.

15. LITTLE EGRET E. garzetta Small nos. in all suitable habitat.

16. GREY HERON A. cinerea Fairly common Rift Valley lakes; 1 Gefersa.

17. BLACK-HEADED HERON A. melanocephala Strangely only 1 juv. recorded, on Lake Abijatta.

18. GOLIATH HERON A. goliath 1 Awash River, 3 L. Abijatta, 2 L. Awasa.

19. PURPLE HERON A. purpurea Only 1 recorded; L. Chelekleka.

20. HAMMERKOP S. umbretta Fairly common all wetlands.

21. SADDLE-BILLED STORK E. senegalensis A pair of these magnificent birds at Lake Ziway; an immature bird there on our return.

22. MARABOU L. crumeniferus Huge nos. in Rift Valley; 350+ L. Chelekleka, 500+ L. Awasa including large breeding colony.

23. YELLOW-BILLED STORK M. ibis Small nos. only; largest count 6 L. Abijatta.

24. SACRED IBIS T. aethiopica Very common and widespread, including Addis. 300+ in colony at L. Awasa.

25. *WATTLED IBIS B. carunculata 5+ Gefersa, fairly common Wondo Genet hotel grounds, etc.

26. HADADA B. hagedash 1 Gefersa, fairly common elsewhere in suitable habitat.

27. GLOSSY IBIS P. falcinellus 3 Gefersa, common Rift Valley lakes.

28. AFRICAN SPOONBILL P. alba 2 L. Abijatta, 2 L. Awasa.

29. GREATER FLAMINGO P. ruber 1 Gefersa, 10+ L. Abijatta.

30. LESSER FLAMINGO P. minor 20+ L. Chelekleka, 50+ L. Abijatta.

31. FULVOUS WHISTLING DUCK D. bicolour 30+ L. Awasa.

32. WHITE-FACED WHISTLING DUCK D. viduata 5+ L. Ziway, 50+ L. Awasa.

33. *BLUE-WINGED GOOSE C. cyanoptera 5 Gefersa. The blue wing-coverts rarely visible when at rest.

34. EGYPTIAN GOOSE A. aegyptiacus Very common everywhere except Wondo Genet, including in trees and on tall buildings in Addis.

35. SPUR-WINGED GOOSE P. gambensis 50+ L. Chelekleka, fairly common Rift Valley lakes.

36. COMB DUCK S. melanotos Common on Rift Valley lakes.

37. AFRICAN PYGMY GOOSE N. auritus 2+ L. Ziway, 10+ L. Awasa.

38. AFRICAN BLACK DUCK A. sparsa 2 Gefersa.

39. COMMON TEAL A. crecca 20+ Gefersa, 5+ L. Awasa.

40. YELLOW-BILLED DUCK A. undulata 10+ Gefersa, 2 L. Chelekleka. Probably under-recorded.

41. PINTAIL A. acuta 20+ Gefersa.

42. RED-BILLED TEAL A. erythrorhynchos 5 L. Chelekleka.

43. HOTTENTOT TEAL A. hottentota 5 L. Ziway, 20+ L. Awasa.

44. GARGANEY A. querquedula 3+ L. Chelekleka, 20+ L. Awasa.

45. SHOVELER A. clypeata 20+ Gefersa, fairly common Rift Valley lakes.

46. AFRICAN POCHARD N. erythrophthalma 1 male L. Ziway.

47. MACCOA DUCK O. maccoa 1 very elusive female-type L. Chelekleka.

48. WHITE-BACKED DUCK T. leuconotus Amazingly c15 of this strange little duck at L. Awasa.

49. BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE E. caeruleus Only 1 bird seen, near Awasa.

50. BLACK KITE M. migrans One of the commonest species seen. Large concentrations in towns.

51. AFRICAN FISH EAGLE H. vocifer Common everywhere along Rift Valley.

52. EGYPTIAN VULTURE N. percnopterus Total of 5 seen Rift Valley.

53. HOODED VULTURE N. monachus Very common and widespread.

54. AFRICAN WHITE-BACKED VULTURE G. africanus Common throughout, fortunately not sharing the fate of their Asian cousins.

55. RUPPELL'S GRIFFON G. ruppellii A total of 6 recorded, mostly in the Rift Valley.

56. LAPPET-FACED VULTURE T. tracheliotus A total of 3 seen Awash.

57. BLACK-CHESTED SNAKE EAGLE C. pectoralis 2 adults seen near L. Langano.

58. BANDED SNAKE EAGLE C. cinerascens 1 L. Awasa.

59. BATELEUR T. ecaudatus Only one sighting, an adult near Awash river.

60. AFRICAN HARRIER HAWK P. typus 4 birds seen Awash-Ziway; 1 very photogenic bird in gardens at Adama Restaurant, Nazeret.

61. MARSH HARRIER C. aeuginosus A total of 7 seen on Rift Valley lakes.

62. PALLID HARRIER C. macrourus A total of 6 seen Awash and northern Rift Valley.

63. MONTAGU'S HARRIER C. pygargus Only 1 ringtail seen near L. Langano.

64. DARK CHANTING GOSHAWK M. metabates Fairly common throughout.

65. AFRICAN LITTLE SPARROWHAWK A. minullus 1 adult Kudu Valley, Awash.

66. STEPPE BUZZARD B. b. vulpinus 1 Wondo Genet, probably adult as well marked and very rufous.

67. AFRICAN MOUNTAIN BUZZARD B. oreophilus 1 Wondo Genet. Reasonably distinctive; a very "earthy" grey/brown colour, no discernable rufous tones. Underbody dark and mottled.

68. AUGER BUZZARD B. auger Widespread roadside species, also Addis.

69. LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE A. pomarina 1 juv. c10 miles south of Addis. Possibly overlooked elsewhere.

70. TAWNY EAGLE A. rapax Assumed most aquilas to be Tawny. Some were obligingly "tawny"; a few bleached almost white.

71. STEPPE EAGLE A. nipalensis A total of 3 juveniles recorded. Adults undoubtedly missed.

72. VERREAUX'S EAGLE A. verreauxii 1 superb adult along main road north of Shashemene.

73. BOOTED EAGLE H. pennatus 1 pale morph adult near Gefersa.

74. LONG-CRESTED EAGLE L. occipitais Occasional roadside bird, but total of 5 on road to Awash.

75. MARTIAL EAGLE P. bellicous 1 imm. Wondo Genet, 1 adult north of Wondo Genet.

76. AFRICAN PYGMY FALCON P. semitorquatus Total 4 seen Awash-Langano.

77. COMMON KESTREL F. tinnunculus 1-2 seen most days. Widespread except Wondo Genet.

78. GREY KESTREL F. ardosiaceus 3 L. Awasa.

79. HOBBY F. subbuteo 1 imm. L. Awasa.

80. LANNER FALCON F. biarmicus 2 Awash.

81. PEREGRINE FALCON F. peregrinus 1 adult near L. Ziway.

82. CRESTED FRANCOLIN F. sephaena 5 Awash, 1+ near L. Langano.

83. SCALY FRANCOLIN F. squamatus 2+ Wondo Genet.

84. HELMETED GUINEA-FOWL N. meleagris total 65+ Awash, in small parties.

85. *ROUGET'S RAIL R. rougetii 1 Gefersa.

86. SPOTTED CRAKE P. porzana 1 L. Awasa.

87. BLACK CRAKE L. flavirostra 2-3 seen Rift Valley lakes; 4+ L. Awassa.

88. COMMON MOORHEN G. chloropus 2+ L. Ziway; 20+ L.Awasa.

89. PURPLE SWAMPHEN P. porphyrio 2 adults L. Awasa.

90. ALLEN'S GALLINULE P. alleni 2 adults L.Awasa.

91. RED-KNOBBED COOT F. cristata Fairly common all Rift Valley lakes. 3 Gefersa. 50+ L. Chelekleka.

92. WATTLED CRANE B. carunculatus Exactly 30 of these superb birds at L. Abijatta.

93. COMMON CRANE G. grus 10+ L. Chelekleka, 10+ L. Ziway.

94. BLACK-CROWNED CRANE B. pavonina 2 L. Chelekleka, 2 L. Abijatta, 2 L. Awasa.

95. KORI BUSTARD O. kori 1 Awash.

96. BUFF-CRESTED BUSTARD E. ruficrista 3 Awash.

97. WHITE-BELLIED BUSTARD E. senegalensis 4 Awash.

98. BLACK-BELLIED BUSTARD E. melanogaster 1 near L. Abijatta.

99. HARTLAUB'S BUSTARD E. hartlaubii 1 Awash.

100. LESSER JACANA M. capensis 1 L.Ziway.

101. AFRICAN JACANA A. africanus Common on Rift Valley lakes.

102. SPUR-WINGED PLOVER V. spinosus Common and widespread except Wondo Genet.

103. CROWNED PLOVER V. coronatus 1 L. Chelekleka, 10+ near L. Langano.

104. PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER P. fulva 20+ L. Abijatta.

105. RINGED PLOVER C. hiaticula 2 L.Abijatta, 1 L. Awasa.

106. LITTLE RINGED PLOVER C. dubius 2 Gefersa, 2-3 most Rift Valley lakes.

107. KITTLITZ'S PLOVER C. pecuarius 3 L. Abijatta.

108. THREE-BANDED PLOVER C. tricollaris 2 L. Awassa, 5 on tip near Addis airport.

109. BLACK-TAILED GODWIT L. limosa 2-3 on most Rift Valley lakes; c6 L.Awasa.

110. GREENSHANK T. nebularia 2-3 on most Rift Valley lakes; 4+ L. Awasa.

111. SPOTTED REDSHANK T. erythropus 1 L. Awasa.

112. MARSH SANDPIPER T. stagnatilis up to 6 on all Rift Valley lakes.

113. WOOD SANDPIPER T. glareola up to 6 on all Rift Valley lakes.

114. GREEN SANDPIPER T. ochropus 2 Gefersa; 2-3 on most Rift Valley lakes.

115. COMMON SANDPIPER A. hypoleucos 2 Gefersa; 2-3 on most Rift Valley lakes and rivers.

116. COMMON SNIPE G. gallinago 1-2 in most suitable habitat. Couldn't "string" African Snipe, but frequently tried!

117. CURLEW SANDPIPER C. ferruginea 3 L. Abijatta; 1 L. Awasa.

118. LITTLE STINT C. minuta 4+ Gefersa; small nos. all lakes; 50+ L. Abijatta.

119. TEMMINCK'S STINT C. temminkii 2 L. Awasa.

120. RUFF P. pugnax Large nos. on some lakes; 100+ L. Chelekleka, 100+ L. Abijatta.

121. BLACK-WINGED STILT H. himantopus 8+ Gefersa; highest count 30+ L. Abijatta.

122. AVOCET R. avosetta 4 L. Chelekleka; 1 L. Ziway and 1 L. Abijatta.

123. SENEGAL THICKNEE B. senegalensis Maximum count 10+ from road bridge near L. Koka.

124. COMMON PRATINCOLE G. pratincola 2 L. Awasa.

125. BLACK-HEADED GULL L. ridibundus 2 winter adults L. Chelekleka. Probably under-recorded.

126. GREY-HEADED GULL L. cirrhocephalus Small nos. Lakes Ziway, Abijatta and Awasa.

127. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL L. fuscus 1 L. Ziway; 4+ L. Abijatta.

128. GULL-BILLED TERN G. nilotica 20+ L. Chelekleka; small nos. on other Rift Valley lakes.

129. WHISKERED TERN C. hybrida Small nos. Lakes Ziway, Abijatta, Awasa.

130. WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN C. leucopterus Commonest tern; 50+ L. Chelekleka.

131. CHESTNUT-BELLIED SANDGROUSE P. exustus Common Awash; small parties also in Rift Valley.

132. LICHTENSTEIN'S SANDGROUSE P. lichtensteinii Awash only - max. no. 5.

133. *WHITE-COLLARED PIGEON C. albitorqes c6 Gefersa, 2 on tip near Addis airport.

134. SPECKLED PIGEON C. guinea Very common and widespread.

135. OLIVE PIGEON C. arquatrix Only 1 seen well, perched on dead tree at Wondo Genet.

136. PINK-BREASTED DOVE S. lugens Common Addis and the highlands. Dusky Turtle Dove describes the bird more aptly, possibly the drabbest strepopelia in the world!

137. RED-EYED DOVE S. semitorquata Common, widespread.

138. MOURNING DOVE S. decepiens Common, widespread.

139. RING-NECKED DOVE S. capicola somalica Only one sighting, Addis to Awash. Undoubtedly under-recorded. Also called Cape Turtle Dove, which is rather less confusing for Europeans.

140. LAUGHING DOVE S. senegalensis Common and widespread Rift Valley.

141. NAMAQUA DOVE O. capensis Only small nos. seen in Rift Valley.

142. BLUE-SPOTTED WOOD DOVE T. afer 3 near Wondo Genet.

143. BLACK-BILLED WOOD DOVE T. abyssinicus Total 7+ Awash.

144. LEMON DOVE A. larvata 2 seen well Wondo Genet.

145. BRUCE'S GREEN PIGEON T. waalia 4 Wondo Genet.

146. *YELLOW-FRONTED PARROT P. flavifrons 6+ both days at Wondo. Easily seen well in tall trees at Wondo Genet Resort.

147. ORANGE-BELLIED PARROT P. rufiventris Only seen Kudu Valley, Awash, where c4 seen well.

148. *BLACK-WINGED LOVEBIRD A. taranta Again, easily seen Wondo Genet Resort, where 6+ seen one day.

149. WHITE-CHEEKED TURACO T. leucotis 10+ seen both days Wondo; around the swimming pool being a good spot.

150. WHITE-BELLIED GO-AWAY-BIRD C. leucogaster Fairly common Awash and Langano.

151. BLUE-HEADED COUCAL C. monarchus Total of 3 seen Lake Awasa.

152. WHITE-BROWED COUCAL C. superciliosus 2 Awash.

153. WHITE-FACED SCOPS OWL O. leucotis 1 Awash, 2 Lake Langano, outside restaurant.

154. PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET G. perlatum 1 Kudu Valley, Awash. An abysmal trip for owls.

155. COMMON SWIFT A. apus 15+ Rift Valley, near Lake Langano.

156. NYANZA SWIFT A. niansae Only small nos. seen Addis and Gefersa; the higher altitude "common" swift.

157. HORUS SWIFT A. horus 1 fork-tailed "white-rumped" swift sp. seen near Lake Langano was assumed to be of this species; the white rump was certainly large enough.

158. PALM SWIFT C. parvus Small nos. seen Awash.

159. SPECKLED MOUSEBIRD C. striatus Common and widespread except at Awash.

160. BLUE-NAPED MOUSEBIRD U. macrourus 20+ on both days at Awash. Seems to replace above sp. in dry, arid habitat.

161. NARINA'S TROGON A. narina A total of 4 seen, inc. one pair, in pine-woods above Wondo.

162. PIED KINGFISHER C. rudis Frequently seen Rift Valley lakes; 1 also seen on tip near Addis airport.

163. MALACHITE KINGFISHER A. cristata Small nos. all Rift Valley lakes.

164. HALF-COLLARED KINGFISHER A. semitorquata 1 pair near swimming pool at Wondo, with 1 there again next day.

165. AFRICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER C. picta 1 adult in open riverine woodland near Lake Awasa.

166. WOODLAND KINGFISHER H. senegalensis Fairly common in all wooded areas around Rift Valley Lakes.

167. STRIPED KINGFISHER H. chelicuti Total of 3 seen in open woodland and bush around Langano.

168. GREY-HEADED KINGFISHER H. leucocephala Only seen near water; total 3 L. Awassa only.

169. CARMINE BEE-EATER M. nubicus nubicus Small nos. seen Awash, L. Ziway and southern Rift Valley lakes.

170. LITTLE BEE-EATER M. pusillus Good nos. seen everywhere except higher altitudes. Never seen with next sp. but difficult to separate by habitat preference. Possibly prefers a drier habitat.

171. BLUE-BREASTED BEE-EATER M. variegates 6+ L. Chelekleka area, 2+ Wondo.

172. ABYSSINIAN ROLLER C. abyssinica Common and widespread in all dry areas; not seen Wondo or high plateau.

173. LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER C. caudate lorti Only one sighting on main road north of Shashemene. Possibly overlooked but definitely not common on this trip. 'Lilac' confined to throat and cheeks.

174. RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER C. naevia 3 Awash, 2 Lake Langano.

175. BROAD-BILLED ROLLER E. glaucurus 2 Wondo, perched dollarbird-style high on a dead tree.

176. HOOPOE U. epops Frequently seen along the Rift Valley.

177. BLACK WOOD-HOOPOE P. aterrimus 2 L. Langano.

178. BLACK-BILLED WOOD-HOOPOE P. somaliensis 4 Kudu Valley, Awash; 3 L. Langano.

179. AFRICAN GREY HORNBILL T. nasutus Only 2 seen, Awash.

180. RED-BILLED HORNBILL T. erythrorhynchus 5+ seen Awash, 3 L. Langano. Hornbills seemed relatively scarce compared to other trip reports, presumably because of the drought.

181. VON DER DECKEN'S HORNBILL T. deckeni A pair at L. Langano gave good views.

182. YELLOW-BILLED HORNBILL T. flavirostris A few seen at Awash and Langano; max. 3 Awash.

183. HEMPRICH'S HORNBILL T. hemprichii 1 male south of Awash; 1 L. Langano.

184. SILVERY-CHEEKED HORNBILL B. brevis First seen Shashemene, where very common; Wondo Genet Resort is a great place to watch these monsters, also L Awasa.

185. ABYSSINIAN GROUND HORNBILL B. abyssinicus 4 near L. Langano, 3 L. Awasa..

186. DOUBLE-TOOTHED BARBET L. bidentatus c7 Wondo, first day; 2 next morning. Again, around the swimming pool was a favoured spot.

187. BLACK-BILLED BARBET L. guifsobalito 2 L. Langano, 1 road bridge near Lake Koka.

188. *BANDED BARBET L. undatus 2 Wondo Genet; one around swimming pool.

189. RED-FRONTED BARBET L. diadematus 1 Awash, 4+ L. Langano, inc. 1 juv.

190. RED-FRONTED TINKERBIRD P. pussillus 1 L. Langano, 1 L. Awasa, both adults.

191. YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD P. chrysoconus 1 adult seen well Wondo Genet.

192. GREATER HONEYGUIDE I. indicator 1 adult Awash.

193. LESSER HONEYGUIDE I. minor 1 Wondo, near swimming pool.

194. EASTERN GREEN-BACKED HONEYBIRD P. zambesiae 1 adult Wondo. Much smaller than previous species; better illustrated by Zimmerman et al.

195. WRYNECK J. torquilla 1 L. Langano.

196. NUBIAN WOODPECKER C. nubica 1 Kudu Valley, Awash; 2 L. Langano.

197. CARDINAL WOODPECKER D. fuscenscens Only 2 seen Awash and Langano; both looked bright and "olivey" so presumeably ssp. lepidus.

198. GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER D. spodocephalus 2 Kudu Valley, Awash; total 3 Langano; 1 Wondo Genet. One of three species within the 'superspecies' Grey/Grey-headed/Olive Woodpecker group, now split by most authorities [ Dendropicos goertae, D. spodocephalus, D. griseocephalus ] All very confusing, and no relation to our Eurasion Grey-headed Woodpecker, Picus canus!

199. BEARDED WOODPECKER D. namaquus 1 Kudu Valley, Awash; 1 pair near restaurant, L. Langano.

200. SINGING BUSHLARK M. cantillans One small flock of 6+ Awash.

201. FAWN-COLOURED LARK M. africanoides Singles seen Awash, Langano, Awasa.

202. RED-CAPPED LARK C. cinerea 1 on tip near Addis airport, with Longclaws. A high altitude version of "our" Short-toed Lark.

203. CHESTNUT-BACKED SPARROW-LARK E. leucotis Small flocks seen L. Chelekleka and Awash.

204. SAND MARTIN R. riparia Only 2 seen amongst African Sand Martins, Lake Awasa.

205. AFRICAN SAND MARTIN R. paludicola Seen in large nos. at all Rift Valley lakes; thousands at L. Awasa.

206. BARN SWALLOW H. rusticola As above species, but also at high altitude, eg Addis.

207. WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW H. smithii Total of 4 seen, including 2 at road bridge near L. Koka.

208. RED-RUMPED SWALLOW H. daurica Small nos. seen throughout.

209. AFRICAN ROCK MARTIN H. fuligula Only 4 seen near Wondo Genet.

210. *BROWN SAW-WING P. antinorii 1 seen well with two African Rock Martins above Wondo Genet.

211. YELLOW WAGTAIL M. flava Common and widespread in most habitats, including dense, dry acacia bush. Ssp. beema predominant, but also flava, with feldegg in small nos. near Rift Valley lakes. Common also at high altitudes; Gefersa and Addis.

212. GREY WAGTAIL M. cinerea 2 Gefersa, 2 Wondo Genet.

213. MOUTAIN WAGTAIL M. clara 2 seen both days Wondo Genet.

214. WHITE WAGTAIL M. alba 20+ Gefersa; quite common Rift Valley lakes.

215. AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL M. aguimp 2 Awash Falls, 1 at road bridge near L. Koka.

216. GRASSLAND/RICHARD'S/AFRICAN PIPIT A. cinnamomeus/richardi/novaeseelandiae

1-2 seen in Rift Valley. Whether Ethiopian birds should be grouped with other African pipits in this 'superspecies' under A. cinnamomeus Im unsure - ref. Van Perlo for distribution. Some authorities split this group into three separate species.

217. PLAIN-BACKED PIPIT A. leucophrys 1 near L. Awasa.

218. RED-THROATED PIPIT A. cervinus 2 Gefersa, 1 L. Ziway, 1 on tip near Addis airport.

219. *ABYSSINIAN LONGCLAW M. flavicollis 2 found by Dean on tip near Addis airport.

220. COMMON BULBUL P. barbatus dodsoni Very common and widespread - all habitats.

221. WHITE-CROWNED SHRIKE E. ruppelli 5+ Awash, 2+ Langano.

222. WHITE-CRESTED HELMET-SHRIKE P. plumatus cristata 10+ Kudu Valley, Awash.

223. BRUBRU N. afer 1 L. Langano.

224. NORTHERN PUFFBACK D. gambensis 1 male Awash, 5+ Wondo Genet.

225. BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA T. senegala 2 Awash.

226. ROSY-PATCHED SHRIKE R. cruentus hilgerti Only 1 female seen well, Awash.

227. TROPICAL BOUBOU L. aethiopicus 4 Wondo Genet.

228. SLATE-COLOURED BOUBOU L. funrbris 1 near L. Langano.

229. SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSH-SHRIKE M. sulfureopectus 2 Kudu Valley, 2 Langano, 1 Awasa.

230. GREY-HEADED BUSH-SHRIKE M. blanchoti 1 outside restaurant, L. Langano.

231. ISABELLINE SHRIKE L. isabellinus Singles seen every day except at Awash. Also at high altitude; 1 on tip near Addis airport.

232. SOUTHERN GREY SHRIKE L. meridionalis 1 L. Ziway. Forehead colour/pattern and tail pattern well worth checking on grey Lanius shrikes; I would have missed this one completely.

233. GREY-BACKED FISCAL L. excubitoroides Fairly common in Rift Valley, also Awasa..

234. SOMALI FISCAL L. somalicus 2 Kudu Valley, small nos. elsewhere in Awash.

235. COMMON FISCAL L. collaris Small nos. Awash and along Rift Valley.

236. WOODCHAT SHRIKE L. senator niloticus 2 Kudu Valley, Awash; 1 L.Langano. This race, with large amount of white on tail and wings, and duller crown colour looks decidedly different from European [nominate] race.

237. MASKED SHRIKE L. nubicus 1 male seen both visits to Adama Resteraunt, Nazeret.

238. NORTHERN WHEATEAR O. oenanthe 2 L. Ziway, 1 on tip near Addis airport.

239. PIED WHEATEAR O. pleshanka Most common and widespread of the wheatears, including high plateau.

240. ISABELLINE WHEATEAR O. isabellina Good nos. seen in all suitably arid habitat except high altitude.

241. SCHALOW'S WHEATEAR O. lugubris 2 males seen in rocky gorge near L. Langano. Presumably the nominate Ethiopian race is dark [black] bellied, as opposed to ssp schalowi.

242. RED-BREASTED WHEATEAR O. bottae 5+ seen Gefersa only.

243. HILL CHAT C. sordida Only one recorded, at Gefersa.

244. MOCKING CLIFF CHAT T. cinnamomeiventris 1 just outside Addis; 2 near L. Langano.

245. *WHITE-WINGED CLIFF CHAT M. semirufa One recorded only, at same site as above species.

246. COMMON ROCK THRUSH M. saxatilis 1 autumn male type en route Awasa – Addis.

247. BLUE ROCK THRUSH M. solitaria 1 male near L. Langano.

248. LITTLE ROCK THRUSH M. rufocinerea 3 near L. Langano; at least 2 were males.

249. COMMON REDSTART P. phoenicurus 3 around L. Langano; 1 Awasa fish market.

250. WHITE-BROWED SCRUB-ROBIN C. leucophrys 2 Awash. Quite a skulker.

251. RUPPELL'S ROBIN-CHAT C. semirufa 1 Gefersa, 1 near L.Langano, 10+ both days at Wondo.

252. AFRICAN THRUSH T. pelios Only seen at lower altitude; 2 Awash, 1 near L. Langano.

253. OLIVE THRUSH T. olivaceus Generally recorded at higher altitude than previous sp. where common, eg 40+ Wondo Genet.

254. GROUNDSCRAPER THRUSH T. litsipsirupa Fairly common on high plateau, eg 6+ Gefersa.

255. ABYSSINIAN GROUND-THRUSH Z. piaggiae Amazingly 7 birds of this "difficult" species seen on first day at Wondo, including 2+ on open short grassy area near resort.

256. WHITE-RUMPED BABBLER T. leucopygius Common Wondo Genet only; 30+ on first day.

257. AFRICAN HILL-BABBLER I. absynnica 1 Wondo Genet.

258. RUFOUS CHATTERER T. rubiginosus 2 Awash, 6+ near L. Langano.

259. SEDGE WARBLER A. schoenobaenus 1 L. Ziway, 2 L. Awasa.

260. LESSER SWAMP WARBLER A. gracilirostris Total of 3 L. Awasa, although 2-3 "acros" left unidentified. Looked greyer, more drab than Eurasian Reed Warbler.

261. OLIVACEOUS WARBLER H. pallida A few seen in Rift Valley; 5+ L. Langano.

262. BLACKCAP S. atricapilla 1 male 1 female Wondo Genet.

263. COMMON WHITETHROAT S. communis 2 near L. Langano.

264. LESSER WHITETHROAT S. curruca Total 4 seen Awash and along Rift Valley.

265. WILLOW WARBLER P. trochilus Only 3 recorded; Awash and Awasa.

266. CHIFFCHAFF P. collybita Small nos. Wondo and Awasa; also L. Langano, and 1 on tip near Addis airport.

267. RATTLING CISTICOLA C. chinianus 1 L. Langano.

268. WINDING CISTICOLA C. galactotes Total of 5 seen Lakes Langano and Awasa.

269. BORAN CISTICOLA C. bodessa 1 en route L. Awasa - Addis.

270. ASHY CISTICOLA C. cinereolus 1 Awash.

271. TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA P. subflava Total of 6 seen along Rift Valley.

272. BUFF-BELLIED WARBLER P. pulchella Fairly common along Rift Valley; 5+ L. Langano.

273. GREY-BACKED CAMAROPTERA C. brachyura Fairly widespread except high plateau; 5+ Wondo Genet.

274. YELLOW-BELLIED EREMOMELA E. icteropygialis 1 Awash, 1 near Shashemene.

275. RED-FACED CROMBEC S. whytii 1 L. Langano, 1 gardens of Adama Restaurant, Nazeret.

276. DUSKY FLYCATCHER M. adusta Fairly common and widespread at Gefersa, Wondo and Awasa.

277. *ABYSSINIAN SLATY FLYCATCHER D. chocolatinus 8+ Gefersa, fairly common at Wondo.

278. NORTHERN BLACK FLYCATCHER M. edolioides Common along Rift Valley.

279. GREY FLYCATCHER B. microrhynchus Quite common except on high plateau.

280. GREY-HEADED BATIS B. orientalis 3 Awash.

281. BLACK-HEADED BATIS B. minor 1 Awash, 6+ L. Langano.

282. BANDED WATTLE-EYE P. laticincta 1 imm. Wondo Genet.

283. AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER T. viridis Common all locations.

284. NORTHERN BLACK TIT P. leucomelas 2 L. Langano.

285. SPOTTED CREEPER S. spilonota A pair in riverine woodland near L. Awasa.

286. SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD N. senagalensis Total 4 seen Wondo Genet.

287. HUNTER'S SUNBIRD N. hunteri 1 male Awash from Kerayou restaurant. Dry-country counterpart of above sp. although seems a little out of altitudinal range according to references.

288. VARIABLE SUNBIRD N. venusta 6+ Wondo Genet.

289. MARIQUA SUNBIRD N. mariquensis 3+ near L. Langano.

290. TACAZZE SUNBIRD N. tacazze A pair at Wondo; 2 males in hotel gardens, Addis. A large, high altitude sunbird.

291. BEAUTIFUL SUNBIRD N. pulchella Most common sunbird in Rift Valley; not seen on high plateau.

292. BLACK-BELLIED SUNBIRD N. nectarinoides A pair in riverine forest beside Awash river. Looked noticeably smaller than above species.

293. MONTANE WHITE-EYE Z. poliogastra Thinly distributed throughout; all altitudes.

294. ORTOLAN BUNTING E. hortulana Only one recorded, at Gefersa.

295. SOMALI GOLDEN-BREASTED BUNTING E. poliopleura 1 superb male en route to Awash.

296. WHITE-BELLIED CANARY S. dorsostriatus 2 Awash.

297. AFRICAN CITRIL S. citrinelloides 2 L. Chelekleka, 20+ on tip near Addis airport.

298. *BLACK-HEADED SISKIN S. nigriceps 2+ Gefersa, 1 male Wondo.

299. STREAKY SEEDEATER S. striolatus Small nos. seen Gefersa and Wondo Genet.

300. BROWN-RUMPED SEEDEATER S. tristriatus Common Addis area but not recorded elsewhere.

301. PIN-TAILED WHYDAH V. macroura Total 3 non-breeding plumaged birds seen Rift Valley.

302. VILLAGE INDIGOBIRD V. chalybeata Total 5 seen in Rift Valley.

303. CUT-THROAT A. fasciata 5+ Awash; 2 in Rift Valley.

304. GREEN-WINGED PYTILIA P. melba 2 Awash.

305. YELLOW-BELLIED WAXBILL E. melanotis 1 Wondo Genet.

306. PURPLE GRENADIER U. ianthinogaster 3 mixed plumaged birds near Awash.

307. RED-CHEEKED CORDON-BLEU U. bengalus Common everywhere except Wondo.

308. RED-BILLED FIREFINCH L. senegala Widespread, including high plateau.

309. AFRICAN FIREFINCH L. rubricata 1 male Wondo Genet.

310. SILVERBILL L. cantans Fairly common Awash and in Rift Valley in small groups.

311. BRONZE MANNIKIN L. cucullata Total 5 Wondo Genet.

312. GROSBEAK WEAVER A. albifrons 2 female types Wondo Genet.

313. BAGLAFECHT WEAVER P. baglafecht Common Awash, also seen Wondo.

314. LITTLE WEAVER P. luteolus Total 4 seen along Rift Valley.

315. RUPPELL'S WEAVER P. galbula 1 near L. Langano.

316. NORTHERN MASKED WEAVER P. taeniopterus 2 Awash.

317. LESSER MASKED WEAVER P. intermedius 2+ near L. Langano.

318. VITELLINE MASKED WEAVER P. velatus 1 + Awash.

319. VILLAGE WEAVER P. cucullatus Quite common Awash and along the Rift Valley. Larger than most of the other weavers with a heavy bill.

320. SPECTACLED WEAVER P. ocularis Total 4 seen Awash and along the Rift.

321. RED-HEADED WEAVER A. rubriceps 3 Kudu Valley, Awash; all female types. Bright pink bill diagnostic, also nuthatch-like feeding technique.

NOTE ON WEAVERS Many birds seen were in a "reasonable" state, ie advanced breeding plumage, which helped. With Negussie's guidance most were identified. As ever, eye colour, particularly with the masked weavers, was important.

322. RED-BILLED QUELEA Q. quelea Common Awash and along Rift. No breeding plumaged males. Max. flock size 50-60.

323. BLACK-WINGED RED BISHOP E. hordeaceus 2 near L.Langano; non-breeding plumage.

324. RED-BILLED BUFFALO-WEAVER B. niger Awash a flock of 20+, quite common along Rift Valley.

325. WHITE-HEADED BUFFALO-WEAVER D. dinemelli Fairly common Awash and Rift Valley.

326. WHITE-BROWED SPARROW-WEAVER P. mahali Common Awash and along the Rift.

327. GREY-HEADED/SWAINSON'S SPARROW P. griseus/swainsonii Very common all locations. Couldn't "string" this one; to me they all looked like one species, either Grey-headed or Swainson's. Slight variation in throat and belly colour noted, but nothing striking. Zimmerman et al treats them as conspecific, stating evidence of intergradation.

328. CHESTNUT SPARROW P. eminibey 4 inc. 2 males from road bridge near Lake Koka.

329. RED-WINGED STARLING O. morio 1 Awash, total 9 Wondo Genet and Awasa.

330. GREATER BLUE-EARED GLOSSY STARLING L. chalybaeus Common thoughout.

331. RUEPPELL'S GLOSSY STARLING L. purpuropterus Common and widespread throughout but not seen on high plateau.

332. VIOLET-BACKED STARLING C. leucogaster 1 male Awasa fish market. A star bird.

333. SUPERB STARLING L. superbus Common, particularly Awash and Langano, around resort.

334. WATTLED STARLING C. cinerea A few flocks seen, often near cattle, in the Rift. Largest flock 30+ Awasa. Very few were wattled.

335. RED-BILLED OXPECKER B. erythrorhynchus 6 Gefersa, 2 Lake Abijatta.

336. AFRICAN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE O. larvatus 1 adult near L. Langano.

337. *BLACK-HEADED FOREST ORIOLE O. monacha Total 12+ Wondo Genet. Appears to be the true "forest" oriole, occupying a different niche from above species. Common around swimming pool.

338. FORK-TAILED DRONGO D. adsimilis Common throughout.

339. PIED CROW C. albus Common throughout except Awash and other remote arid areas.

340. CAPE ROOK C. capensis Small nos. on high plateau, also 4+ near Wondo.

341. FAN-TAILED RAVEN C. rhipidurus Small nos. Awash and the Rift; 6+ both days at Wondo.

342. *THICK-BILLED RAVEN C. crassirostris Common Wondo Genet area only; the resort is a great place to watch them. 20+ both days. Often soars with raptors.


1. COMMON WARTHOG P. aethiopicus Small nos. Awash and southern Rift.

2. HIPPOPOTAMUS H. amphibious Total of 4 seen southern Rift lakes.

3. SALT'S DIK-DIK M. saltiana Total of 4 seen Awash.

4. ORIBI O. ourebi 1 male 'Ostrich enclosure' near Lake Abijatta.

5. LESSER KUDU 1 male Awash.

6. BEISA ORYX O. beisa Small nos. Awash only, max. 6 on last day.

7. SOEMMERING'S GAZELLE G. soemmeringi 1 single male and small herd of 4+ Awash.

8. GRANT'S GAZELLE G. granti 1 male 'Ostrich enclosure' near Lake Abijatta.

9. THOMSON'S GAZELLE G. thomsonii 10+ 'Ostrich enclosure' near Lake Abijatta.

10. TREE HYRAX D. arboreus 1 near Lake Ziway.

11. ROCK HYRAX H. brucei 5+ near L. Langano.

12. SCRUB HARE L. saxatilis Total 3 seen Awash area.

13. BLACK-BACKED JACKAL C. mesomelas One pair seen well Awash.

14. SLENDER MONGOOSE H. sanguineus 1 near Lake Langano.

15. SPOTTED HYENA C. crocuta 1 seen well near camp at Awash.

16. OLIVE BABOON P. cynocephalus Total 11+ Awash, 2 near Lake Awasa.

17. HAMADRYAS BABOON P. hamadryas 5 south of Awash.

18. VERVET MONKEY C. aethiops Small nos. Awash and the Rift; 30+ both days Wondo Genet.

19. BLACK-AND-WHITE COLOBUS C. guereza Fairly common Wondo Genet and Awasa area.

20. TREE SQUIRREL sp. 2 seen Rift Valley.

NB. I would also thoroughly recommend Jan Vermeulen's excellent report on his 19 day trip in October 1999 -