Ethiopia, a birding tour with Naturetrek 14th-23rd November 2003

Published by Surfbirds Admin (surfbirds AT


Black-crowned CraneStresemann's Bushcrow

A personal account compiled by Chris Galvin

This tour was arranged for me as a 40th birthday present from my wife. I had been given the choice of where I wanted to travel. After trawling through many brochures I had chosen Ethiopia with Naturetrek. I then had to decide between the "Endemics" Trip and the Ethiopian Birdwatching Trip. I decided that I would go for the latter as this involved a lot less travelling and therefore theoretically more birding on site. The original itinerary included Awash National Park; Naturetrek cancelled this part of the tour on the advice of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Awash had been the highlight of previous Naturetrek tours to Ethiopia with five Bustard species; I had even read accounts of Northern Carmine Bee-eaters "hitching" a lift on the backs of Kori Bustards. When the itinerary was changed to include the area around the southern town of Yabello I almost cancelled. I just did not wish to sit all day in a bus driving 335km south to have two days in the area only to drive the same distance back. I was, however convinced by the staff at Naturetrek that the area around Yabello did have some birds that could not be found in other parts of Ethiopia, most notably the endemic Stresemann's Bushcrow and White-tailed Swallow. It was this saving grace that convinced me to go ahead with the tour and not switch to the Zambia tour.


Day 1. 14th November 2003. Depart Heathrow on the Ethiopian Airlines 21:00 overnight flight via Rome to Addis Ababa.

Day 2. 15th November 2003. Arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa. Birded around the airport whilst waiting for the rest of the group to exchange cash to the Ethiopian Birr. Transferred to the Holiday Hotel, Addis. We left the hotel after poor lunch at14:00 and headed to Gefersa Reservoir. Birded the area around Gefersa till 18:15 then back to the hotel for an equally poor dinner.

Day 3. 16th November. Left the hotel after breakfast for the drive to Lake Langano. Birded the area around Lake Chelekleka a seasonal wetland. We later moved on to Lake Hora, a crater lake near the town of Debre Zeyit. We birded this area for about an hour before again moving further south towards Lake Langano. We had lunch at the Bekele Mole Hotel at Ziway. We birded the garden of the hotel before going down to Lake Ziway. We spent two hours birding the Lake before driving to Lake Langano. Briefly birded Lake Langano before dinner.

Day 4. 17th November pre-breakfast birding at 6:00am in the hotel grounds on the shore of Lake Langano. Again birded the grounds of the hotel after breakfast before boarding the bus for the short trip to Lake Abiatta. Spent a couple of hours birding in the Lake Aiatta-Shala National Park in the presence of a park ranger. We walked down to the shoreline of the saline Lake Abiatta looking for Flamingos and Wattled Cranes. After lunch we then went to another part of the National Park before travelling to the viewpoint from where we could see both Lake Abiatta and Lake Shala. Drove to Wondo Genet for two nights stay.

Day 5. 18th November. Pre-breakfast birding at 6:00am in the forest uphill from the hotel. After breakfast we went to the Government run Agricultural College and birded the forested slopes in an effort to find Narina's Trogon. After lunch some free time was scheduled to do as we wish. Alain, Andrew and I birded the forested slopes above the hot springs.

Day 6. 19th November. Very little time for pre-breakfast birding due to us needing an early start for the 335-kilometre drive south to Yabello. I skipped breakfast in favour of birding the grounds of the hotel to search for Bruce's Green Pigeon and Yellow-fronted Parrott. Birded from the bus for most of the drive to Yabello. On arrival at Yabello we had two hours birding before dusk. We spent time looking for the endemic Stresemann's Bush Crow.

Day 7. 20th November. Birded the Yabello area all day. I skipped breakfast in favour of watching a beautiful African dawn. After breakfast the group birded along the Yabello-Arero road. Lunch was taken at the nearby town of Yabello. After lunch the group had a few hours "off" during the heat of the day. Alain, Andrew and I birded along the main Yabello to Nairobi road. Afternoon spent again birding in the National Park.

Day 8. 21st November. Six thirty start on the road back north to Awassa. Breakfast was a picnic of fruit and bread rolls taken in the field. At last common sense prevails. We enjoyed more high-speed birding from the bus on the long journey north to Lake Awassa. Lunch was again taken at the Bekele Mole Hotel at Ziway. Ninety minutes spent birding on the shores of Lake Ziway. Arrived at Awassa in time for two hours birding the garden of the hotel and the shoreline of Lake Awassa

Day 9. 22nd November. Pre breakfast birding was along the shore of Lake Awassa and in the grounds of the hotel. After breakfast we birded the area around the Awassa fish market. Drove to Shashamene to drop off Helen & Tom for their Bole Mountains extension transport. We then drove to Addis Ababa for another overnight stay in the Holiday Hotel.

Day 10. 23rd November. We birded around the hotel car park before departing for the airport. After checking in our bags we then birded around the airport car park for an hour and got our last species added to the list. We boarded the Ethiopian Airlines 13:15 to Heathrow. Arrived London 20:00 hours.

General Information

I had read a lot of trip reports from people who had birded Ethiopia previously and I had also read the Bradt Travel Guide to Ethiopia by Philip Briggs. I got several reports from Steve Whitehouse (FBRIS), the best of which was the epic report from Richard Webb about his 1996 tour. The information I had gathered had given me an idea about the standard of accommodation and the food standards that I could expect. The accommodation at all locations was l clean and comfortable but basic. The best accommodation, however, was at the Wabe Shabele Hotel 1 at Awassa; here I was provided with a large bungalow with TV (which I unplugged, to replace with a battery charger) a large bathroom with the best hot shower of the trip. A very noisy generator powered electricity at the hotel in Yabello, however the power was only switched on at 18:00hrs and turned off promptly at 22:00hrs. This hotel was also the worst for mosquitoes; I spent half an hour killing them before I unpacked. There were Mosquito nets provided above the beds however my one had a very large hole in it. I removed the hotel mozzie net and put up my own net. The only other hotel that provided mosquito nets was the Wabe Shabele Hotel 1 in Awassa. After a careful inspection this one was proved to offer suitable protection. At every other hotel I affixed my own net and remained blissfully bite free throughout.

The trip as a whole was excellent value for money and is designed to give the participants a "Taste of Ethiopia". We did however record 15 endemics on our trip and many more North East African specialities. It is a place that I would want to visit again, however with a less hectic schedule. After having had some fantastic birding and photographic opportunities in the South of the Country near Yabello, I would like to have spent some more time in this area to justify the 335 kilometre bus ride there and back. The water bird spectacle at the Rift Valley Lakes deserved to be enjoyed for longer. The photographic opportunities here were tremendous, especially in the late afternoon light. I would like to thank Alain Pataud for his undying enthusiasm and proof reading this report, Andrew Rest for his good eyes, John Wilson for his broad experience of birding in Africa, John Hartley for his sense of humour.

Species Lists

1. Somali Ostrich. Struthio molybdophanes. Two birds, male & female, 22/11, were seen on an agricultural land north of Shashamene. Birds seen around the Lake Abiatta-Shala National Park were deemed to be feral.

2. Little Grebe. Tachybaptus ruficolis. Seen on three days, the best of which was the spectacular gathering of several hundred at Lake Hora on the 16th.

3. Great White Pelican. Pelecanus onocrotalus. Common on the Rift Valley lakes seen on 4 days

4. Pink backed Pelican. Pelecanus rufecens. Less common than Great White Pelican but present on all the Rift Valley lakes, seen on three days.

5. White breasted Cormorant. Phalacracorax lucidus. Common on the Rift Valley lakes and at Gefersa Reservoir.

6. Reed Cormorant. Phalacracorax africanus. Not seen at Gefersa but on all Rift Valley lakes.

7. African Darter. Anhinga rufa. Seen on two days at Lake Hora and Lake Ziway.

8. Squacco Heron. Ardeola ralloides. Seen on 4 days.

9. Cattle Egret. Bubulcus ibis. Very common seen most days.

10. Green backed Heron. Butorides striata. One bird seen at Lake Awassa 22/11.

11. Black Heron. Egretta ardesiaca. Seen twice on Lake Ziway 16 & 22/11. Both times this bird was seen to perform its 'Umbrella' feeding technique.

12. Great white Egret. Egretta alba. Seen on four days on the Rift Valley lakes.

13. Intermediate Egret. Egretta intermedius. Seen on Lake Awassa and Lake Ziway 21 & 22/11.

14. Little Egret. Egretta garzetta. Common on the wetlands.

15. Grey Heron. Ardea cinerea. Seen on five days.

16. Black headed Heron. Area melanocephala. Seen on three days often at great distances from water.

17. Goliath Heron. Ardea goliath. One bird seen on Lake Awassa 21/11 and presumably the same bird seen the next morning.

18. Purple Heron. Ardea purpurea. One bird seen at Lake Ziway 22/11.

19. Hammerkop. Scopus umbretta. Seen on three days. Large nest in the gardens of the Bekele Mola Hotel at Ziway.

20. White Stork. Ciconia ciconia. Seen from the bus 22/11 on agricultural land north of Shashamene.

21. Woolly necked Stork. Ciconia episcopus. Two birds seen from the bus on the road trip to Yabello.

22. Marabou. Leptoptilos crumeniferus. Common around the wetlands and seen on 5 days.

23. Yellow billed Stork. Mycteria ibis. Seen on three days at Gefersa and Lake Ziway, maximum three birds at Gefersa.

24. Sacred Ibis. Threskiornis aethiopica. Seen on five days.

25. Wattled Ibis. Bostrychia carunculata. Endemic. Surprisingly seen on 6 days, 15,16,18,19,21 & 22/11. Seen around Addis Ababa and at Gefersa where 8 were present. Also seen at Wondo Genet and Lake Awassa.

26. Hadada. Bostrychia hagedash. Seen at the Abiatta-Shala area and at Lake Awassa.

27. Glossy Ibis. Plegadis falcinellus. Seen on two days at Lake Chelekleke.

28. African Spoonbill. Platalea alba. Seen on two days at Lake Chelekleke.

29. Greater Flamingo. Phoenocopterus ruber. Large numbers seen on Lake Abiatta.

30. Lesser Flamingo. Phoenocopterus minor. Seen in amongst the hordes of Greater at Lake Abiatta.

31. Fulvous Tree Duck. Dendrocygna bicolour. Seen on day at Lake Awassa.

32. White-faced Tree Duck. Dendrocygna viduata. Seen on three days at Ziway and Awassa.

33. Blue winged Goose. Cyanochen cyanoptera. Endemic. Seen only at Gefersa Reservoir where it mixed with Egyptian Geese.

34. Egyptian Goose. Alopochen aegyptiacus. Seen on six days

35. Spur winged Goose. Plectropterus gambensis. Seen on 4 days at Abiatta, Ziway and Awassa.

36. Comb Duck. Sarkidiornis melanotos. Seen on one day at Lake Ziway.

37. Pygmy Goose. Nettapus auritus. Seen only at Lake Awassa where 30+ were seen.

38. Yellow billed Duck. Anas undulata. Present at Gefersa Reservoir and on Lake Chelekleke.

39. Hottentot Teal. Anas hottentota. Several birds were seen feeding on muddy pools adjacent to Lake Awassa.

40. Northern Shoveler. Anas clypeata. Four birds were on Gefersa and also seen at Lake Abiatta.

41. African Pochard. Netta erythropthalma. Seen at two places on the same day, Lake Chelekleke and at Lake Hora.

42. White-backed Duck. Thalassornis leuconotus. Seen at Lake Awassa only, 21& 22/11

43. Black shouldered Kite. Elanus caeruleus. Seen in the open scrubland around Yabello.

44. Black Kite. Milvus migrans. Very common birds particularly around human habitation where there were large numbers scavenging.

45. Yellow billed Kite. Milvus aegyptus. Often regarded as a race of Black Kite this has been afforded full species status by Sinclair & Ryan: Birds of Africa south of the Sahara. Printed by Struik 2003.

46. African fish Eagle. Haliaetus vocifer. Seen on most days and often at a great distance from water. The group watched one individual as it plucked a fish from the surface of Gefersa Reservoir.

47. Lammergeier. Gyptaeus barbatus. One bird on the road trip back north from Yabello 21/11

48. Hooded Vulture. Neophon monachus. Very common and seen every day.

49. African White backed Vulture. Gyps africanus. Small numbers seen on 8 days.

50. Ruppell's Griffon Vulture. Gyps ruppellii. Seen on Three days, most notably at Lake Hora.

51. European Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus. One individual seen on the road trip north from Awassa to Addis Ababa 22/11

52. Lappet faced Vulture. Torgos tracheliotus. Seen by the group on more than one occasion but only seen by me on the road trip from Yabello to Awassa 21/11

53. White-headed Vulture. Trigonoceps occipitalis. Seen in the Yabello area only 19/11

54. Bateleur. Terathopius ecaudatus. Seen on four days. The best of which were close up views of a male and female displaying and perched with a juvenile Imperial Eagle at Yabello.

55. African Harrier Hawk. Polyboroides typus. Individuals seen on two days. A fly by from the viewpoint in the Abiatta-Shala National Park 17/11& a perched adult in the Bekele Mola hotel garden at Ziway 22/11.

56. Marsh Harrier. Circus aeruginosus. Individuals seen at Gefersa, Lake Chelekleke and on the road trip to Yabello.

57. Pallid Harrier. Circus macrourus. An adult male seen at Gefersa 15/11for several minutes as it hunted around the edge of the reservoir, also seen at Lake Langano 17/11.

58. Montagu's Harrier. Circus pygargus. Seen on two days, Lake Langano 17/11 and Yabello 19/11

59. Dark Chanting Goshawk. Melierax metabates. Seen 16,17,19 & 22/11

60. Eastern Chanting Goshawk. Melierax poliopterus. Individuals seen twice, both whilst taking breaks in the long journey to and from Yabello

61. Gabar Goshawk. Melierax gabar. Seen on three days, most notably the dark phase

62. Great Sparrowhawk. Accipiter melanoleucus. Seen on two days, firstly by Alain, Andrew and I on the forested hillside above Wondo Genet and by the rest of the group next morning near the restaurant.

63. Shikra. Accipiter badius. One bird seen 19/11 on journey to Yabello.

64. Mountain Buzzard. Buteo orophilus. Individual seen from the forest at Wondo Genet.

65. Augur Buzzard. Buteo augur. Common and seen daily.

66. Tawny Eagle. Aquila rapax. Common and seen on 7 days.

67. Imperial Eagle. Aquila heliaca. One juvenile seen with a pair of Bateleur near Yabello 20/11

68. Wahlberg's Eagle Aquila wahlbergi. One individual seen near Yabello.

69. Long crested Eagle. Lophaetus occipitalis. Seen on four dates 18,19,21 & 22/11. Most notably the individual, which interrupted the groups, lunch at Wondo Genet and perched in a tree adjacent to the restaurant.

70. Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus. First seen near the entrance to the Lake Langano resort hotel then seen twice at Yabello.

71. Common Kestrel. Falco tinnunculus. Kestrel species and small falcon falcons were seen at the roadside whenever we travelled, however due to time constraint and the large distances travelled these birds were not investigated as thoroughly as we should have done. Common Kestrel was positively identified on four separate dates 19,20,21 & 22/11.

72. Peregrine Falcon. Falco peregrinus. Two birds seen at Lake Langano and Lake Awassa 17 & 22/11

73. Crested Francolin. Francolinus sephaena. Seen in the Yabello area 19 & 20/11.

74. Harlequin Quail. Coturnix delgorguei. Seen only by myself whilst out in the bush trying to photograph Stresemann's Bushcrow near Yabello 20/11 I disturbed a flock of Crested Francolin and a Buff-crested Bustard. The Harlequin was near the Francolins.

75. Common Crane. Grus grus. Small groups seen on three days. Three from the bus on agricultural land near Shashamene 16/11. A group of 18 at Lake Abiatta 17/11 and a group of 9 north of Shashamene 22/11.

76. Wattled Crane Grus carunculatus. Merid had told us that there was only a group of 7 at Abiatta the week before and not to expect any for our visit however we were lucky with more that 30 birds present 17/11.

77. Black crowned Crane. Balearica pavanina. A flock of 12 birds were seen near the shoreline of lake Abiatta 17/11.

78. Black Crake. Limnocorax flavirostra. Seen on two days at Lake Awassa 21 & 22/11. Quite common at this site.

79. Common Moorhen. Gallinula chloropus. Common at lakes Hora, Ziway and Awassa.

80. Red knobbed Coot. Fulica cristata. Seen at lakes Hora Ziway and Awassa.

81. White bellied Bustard. Eupodotis senegalensis. Two pairs were seen at different locations near Yabello 20 &21/11.

82. Buff crested Bustard. Eupodotis gindiana. First seen from the bus on the journey to Yabello. Different birds were seen whilst looking for the Stresemann's Bushcrow and more than 10 birds seen in total.

83. African Jacana Actophilornis africanus. Seen on three occasions at Ziway and Awassa, common.

84. Spur winged Plover. Vanellus spinosus. Common in the right habitat, seen on 6 days.

85. Black winged Plover. Vanellus melanopterus. Seen 22/11 at Ziway.

86. Crowned Plover. Vanellus coronatus. An adult was seen on 17/11 at Lake Abiatta with a chick. Seen on three other occasions.

87. Ringed Plover. Charadrius hiaticula. Seen at Gefersa, Ziway Lake Abiatta and Lake Awassa.

88. Little ringed Plover. Charadrius dubius. At Lake Ziway 22/11

89. Kittlitz's Plover Charadrius pecuarius. Small numbers present at Lake Ziway and Awassa.

90. Three banded Plover. Charadrius tricollaris. Seen only on muddy pools adjacent to Lake Awassa.

91. Kentish Plover. Charadrius alexandrinus. Quite common near Lake Abiatta.

92. Black tailed Godwit. Limosa limosa. Seen at lakes Chelekleke, Abiatta and Ziway.

93. Curlew. Numenius arquata. Only seen at Lake Abiatta 17/11

94. Greenshank. Tringa nebularia. Seen at lake Chelekleke, Ziway and Abiatta.

95. Marsh Sandpiper. Tringa stagnatilis. Present at lakes Ziway, Abiatta and Awassa.

96. Wood Sandpiper. Tringa glareola. Seen on lake Ziway, and Awassa.

97. Green Sandpiper. Tringa ochropus. Seen on lakes Ziway and Awassa.

98. Common Sandpiper. Actitis hypoleucos. Seen on lakes Ziway, Abiatta, Langano and Awassa.

99. Common Snipe. Gallinago gallinago. Small numbers at lake Ziway 16/11.

100. African Snipe. Gallinago nigriennis. At least one bird positively identified as African Snipe at Lake Ziway 16/11.

101. Little Stint. Calidris minuta. Surprisingly rare on our trip and not seen till 22/11 at Lake Ziway.

102. Temminck's Stint. Calidris temminckii. Seen at Gefersa, Ziway, and Abiatta.

103. Ruff. Philomachus pugnax. Seen at Gefersa, Ziway, Awassa and very common at lake Abiatta.

104. Black winged Stilt. Himantopus himantopus. Seen at Gefersa. Ziway, Abiatta and Awassa.

105. Senegal Thicknee. Burhinus senegalensis. An individual bird seen at Lake Awassa 22/11 was identified by Merid as a Water Thicknee. However I managed to get very detailed photographs of this bird and it has subsequently been re-identified a Senegal Thicknee.

106. Collared Pratincole. Glareola pratincola. Five birds were at Lake Ziway 22/11.

107. Black headed Gull. Larus ridibundus. Seen at lakes Hora and Ziway.

108. Grey headed Gull. Larus cirrhocephalus. The commoner of the smaller gulls. Seen at Hora, Ziway, Abiatta and Awassa.

109. Lesser Black Backed Gull. Larus fuscus. Small numbers seen at lakes Ziway and Abiatta.

110. Gull billed Tern. Geochelidon nilotica. At Lakes Hora, Abiatta and at the spectacular Awassa fish market.

111. Whiskered Tern Childonias hybrida Small numbers at Lake Ziway but a gathering of several hundred at the Awassa fish market. This was a marvellous spectacle and one not to be missed.

112. White winged Black Tern. Childonias leucopterus. Small numbers at Ziway and Awassa.

113. White Collared Pigeon. Columba albitorque. Endemic. Quite numerous and approachable in the area around Gefersa associating with large number of Dusky Turtle Dove and Speckled Pigeon. White wing patches very visible in flight.

114. Speckled Pigeon. Columba guinea. Very common and seen every day.

115. Olive Pigeon. Columba arquatrix. Seen only on the one day in the forest around Wondo Genet

116. Dusky Turtle Dove. Streptopelia lugens. Very common around Addis Ababa

117. Red eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata. Common and seen on most days.

118. Mourning Dove Streptopelia decipiens. Common and seen on most days

119. Ring necked Dove. Streptopelia capicola. Common and seen on most days.

120. Laughing Dove. Streptopelia senegalensis. Common and seen on most days.

121. Namaqua Dove. Oena capensis. Seen on most days in the drier country.

122. Tambourine Dove. Turtur tympanistra. Seen only in the forest around Wondo Genet.

123. Lemon Dove Aplopelia larvata. Only one bird seen on the whole trip Seen on the road trip from Yabello to Awassa but I cannot remember where.

124. Bruce's Green Pigeon. Treron waalia. Present on the fruiting fig tree in the car park of the hotel at Wondo Genet.

125. Yellow fronted Parrot. Poicephalus flavifrons. Endemic. Seen on two days in the forests around the hotel at Wondo Genet. Typically noisy birds and seen well usually in pairs. Fed in the fruiting fig tree in the hotel car park.]

126. Orange bellied Parrot. Poicephalus rufiventris. Seen on two days in the area around Yabello 19 &20/11 only ever seen in pairs. Noisy birds but very wary and ranged widely between fruiting trees

127. Black winged Lovebird. Agapornis taranata. Endemic. Seen on three days at Wondo Genet and Awassa. Fantastic views at the hotel in Awassa as a pair were at nest hole 5 metres away.

128. White cheeked Turaco. Tauraco leucotis. Endemic. Only seen in the forests around Wondo Genet. At least five separate birds seen on three occasions during the day.

129. Bare faced Go-away-bird. Corythaixoides personata. The rarer of the two Go-away-birds and seen well at the viewpoint overlooking lakes Abiatta and Shala. More common in the south of the country and seen on both days in the Yabello area.

130. White-bellied Go-away-bird. Carythaixoides leucogaster. Seen on five days at Abiatta, Yabello and Awassa.

131. Diderick Cuckoo. Chrysococcyx caprius. Only one bird seen on the whole trip. It was seen on the ground in front of the bus on the road from Yabello to Mega.

132. Blue-headed Coucal. Centropus monachus. Seen only in the hotel grounds at Awassa.

133. Senegal Coucal. Centropus senegalensis. Seen on both days at Awassa.

134. Greyish Eagle Owl. Bubo cinerescens. Often considered a race of Spotted Eagle Owl but recently split, our birds had brown eyes not yellow. Seen in the National Park at Lake Langano.

135. Pearl-spotted Owlet. Glaucidium perlatum. Seen only in the Yabello were our guide called it in with mimicry.

136. Horus Swift. Apus horus. Only positively identified on the one day at Lake Langano.

137. White-rumped Swift. Apus caffer. Seen at Lake Abiatta. 17/11

138. Little Swift. Apus affinus. Seen on two days at Abiatta and Wondo Genet.

139. Speckled Mousebird. Colius striatus. First seen in the car park of our Addis Ababa hotel, then almost daily.

140. Blue-naped Mousebird. Urocolius macrourus. Seen only Alain, Andrew and I as we walked along the road south of Yabello.

141. Narina's Trogon. Apaloderma narina. Only two birds seen on the trip. The first bird was a female seen from the track leading uphill into the forest from the hotel at Wondo Genet. The second bird was a male seen in the grounds of the Govt run Forestry and Agriculture College at Wondo.

142. Half-collared Kingfisher. Alcedo semitorquata. One individual extremely well hidden amongst reedy vegetation in the garden that holds the hot springs in the hotel at Wondo Genet

143. Giant Kingfisher. Ceryle maxima. Strangely only seen once. A single bird flew past the dining area at our hotel in Lake Langano.

144. Pied Kingfisher. Ceryle rudis. Seen at all the Rift Valley lakes and despite its abundance still a difficult bird for me to photograph.

145. Malachite Kingfisher. Alcedo cristata. Seen at all the Rift Valley Lakes and very common at Lake Awassa.

146. Woodland Kingfisher. Halcyon senegalensis. Seen on four days at Wondo Genet near the hot springs, the garden of the Bekele Mola Hotel at Ziway and Lake Awassa.

147. Striped Kingfisher. Halcyon chelicuti. Only seen on the one day in the hotel grounds at Lake Langano.

148. Northern Carmine Bee-eater. Merops nubicus. One of my favourites of the trip. Seen at Ziway where I was able to photograph it. Seen on four days.

149. Blue-breasted Bee-eater. Merops variegates. First seen at Lake Hora, also seen at Wondo Genet, Yabello and Awassa.

150. Little Bee-eater. Merops pusillus. Seen at lake Langano.

151. Abyssinian Roller. Coracias abyssinica. Despite much searching by the group this species remained the least seen of the Rollers. Seen on two days on roadside power lines

152. Lilac-breasted Roller. Coracias caudate. This was the most common of the Rollers and seen often at remarkably close range.

153. Rufous-crowned Roller. Coracias naevia. Seen on 4 days

154. Hoopoe. Upopa epops. Not common and only seen on one day

155. Black-billed Wood hoopoe. Phoeniculus somaliensis. The first birds were seen 17/11 as we entered into the National Park at Lake Abiatta. Seen on five days in total

156. Abyssinian Scimitarbill. Phoeniculus minor. Only one bird seen on the whole trip. This bird was seen in the dry acacia scrub near Yabello 20/11.

157. Northern Red-billed Hornbill. Tockus erythrorynchus. Widespread and common and seen on five days in total. Differs from Western Red-billed Hornbill Tockus kempi by having pink facial skin around the bill, not black.

158. Von der Decken's Hornbill. Tockus deckeni. Another common and widespread dry bush hornbill, seen on five days.

159. Hemprich's Hornbill. Tockus hemprichii. Another North Eastern Africa speciality seen only once in the Abiatta Shala National Park. A family group of 4 birds was seen as we returned to the road from the Viewpoint.

160. Silvery-cheeked Hornbill. Bycanistes brevis. A large forest hornbill and extremely noisy. First seen in the car park of the hotel at Wondo Genet. Seen on five days in total.

161. Abyssinian Ground Hornbill. Bucovorus abyssinicus. Always seen whilst travelling in the bus and crossing agricultural land, invariably in family groups of 4-5 birds. Seen on five days in total with 19/11 being the best day with 13 birds seen during the day.

162. Double-toothed Barbet. Lybius bidendatus. Seen very well at Wondo on both days, however this was surpassed near the fish market at Awassa, as we watched an individual gorge itself on fruit no more than 4 metres away at head height.

163. Banded Barbet. Lybius undatus. Endemic. Three different sightings on two days. First seen in the forests around Wondo then seen in the car park. Also seen at Awassa.

164. Red-fronted Barbet. Lybius diadematus. Although the group saw this species on more than one occasion, I only seen it once 17/11 Lake Langano.

165. Red-fronted Tinkerbird. Pogoniulis pusillus. Another one-day-only-bird. Seen in the area around Yabello 20/11.

166. Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird. Pogoniulus chrysoconus. Seen in the Forestry & Agricultural College near Wondo Genet.

167. D'Arnaud's Barbet. Trachyphonus darnaudii. Common in the dry bush in the south of the country near Yabello, seen on 2 days.

168. Greater Honeyguide. Indicator indicator. Seen on the road trip to Awassa.

169. Scaly-throated Honeyguide. Indicator variegatus. Two birds were seen feeding in a tree over the hot springs pool at Wondo.

170. Lesser Honeyguide. Indicator minor. Seen on the one day at the Forestry & Agricultural College near Wondo.

171. Nubian Woodpecker. Campethera nubica. Seen on three days at Langano, Yabello and Awassa.

172. Abyssinian Woodpecker (Golden-backed). Dendropicos abyssinicus. Endemic. Seen only at Wondo Genet on an early morning walk into the forest.

173. Cardinal Woodpecker. Dendropicos fusdescens. Seen well at Lake Langano this bird was of the subspecies Hemprichii and was heavily barred on the back.

174. Grey Woodpecker. Dendropicos goertae. Seen on two days at Lake Langano and Awassa.

175. Grey-headed Woodpecker. Dendropicos spodocephalus. Often considered to be a race of Grey Woodpecker, our bird had a red belly patch and was seen well at Wondo Genet.

176. Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark. Seen on 16/11 on farmland at Lake Chelekleke.

177. Gillett's Lark. Mirafra gilletti. Seen only once by myself at the roadside near Yabello. The rest of the group were in the town of Yabello having a dodgy breakfast. Totally unsure of what the bird was I made sure that I digiscoped it. Later identified by Merid as Gillett's Lark, much to the chagrin of the rest of the group.

178. Sand Martin. Riparia riparia. Seen at Awassa and Langano.

179. European Swallow. Hirundo rustica. Seen on 7 days, not near Addis or the Highlands. All the Hirundines were really under watched by the whole group and if investigated more would almost certainly have resulted in adding additional species.

180. Wire-tailed Swallow. Hirundo smithii. First seen in the town of Wondo over a pool that was being utilised by the local male population for bathing. Additional birds were seen on roadside wires on the main Addis Ababa-Nairobi road near where a bridge had been washed away.

181. White-tailed Swallow. Hirundo megaensis. Endemic. A very fortuitous sighting. We were in the bush on the road to Mega, east of Yabello when we stopped the bus for a Diederic Cuckoo. We then noticed a single hirundine flying in tight circles 3-5 metres off the ground. After circling for some time the bird landed on an exposed branch 60 metres away and started to preen. Everyone in the group had fantastic scope views of the perched bird. Our guide, Merid then said that this had been his first sighting of a perched bird. We watched it for 10 minutes before it flew off into the surrounding acacia scrub.

182. Lesser-Striped Swallow. Hirundo abbyssinica. Seen only at the washed away bridge an hours drive north of Yabello.

183. African Rock Martin. Hirundo fuligula. Seen on four days often near water.

184. Black Saw-wing. Psalidoprocne pristoptera. We were unable to positively identify which of the twelve subspecies we seen although P.p. Pristoptera was the most likely.

185. Yellow Wagtail. Motacilla flava. Common and widespread and seen on seven days. Three subspecies were seen, feldegg, flava and lutea.

186. Grey Wagtail. Motacilla cinerea. Seen in the Wondo area and at Awassa.

187. Mountain Wagtail. Motacilla clara. Only seen in the area around Wondo Genet.

188. White Wagtail. Motacilla alba. Seen at Awassa on both days.

189. African (Grassland) Pipit. Anthus cinnamomeus. Often considered to be a race of Richard's Pipit A. ricardi. Seen well at two locations, Gefersa and some grassland whilst watching Abyssinian Ground Hornbill.

190. Red-throated Pipit. Anthus cervinus. Seen on three occasions at Ziway and Gefersa.

191. Black Cuckoo-shrike. Campephaga flava. A single male was seen near the fish market at Awassa.

192. Common Bulbul. Pycnonotus barbatus. Very common and widespread, seen most days.

193. Dodson's Bulbul. Pycnonotus dodsoni. Seen on two separate days at Yabello and near Awassa, photographed too.

194. Northern White-crowned Shrike. Eurocephalus ruppellii. Common and often in family groups, seen on five days.

195. Brubru. Nilaus afer. Seen in the Forestry and Agricultural College grounds near Wondo Genet.

196. Northern Puffback. Dryoscopus gambensis. Again seen in the Forestry and Agricultural College near Wondo Genet.

197. Three-streaked Tchagra. Tchagra jamesi. Seen in the acacia scrubland near Yabello 20/11.

198. Rosy-patched shrike. Rhodophoneus cruentus. For many this was the bird of the trip. Seen well and often approachable in the acacia scrub near Yabello. Seen on three days.

199. Tropical Boubou. Laniarius aethiopicus. Only seen on the one day in the forests around Wondo Genet.

200. Slate-coloured Boubou. Laniarius funebris. Seen in the dry acacia scrub near Yabello.

201. Grey-headed Bush-shrike. Malaconotus blanchoti. Seen at Yabello 20/11 in acacia woodland.

202. Isabelline Shrike. Lanius isabellinus. Seen on three days at Abiatta and Awassa.

203. Grey-backed Fiscal. Lanius excubitorius. These birds were often seen as a result of "high-speed birding" i.e. from the bus without stopping. As a result I am certain that with more examination of "Fiscal" cried from the bus we would have picked up Southern and Lesser Grey Shrikes.

204. Common Fiscal. Lanius collaris. Seen every day and again not given the attention it deserved. Very common and as a result often overlooked.

205. Masked Shrike. Lanius nubicus. Seen twice, probably the same bird as we seen it in the Bekele Mola hotel garden at Ziway.

206. Whinchat. Saxicola rebetra. Seen only in the Abiatta-Shala National Park.

207. Northern Wheatear. Oenanthe oenanthe. Common and seen on most days.

208. Pied Wheatear. Oenanthe pleschanka. Common and seen on seven days.

209. Isabelline Wheatear. Oenanthe isabellina. More common in the south of the country and seen on five days.

210. Red-breasted Wheatear. Oenanathe bottae. Many birds seen at Gefersa and also seen at Wondo Genet.

211. White-winged Cliff Chat. Myrmecocichla semirufa. Endemic. Seen twice 19/11 & 21/11, these were the days of the road trips to and from Yabello. On both occasions we stopped to view another bird. Firstly we stopped to look at a Bateleur and on the return trip we found it after stopping to look at a Lemon Dove. Both locations were south of Dila.

212. Rock Thrush. Monticola saxatilis. Only seen on the one day at Lake Langano. Others in the group had Little Rock Thrush M. solitaria. However I did not see this species.

213. Redstart. Phoenicurus phoenicurus. Another Palearctic migrant that was surprisingly scarce and only seen on the one day at Lake Abiatta.

214. White-browed Scrub-robin. Cercotrichas leucophrys. Seen on two days at Wondo Genet and at Awassa.

215. Abyssinian Ground-Thrush. Zoothera piaggiae. Seen only in the grounds of the Forestry and Agricultural college at Wondo this bird allowed us prolonged and close-up views.

216. Mountain Thrush. Turdus abyssinicus. Recently split from Olive Thrush we seen at Wondo, Yabello and at Awassa.

217. Spotted Gound Thrush. Zoothera guttata. Seen on three days at Wondo, Yabello and Awassa.

218. Groundscraper Thrush. Turdus litsipsirupa. Seen only on three days. This was one of the first birds seen on our trip to Gefersa, also seen on trip to Yabello and at Wondo.

219. Bare-eyed Thrush. Turdus tephronotus. Seen in the acacia scrubland alongside the road from Yabello to Mega.

220. White-rumped Babbler. Turdoides leaucopygius. Seen on the one day only in the acacia scrub around Yabello.

221. Rufous Chatterer. Turdoides rubignosus. First seen at Wondo then Yabello and Awassa.

222. African Hill Babbler. Pseudoalcippe abyssinica. Seen only in the forests around Wondo Genet.

223. African Reed Warbler. Acrocephalus baeticatus. Seen only in the reeds at Lake Awassa, only confirmed after lengthy, close up views.

224. Blackcap. Sylvia atricapilla. Seen in the forests around Wondo on two days.

225. Lesser Whitethroat. Sylvia corruca. Only seen in the hotel grounds at Lake Langano

226. Willow Warbler. Phylloscopus trochilus. One of the very last birds to be added to my personal list and this was after I had checked in my bags at the airport in Addis Ababa.

227. Chiffchaff. Phylloscopus collybita. Another last day tick for me this was in the grounds of the hotel before leaving for the airport.

228. Tiny Cisticola. Cisticola nanus. Noticeable by its small size and rufous cap, seen at Yabello.

229. Boran Cisticola. Cisticola bodessa. Seen in the drier scrubland near Abiatta and at Yabello.

230. Stout Cisticola. Cisticola robusta. One individual performed well for the group at Yabello.

231. Tawny-flanked Prinia. Prinia subflava. Very much a bird associated with dry scrubland and seen on four days at Langano and Yabello.

232. Buff-bellied Warbler Phyllolais pulchella. Another dry scrub warbler seen on three days at Langano and Yabello.

233. Grey-backed Carmaroptera. Carmaroptera brevicaudata. Usually this bird gave away its presence long before it was viewed. Seen at Lake Langano, Yabello and at Awassa.

234. Grey Wren-warbler. Carmaroptera simplex. Seen only on the one afternoon in the acacia scrub at Yabello.

235. Yellow-bellied Eremomela. Eremomela icteropygialis. Small numbers seen on three days at Langano and Yabello.

236. Northern Crombec. Sylvietta brachyura. Seen at Lake Langano and at Yabello, seen on three days.

237. Red-faced Crombec. Sylvietta whytii. Less common than the Northern but still seen on two days at Lake Langano and Yabello.

238. Brown Parisoma. Parisoma lugens. The final lifer of the trip for me and seen in the very productive car park at Bole International Airport.

239. African Dusky Flycatcher. Miscicapa adusta. Seen on four days at Lake Langano and Wondo, also seen in the car park at the hotel in Addis Ababa.

240. Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher. Dioptrornis chocolatinus. Endemic. Another of the endemics that we seen at Wondo Genet again on the pre breakfast walk.

241. Northern Black Flycatcher. Melaenornis edolioides. Seen on two days at Wondo and Yabello, not as common as anticipated.

242. Grey Flycatcher. Bradornis microrhynchus. Another of the birds that we found only in the area around Yabello

243. Pale Flycatcher. Bradornis pallidus. Seen on two days, firstly in the Abiatta-Shala National Park and at Yabello.

244. Pygmy Batis. Batis perkeo. At first thought to be Grey-headed Batis but size and lack of eye stripe confirmed it as Pygmy Batis.

245. Black-headed Batis. Batis minor. Seen on three days, the pick of which was the confiding pair that enabled me to take pictures in the garden of the Bekele Mola hotel at Ziway.

246. African Paradise Flycatcher. Tersiphone viridis. Seen on two days in the grounds of the hotel at Wondo. Also seen at the Forestry and Agricultural college grounds near Wondo.

247. Acacia (Northern Grey) Tit. Parus thruppi. Several seen in the acacia scrubland near Yabello

248. White-winged Black Tit. Parus leucomelas. Seen three times, two separate individuals at the hotel in Langano and at Wondo.

249. Spotted Creeper. Salpornis spilonota. Although not particularly rare our guide Merid derived great satisfaction seeing this bird because it is often hard to find. We watched this bird for several minutes in the forests at Wondo.

250. African Hill Babbler. Pseudoalcippe abyssinica. Seen only on 19/11at Yabello.

251. Scarlet-chested Sunbird. Nectarinia senegalensis. Seen on four days.

252. Hunter's Sunbird. Nectarinia hunteri. This took us some time checking all the Scarlet-chested Sunbirds to find and we had several birds at Yabello.

253. Mariqua Sunbird. Cinnyris mariquensis. Seen in the south of the country where it is drier.

254. Tacazze Sunbird. Nectarinia tacazze. Seen on three days and always in the highlands around Addis. The most memorable individual for me was the male bird that was landing on an exposed fluorescent light, picking off the insects that had landed on it overnight.

255. Beautiful Sunbird. Cinnyris pulchellus. Seen on two days at Langano and Awassa.

256. Abyssinian White-eye. Zosterops abyssinica. Seen only in the drier country around Yabello.

257. Montane White-eye. Zosterops poliogastrus Common in the highlands around Addis Ababa and Wondo but also seen at Awassa. The white bellied subspecies Poliogaster were the only birds that we saw.

258. Ortolan Bunting. Emberiza hortulana. Seen only at Gefersa where several birds were associating with Black-headed Siskin.

259. White-bellied Canary. Serinus dorsostriatus. Seen on only the one day at Lake Abiatta.

260. Reichnow's Canary. Serinus reichnowi. Seen on three days in the south of the country near Yabello.

261. African Citril. Serinus citrinelloides. Seen on three days, the best of which was a pair near the entrance to the Forestry & Agricultural College near Wondo.

262. Black-headed Siskin. Serinus nigriceps. Endemic. Seen very well at Gefersa Reservoir where there was a flock of up to 30 birds perched on overhead wires. Seen also at Wondo.

263. Streaky Seed-eater. Serinus striolatus. Seen very well in the Holiday Hotel car park in Addis Ababa on three days.

264. Brown-rumped Seed-eater. Serinus tristriatus. This bird was also seen well in the car park of our Addis hotel.

265. Reichard's Seed-eater. Serinus reichardi. It is my opinion that the Seed-eaters that were seen at Wondo were of this species, particularly because of the lack of a malar stripe. And there was less streaking on the mantle.

266. Pin-tailed Whydah. Vidua macroura. Seen at Gefersa and watched well in a weedy field next to the hot springs pool at Wondo.

267. Village Indigobird. Vidua halybeata. Seen in the gardens of the hotel at Langano

268. Cut-throat Amadina fasciata. A pair first seen at close quarters at Lake Langano, later seen at Awassa.

269. Red collared Widowbird. Euplectes ardens. Seen only the once from the bus on the long journey from Yabello to Awassa.

270. Yellow-bellied Waxbill. Coccopygia quartinia. Seen in the acacia scrub around Yabello.

271. Crimson-rumped Waxbill. Estrilda rhodopygia. Seen in the gardens of the Bekele Mola Hotel at Ziway.

272. Common Waxbill. Estrilda astrild. The commonest waxbill and seen on 4 days at Langano and Yabello.

273. Black-cheeked Waxbill. Estrilda charmosyna Seen only on the one day at Langano in a mixed flock of Waxbills.

274. Purple Grenadier. Granatina ianthinogaster. Seen whilst watching an Abyssinian Scimitarbill at Yabello.

275. Red-cheeked Cordonbleu. Uraeginthus bengalus. Common and widespread seen on four days.

276. Red-billed Firefinch. Lagonosticta senegala. Seen in the gardens of the hotel at Langano

277. African Silverbill. Euodice cantans. Seen first at Lake Hora then at Langano and at Yabello in dry scrub.

278. Bronze Mannikin. Spermestes cucullata. Seen at Langano and Yabello.

279. Baglafecht Weaver. Ploceus baglafecht. The common weaver in the highlands around Addis Ababa and Awassa.

280. Little Weaver. Ploceus luteolus. Seen in the area around Langano.

281. Ruppell's Weaver. Ploceus galbula. Seen in at Lake Langano.

282. Salvadori's Weaver. Ploceus dicrocephalus. Another bird saw on my early morning adventures whilst the rest of the group were off having a dodgy breakfast. Seen alongside the main Addis Ababa-Nairobi road, I was unsure what I was watching but made sure that I got great pictures of it. Positively identified when I returned home.

283. Northern Masked Weaver. Another weaver seen in the dry scrub of Langano and Yabello

284. Vitelline Masked Weaver. Ploceus velatus. Small numbers seen at Yabello.

285. Spectacled Weaver. Ploceus ocularis. Seen at Yabello 20/11.

286. Red-headed Weaver. Anaplectes rubriceps. Seen on two days at Yabello and on the trip from Awassa to Addis. Subspecies Rubriceps seen.

287. Red-billed Quelea. Quelea quelea. Seen on three days with groups at Langano, Yabello and Awassa.

288. Red-billed Buffalo-weaver. Bubalornis niger. Seen at Abiatta, Yabello and the trip to Awassa.

289. White-headed Buffalo-weaver. Dinemellia dinemella A much more colourful bird than the name suggests. Seen at Langano, Abiatta and Yabello.

290. White-browed Sparrow-weaver. Plocepasser mahali. Common in dry scrubland and seen at Langano, the road trip to Wondo and at Yabello and Awassa.

291. Grey-capped Social-weaver. Pseudonigrita arnaudi. Large flocks seen in the dry acacia scrub near Yabello.

292. Black-capped Social-weaver. Pseudonigrita cabanisi. A large flock seen from the roadside in the afternoon of 20/11. Other members of the group were back at the hotel seen by Alain, Andrew and myself.

293. Chestnut Sparrow. Passer eminibey. Seen on two days, at Lake Hora but better and prolonged views feeding with a mixed Sociable weaver flock at Yabello, 20/11.

294. Grey-headed Sparrow Passer griseus. Grey headed Sparrow species was common and seen every day. Seeing these birds everywhere, every day ensured that they only received a passing glance. However, according to the distribution maps in Birds of Africa South of the Sahara by Sinclair and Ryan 2003 Swainson's Sparrow Passer swainsonii, replaces Grey-headed in Ethiopia.

295. Red-winged Starling. Onychognathus morio. Common and often in larges flocks, quite tame in the area around Yabello. Seen on six days

296. Slender-billed Starling. Onychognathus tenuirostris. Seen only once in the parkland adjacent to the fish market at Awassa.

297. Greater Blue-eared Starling. Lamprotornis chalybaeus. Seen at Langano and Yabello.

298. Lesser Blue-eared Starling. Lamprotornis chloropterus. Seen at Abiatta and at Awassa.

299. Ruppell's Starling. Lamprotornis purpuropterus. Seen at Lake Hora, Langano, Wondo Yabello and Awassa.

300. Golden-breasted Starling. Cosmopsarus regius. Seen only in the area around Yabello, often in small family groups, much more colourful than depicted in any field guide.

301. Violet-backed Starling. Cinnyricinculus leucogaster. Seen near the fish market where a family group of male, female and two juveniles were seen feeding.

302. Superb Starling. Lamprotornis superbus. One of the birds of the trip for me. Seen on six days at Langano, Yabello and Awassa.

303. Shelly's Starling. Lamprotornis shellyi. Seen on two days in the dry scrub near the town of Yabello, where it replaced the larger Superb Starling.

304. White-crowned Starling. Spreo albicapillus. Seen on three consecutive days, 19,20 & 21/11 often in large groups near cattle.

305. Wattled Starling. Creatophora cinerea. First seen at Ziway 16/11 where a large flock were seen feeding in amongst the cattle. Seen three days in total

306. Red-billed Oxpecker. Buphagus erythrorynchus. First seen at Gefersa where six birds where seen feeding on the back of a single horse. Seen on four days in total.

307. Black Headed Oriole Oriolus larvatus. Seen at three locations, Lake Hora, Wondo and at Awassa.

308. Ethiopian Oriole. Oriolus monacha. Endemic. Seen on the two days that we were at Wondo, where the woodland is more mature and wetter.

309. Fork-tailed Drongo. Dicrurus adsimilis. Common and widespread, seen on six days.

310. Pied Crow. Corvus albus. Locally common and seen on most days.

311. Cape Rook. Corvus capensis. Common and seen most days.

312. Dwarf Raven. Corvus edithae. Formerly considered to be a race of Brown Necked Raven, but ranges are not known to overlap. Seen only on 19/11.

313. Fan-tailed Raven. Corvus rhipidurus. Seen over the hills close to our hotel in Yabello on two days.

314. Thick-billed Raven. Corvus crassirostris. Endemic. A strange looking bird but common at Wondo and Awassa often very approachable, especially in the car park at Wondo. Seen on five days in total. It must be one of the easiest of the endemics to see.

315. Stresemann's Bushcrow. Zavattariornis stresemanni. Endemic. For me this was bird that made the whole trip worthwhile, especially when complemented with the White-tailed Swallow, and definitely made up for the disappointment of not going to Awash. First seen from the bus whilst travelling towards the aptly named town of Mega. When the bus stopped and we all alighted, the birds flew further into the acacia scrub. Undeterred and armed with my digiscoping gear I followed them into the scrub and I stayed away from the main group. After a while I looked around me and found that I was surrounded by a flock of 30+ birds all feeding on the ground, some no more than 4 metres away. It was now that I regretted dashing from the bus and leaving my film camera behind, as the birds were too close to digiscope. They were not wary of my presence and not easily spooked. I was able to watch the birds feeding at close quarters and also watch others pair bonding and grooming each other. A fantastic sight.

316. Golden breasted Bunting. Emberiza flaviventris. Seen only once on the dry bush country around Yabello. Not brilliant views but due to the type of habitat Somali Bunting E. poliopleura cannot be discounted.