Working for birds in Africa



Wed, 02/06/2013 - 11:47 -- abc_admin

The following largely unconfirmed records are taken from bulletins of the African Bird Club and are for information only.

from ABC Bulletin 25.1

The following were reported in October–November 2017. Two Slender-billed Gulls Chroicocephalus genei were observed at Lake Ziway on 25 October, with one still there on 5 November (Fig. 11; SR); there are very few previous records. A Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus was seen on the Sanetti Plateau on 19 November (NB). Amur Falcons Falco amurensis were recorded at Lake Langano on 6 November (one; SR) and south of Yabello on 24 November (at least five; NB). A juvenile Amur or Red-footed Falcon F. amurensis / vespertinus was photographed in Omo National Park (=NP) on 4 November (Fig. 12; TC)—according to Dick Forsman (in litt. 2018), birds in this plumage cannot be positively distinguished based on present knowledge, although in this case some features were more suggestive of Amur Falcon: the very white breast with contrasting dark streaking (usually buffish with pale brown streaks in Red-footed), the grey tail feathers, rather similar to those of an adult female (found regularly in juvenile Amur, rarely in Red-footed) and the mint condition of the plumage, suggesting a late fledging date (which would suit Amur better than Redfooted). Single Eleanora’s Falcons F. eleonorae were noted at Negelle on 31 October and at Yabello on 2 November (SR). A Barbary Falcon F. (peregrinus) pelegrinoides flew over Bilen, in central Ethiopia, on 14 November (NB). A Star-spotted Nightjar Caprimulgus stellatus at Awash on 7 November was an interesting find (SR). More than 1,000 European Turtle Doves Streptopelia turtur were counted at Bilen on 14 November; these are exceptional numbers for this Palearctic migrant (NB). Red-billed wood-hoopoes Phoeniculus sp. were once again seen in the south, with five at Turmi campsite and two at Omo NP camp site on 2–3 November; all showed iridescent green on the head and back (Fig. 13), but wood-hoopoe identification in the area remains problematic (see Bull. ABC 24: 153–154). Three male and two female Jackson’s Hornbills Tockus jacksoni were observed at Omo NP headquarters’ camp site on 3–4 November (Figs. 14–15; TC); the species is possibly a rare resident in a restricted area in south-west Ethiopia. Three Greater Short-toed Larks Calandrella brachydactyla were found on the Aledege Plains on 7 November (SR).

from ABC Bulletin 24.2

On 12 November 2016, three Yellowbills Ceuthmochares aereus were photographed in forest adjoining Nechsar National Park, a well-known site for this species, which is seldom recorded in the country (Fig. 17). A group of six red-billed wood-hoopoes Phoeniculus sp. were seen in woodland at Weyto, southern Ethiopia, on 29 November; the head and back of the four adults appeared iridescent green on a bright but sunless day (Fig. 18), not violet-blue, suggesting Green Woodhoopoe P. purpureus rather than Violet Wood-hoopoe P. damarensis. However, the specific identification of wood-hoopoes in southern Ethiopia remains problematic—all may perhaps best be lumped into a single species (see Africa Round-up in this issue). The recently documented hybrid House Sparrows Passer domesticus indicus × Somali Sparrows P. castanopterus at Dubluk (cf. Bull. ABC 22: 70–73) were still present 17 November (Fig. 19) (TJ).

Three male Tsavo Sunbirds Cinnyris tsavoensis were seen well around the town of Megado, southern Ethiopia, on 25–26 February 2017; the breast-band was clearly violet and not maroon as in the very similar Purple-banded Sunbird C. bifasciatus with which the species was formerly lumped (DH). This sighting is of interest as there are no certain records of the species for Ethiopia; unfortunately only a low-quality photograph could be taken (Fig. 20). Recently, two female specimens collected by Erlanger in 1901 at the border with Somalia and originally identified as C. bifasciatus microrhynchus, have been relabelled as C. tsavoensis, but Ash & Atkins (2009. Birds of Eritrea and Ethiopia) were unable to verify the identity of these, and Redman et al. (2011. Birds of the Horn of Africa) indicate that the species’ occurrence in Ethiopia requires confirmation.

from ABC Bulletin 24.1

The following records are from November 2016. A Little Crake Zapornia parva was seen well at Lake Awassa on 28th, with two present on 29th (DE). A flock of >100 Black Herons Egretta ardesiaca at Boyo Wetlands on 29th was notable for a species that is usually encountered singly or in small groups. A Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus was found on the Sanetti Plateau, in the Bale Mountains, at the remarkable altitude of 3,900 m on 22nd, and was still present the following day. A male Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike Campephaga phoenicea was observed in the British Embassy grounds in Addis Ababa at 2,500 m on 12th, extending its known altitudinal range by c.600 m (NR).

from ABC Bulletin 23.2

The first Sennar Penduline Tits Anthoscopus flavifrons for Ethiopia were recorded in Kafta-Sheraro National Park, in the extreme northwest, when two birds were observed on 30–31 December 2015 and again on 27 Febraury 2016; the birds were in the western part of the park, across the Tacazze River, c.1 km from the Eritrean border (HP).

from ABC Bulletin 23.1

An adult ‘Archer’s Buzzard’—a colour morph of Augur Buzzard Buteo augur—was photographed on 25 January 2015 south of Negelle; this is the first record of this morph in Ethiopia. In early November, 4–5 Rufous-rumped Larks Pinarocorys erythropygia were observed in Kafta-Sheraro National Park, in the north-west—apparently representing the first record for Ethiopia. During a visit to the Danakil area in April 2015, African Collared Doves Streptopelia roseogrisea were noted at Afrera (13°12’–13’N 40°51’–42’E) on 1st–2nd (some displaying), at Ertale base camp and in wadis to the top of the mountain (13°34’N 40°35’E) on 3rd–4th (some; also three nests in Acacia) and at Hamadela (14°05’N 40°16’E) on 4th–5th (many, including two adults feeding fledglings). Several Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata families were observed at a small dam between Serdo and Afrera (12°07’N 41°13’E) on 1 April, whilst six nests and three pairs with downy young were at Adwa dam, near Adi Abun (14°11’N 38°52’E), on 7th. A dead Heuglin’s Bustard Neotis heuglini was found in Dallol canyon (14°13’N 40°17’E) on 4th. House Sparrows Passer domesticus were observed near Kursod (13°26’N 40°30’E) on 3rd (>100, including females feeding fledglings; many nests in school buildings), Hamadela salt camp (14°05’N 40°16’E) on 4th–5th (c.25, including some P. d. rufidorsalis and intermediates) and Bir Haile (13°51’N 40°01’E) on 6th (c.10, only P. d. indicus).

from ABC Bulletin 22.2

Approximately ten African Black Swifts Apus barbatus were positively identified by several observers between Goba and the Sanetti Plateau on 29 November - the birds were calling and their calls were compared with recordings while they were being watched. Redman et al (2009. Birds of the Horn of Africa) mention the species as hypothetical in Ethiopia, with just one unconfirmed record of three individuals near Goba in December 2006. 

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

Records from October–December 2014, with one from March 2014, include the following. A honey buzzard Pernis sp. photographed at Wondo Genet on 2 November, was subsequently identified as a somewhat unusual-looking adult female European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus or a possible hybrid European × Oriental Honey Buzzard P. ptilorhynchus. An immature Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus—a rarely recorded Palearctic migrant— was observed at Awassa on 1 November. Amur Falcons F. amurensis were noted near Lake Langano on 27 November (one), near Goba on 30 November (an adult female) and over the Liben Plains on 3 December (at least 60 with c.40 Lesser Kestrels F. naumanni); this species is rare in southern Ethiopia. Also on the Liben Plains was an adult Sooty Falcon F. concolor—a rarely recorded species.

Four Cliff Swallows Petrochelidon sp. in flight, matching the illustrations of the unidentified Cliff Swallow in Redman et al. (2009. Birds of the Horn of Africa), were observed at length in the Awash gorge near the old Kereyou Lodge on 25 November; some (immatures?) had a faint, slightly browner panel on the upper forewing. They were somewhat reminiscent of Preuss’s Cliff Swallow P. preussi although clearly not identical. A White-tailed Swallow Hirundo megaensis was observed on the Liben Plains near Negele on 3 December; this endemic is rarely recorded so far east.

A visit to the south-west on 10–22 October 2014 produced several records of interest. A first-year Sooty Falcon F. concolor flew over Nechisar Plain on 13 October—an early date and a new locality. Violet Wood-hoopoe Phoeniculus damarensis, considered unconfirmed for the country, was curiously the only wood-hoopoe identified in the extreme south-west, at Turmi, Murle and nearby on the edge of Lake Dipa (16–18 October). There were previously no October records for several species seen on this trip, including Red-chested Cuckoo Cuculus solitarius (singing at Murle on the Omo River and at Lake Dipa, 16–17 October), Pink-breasted Lark Mirafra poecilosterna (several between Turmi and Murle, 16 October) and Magpie Starling Speculipastor bicolor (several pairs near and at Murle, 16–17 October). Noteworthy records from the Gibé scarp include small numbers of Marsh Warblers Acrocephalus palustris alongside many Thrush Nightingales Luscinia luscinia on 10 October; a Wilson’s Indigobird Vidua wilsoni in breeding dress singing near the Gibé River, its song including imitations of that of Bar-breasted Firefinch Lagonosticta rufopicta; and a Barka Indigobird V. larvaticola singing in woodland, its song including imitations of the calls of Black-faced Firefinch L. larvata (seen nearby). A pair of Jameson’s Firefinches L. rhodopareia was observed in thornbush on the Uajo River, near Lake Abaya, on 12 October, with a male also there on 19 October. On the latter date, an indigobird singing in a small tree was joined by a male firefinch; presumably this was a Purple Indigobird V. purpurascens, hitherto unrecorded in Ethiopia. A Yellow White-eye Zosterops senegalensis near Murle on 16 October represents a south-east range extension. A Northern Stripe-breasted Seedeater Crithagra striatipectus was singing at Kanta Lodge, Karat-Konso, on 14 October—a new locality for this localised species; its ecology and song differ greatly from that of the miombo endemic Stripe-breasted Seedeater C. reichardi with which it was previously lumped. 


from a correspondent

Ethiopia harbours a small isolated population of Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos, the only one known in tropical Africa, first found and monitored 20 years ago. A follow-up sampling was conducted during the breeding season of 2014 in the same survey area of the Web valley in the Bale Mountains National Park as in the previous study. Among the seven territories monitored in 1993-1997 only three of them were occupied by pairs of adult Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos in 2014, a decline in relation with a negative human impact and potential demographic constraints. This relict population of Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos which contributes to the biodiversity of the Afroalpine ecosystem and to the genetic diversity in the species seems highly vulnerable and in a critical situation.

Clouet M. & Barrau C. 2015 Journal of Raptor Research 41: 222-226


from ABC Bulletin 21.2

In February 2014, three adult Northern Bald Ibises Geronticus eremita were found in a remote corner of the Ethiopian highlands. The three included the female ‘Zenobia’, an unringed adult accompanying Zenobia, and a solitary bird. In 2013, only the satellite-tagged ‘Zenobia’ returned to the breeding grounds of the tiny, relict population rediscovered in Syria in 2002. In April, 10 - 12 Shoebills Balaeniceps rex were observed in the eastern part of Doma Swamp, along the Alowero River, 40 km south-west of Gambela; remarkably, most were perching in trees. Two Yellowbills Ceuthmochares aereus were observed 60 km east of Gambela; this is a new locality for the species, which is possibly a very rare resident. At least six Piapiacs Ptilostomus afer were noted 60 km west of Gambela; Ash & Atkins (2009) accept only one record, from the south (HP). An active nest of Abyssinian Catbird Parophasma galinieri was found at Bale Mountain Lodge, Bale Mountains National Park, on 22 February.

from ABC Bulletin 21.1

A Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga was photographed on the Sabober Plains, between Mount Fantalle and Lake Basaaka, Metehara on 8 November 2013. A Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus was observed east of Robe, Bale area on 10 May; this is the southernmost record, according to Ash & Atkins (2009. Birds of Ethiopia and Eritrea). A pair of Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus of the subspecies minor was seen at their nesting site, with nestlings calling, near Mega on 19 May; there are apparently just two definite breeding records for Ethiopia ‘presumably [of] minor’. About ten Rock Martins Ptyonoprogne fuligula of the subspecies obsoleta (=Pale Crag Martin) were in a mixed colony with Black Saw-wings Psalidoprogne pristoptera in the Bale Mountains on 11 May. Surprisingly, the birds were visiting burrows like Riparia martins. All appeared much paler below than P. f. fusciventris; the occurrence of this race in Ethiopia has not been documented to date (cf. Ash & Atkins: ‘may also occur’). At least four pairs of House Sparrows Passer domesticus were in Megado, south-west of Mega on 23 May; a female was leaving a nest in the roof of a hut. On 24 May, at least one pair of House Sparrows was seen entering a nest in a roof at Dubluk. These are the first records of House Sparrow in southern Ethiopia; Ash & Atkins (2009) mention none, but the species was found in the extreme north-west, at the Sudan border, in July 2011.

from ABC Bulletin 20.2

Working in western Ethiopia since 2010 has provided many birding opportunities for Bassel abi Jummaa, and recently submitted records include significant range extensions for no fewer than 14 species. Most of the sightings were in the Gambela region and all were documented with photographs, including the following: a Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca in Gambela National Park (=NP) on 30 October 2011, a Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus c.60 km east of Gambela on 16 October 2011, a Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris near Bonga, c.40 km east of Gambela on 5 March 2011, two Ruddy Turnstones Arenaria interpres in non-breeding plumage in rice fields at Gambela NP on 30 October 2011, several Olive Bee-eaters Menps superciliosus c.40 km north of Gambela on 9 August 2011, Heuglin's Wheatears Oenanthe heuglini in Gambela NP on 10 April 2011 and 15 January 2012 (the former was a recently fledged juvenile, indicating that it may have been raised nearby; there are no breeding records for Ethiopia), a male Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius on rocky slopes near Bure, c.80 km east of Gambela on 10 January 2011, a Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata near Bure on 28 September 2011, a male Pygmy Sunbird Hedydipna platura in breeding plumage in Gambela NP on 13 February 2011, a party of Chestnut Sparrows Passer eminibey (three males and one female) c.70 km north of Gambela on 3 July 2011, c. 15 Grey-capped Social Weavers Pseudonigrita amaudi breeding c.60 km north of Gambela (nests on 3 July 2011 and juveniles on 11 September 2011), a party of Black-headed Weavers Ploceus melanocephalus in non-breeding plumage in Gambela NP on 26 December 2010, and a Cut-throat Finch Amadina fasciata near Bonga, c.40 km east of Gambela, on 19 April 2011. Most significantly, Beaudouin's Snake Eagle Circaetus beaudouini was seen frequently in Gambela NP and also once c.15 km from Gambela; despite several recent claims of this species, none was considered acceptable and it was listed as hypothetical for the country. Photographs of several individuals now confirm the species for Ethiopia, and it probably is resident in the Gambela area. Finally, a single White-backed Night Heron Gorsachius leuconotus was photographed in Awash NP on 28 May 2012; this is a considerable range extension for this species which was hitherto only known from a few records in far western Ethiopia, and all the more remarkable given that Awash is one of the most well-watched sites in the country.

The bunting photographed along the road from Lomi Ketema into the Jemma Valley on 15 November 2012 and initially thought to be a Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea, has been re-identified as Ortolan Bunting E. hortulana; apparently it is not unusual to have first-winter Ortolans with essentially white underparts.

from ABC Bulletin 20.1

A Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola was discovered in a small marsh at Lake Awassa on 1 November 2011; this is a very rare Palearctic winter visitor to Ethiopia: Ash & Atkins (2009. Birds of Ethiopia and Eritrea) mention just two documented records. Also there was a Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis, a species now regularly seen in the Rift Valley. 

On 21 November 2012, a Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was photographed on the shores of Lake Shalla; this may constitute the first documented report for the country: according to Ash & Atkins (2009) there are only two unsubstantiated inland records for Ethiopia. Other November 2012 records include three Ferruginous Ducks Aythya nyroca - a rather uncommon and irregular Palearctic winter visitor - on Lake Hora, Debre Zeit, on 15th; a Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus on the Sanetti Plateau, Bale Mountains, on 21st; a Cape Eagle Owl Bubo capensis photographed at its daytime roost in a tree at the low altitude of 1,600 m near Lake Langano on 10th (its altitudinal range is stated to be 2,720 - 4,240 m in Ash & Atkins 2009); an aberrantly coloured Somali Crow Corvus edithae with a flock of normal individuals photographed on the Goba–Sof Omar road on 3rd; three Ankober Serins Carduelis ankoberensis at Debre Libanos on 11th - apparently a range extension; and at least eight Cinereous Buntings Emberiza cineracea, a rarely recorded species in the country, along the road from Lomi Ketema into the Jemma Valley on 15th.

An off-the-beaten-track visit to Mille, in the north-eastern Afar region, on 14–25 September 2012, produced 130 species, observed mainly within 4 km of the town, along the Afar River. Highlights included an Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum, a rarely recorded Palearctic migrant, on 18th and, especially, four Cretzschmar’s Buntings Emberiza caesia, presumably two pairs, in summer plumage on 22nd and 24th. New half-degree squares (cf. Ash & Atkins 2009) were noted for the following species: Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo (one on 24th), Black-headed Lapwing Vanellus tectus (two on 24th), European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus (a male over Mille town on 16th and 22nd), Common House Martin Delichon urbicum (singles on 15th and 23rd), Bluethroat Luscinia svecica (up to two of the race cyanecula on 21st–22nd), Pale Prinia Prinia somalica (up to four per day on five days) and Yellow-spotted Petronia Gymnoris pyrgita (six on 23rd). Two European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were seen on 18th (there are few records in Ethiopia) and up to 30+ Sudan Golden Sparrows Passer luteus per day throughout, with juveniles being fed by adults.

from ABC Bulletin 19.2

Records from a visit in April 2012 include the following. An African Crake Crex egregia was flushed south of Mega on 7th; this appears to be a new locality for this rarely reported species; there is, however, at least one other recent record, from Lake Langano, on 28 December 2010. Two Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis were seen at Lake Awassa on 10th. In the Bale Mountains, two Abyssinian Owls Asio abyssinicus were observed near Dinsho Lodge on 2nd. A European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, a scarce migrant in Ethiopia, was seen well in the Genale Valley on 5th. Two Banded Parisomas Parisoma boehmi were noted en route to Filtu on 6th. Pringle’s Puffbacks Dryoscopus pringlii were encountered near Filtu on 6th (two), along the Mega - Yabello road on 8th (two) and at km 22 towards Mega on 9th (one). Four small weavers in the Genale Valley on 5th were identified as Little Weavers Ploceus luteolus.

from ABC Bulletin 19.1

The first Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea for Ethiopia was photographed at Lake Awassa on 10 June 2011, not 10 May, as erroneously stated in the previous Recent Reports.

from ABC Bulletin 18.2

Records from December 2010 - May 2011 include the following. Four Ferruginous Ducks Aythya nyroca were seen at Lake Chelekcheka on 1 February and five at a reservoir north of Addis Ababa on 22nd. A female Little Crake Porzana parva was photographed at Lake Zwai on 1 February and an African Crake Crex egregia at Lake Langano on 28 December. At the latter site a Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis was seen 20 February. At Lake Abiata, a Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus, two Greater Sand Plovers C. leschenaultii, a Dunlin Calidris alpina and two Red-necked Phalaropes Phalaropus lobatus were observed on 11 February. A Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos was at Lake Zwai on 28 December; probably the same bird was seen again by several observers in February, with a second individual at Lake Langano on 20 February. What appears to be the first Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea for Ethiopia was photographed at Lake Awassa on 10 May. A Heteromirafra lark tentatively identified as Sidamo / Archer’s Lark H. sidamoensis / archeri was photographed east of Jijiga on the road to Somaliland on 21 January.


A Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris was photographed at Lake Awassa on 6 January 2010; this is possibly the third confirmed record for Ethiopia. Five Ferruginous Ducks Aythya nyroca were on Lake Bishoftu on 1 February and two Pacific Golden Plovers Pluvialis fulva at Lake Abiata on 11th. Two immature Lesser Crested Terns Sterna bengalensis, photographed at Lake Awassa on 7 and 9 January, are apparently the first for the country.

The following records are from November 2009. A first-winter Slender-billed Gull Larus genei was photographed at Lake Awassa on 12 November; there are very few records in Ethiopia. At Dinsho, in the Bale Mountains, an African Long-eared Owl Asio abyssinicus was also photographed; this generally uncommon species is locally common in Ethiopia. More than ten Egyptian Nightjars Caprimulgus aegyptius were claimed from the Bilen area on 25 November; Ash & Atkins (2009. Birds of Ethiopia & Eritrea) mention only a single record. A male Ménétries’s Warbler Sylvia mystacea observed at Lalibela on 29 November represents a new site for this rarely observed Sylvia. A Grey-headed Silverbill Lonchura griseicapilla was photographed at Yabello on 15 November; there are few records of this uncommon species.

The paper on the ccurrence of White-tailed Swallow Hirundo megaensis near Negele (Bull. ABC 16: 83–86) prompted the following report. A group of five White-tailed Swallows, comprising four adults and one brownish immature, was observed on the Liben Plains at c.1,500 m, along the Bongol Manyo–Negele road, 27 km from the Green Hotel, Negele, on 9 March 2006. The swallows frequented a small area of relatively long grass and substantial scrub and tree cover; no cattle herds were in the vicinity. Another belated sighting concerns that of a group of six possible cliff swallows Petrochelidon sp., observed on Fantalle Volcano, near Awash, at c.1,200 m on 21 November 2002; the birds had dark blue upperparts, a rufous rump, an incomplete dark smudgy collar, a pale throat, whitish underparts becoming very dingy on the undertail-coverts, with dingy white underwing-coverts and bodysides, and a short, slightly forked tail. They did not associate with other hirundines.

A male Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca was seen on Lake Cheleleke on 11 January 2008. At Lake Abiata, a flock of c.25 Stone-curlews Burhinus oedicnemus, a Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus and four Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola were found on 31 December 2007.

Records from December 2006 are as follows. A dark-morph Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis was at Lake Hora on 1st. What appeared to be an adult Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle Circaetus beaudouini was near Giba on 18th. On 12th, 41 Pacific Golden Plovers Pluvialis fulva were seen near Lake Abiatta. Three swifts, seen and heard calling in the Bale Mountains on 4th were identified as African Black Swifts Apus barbatus. A Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola was at Lake Ziway on 12th and a Ménétries Warbler Sylvia mystacea at Bilen Lodge, in the Awash area, on 14th.

In late April 2007, two Rose-coloured Starlings Sturnus roseus in breeding plumage were photographed in a flock of Wattled Starlings Creatophora cinerea in Abiatta-Shalla Lakes National Park; this is the second record for Ethiopia, the first being from 23 March 2005, when one was c.50 km west of Yavello, also in the company of Wattled Starlings (cf. Bull. ABC 13: 75).

In 2006, the endemic Harwood’s Francolin Francolinus harwoodi was not only found at its usual site in the Jemma Valley, but also at the base of the cliffs at Debre Libanos, on 8 October.

In December 2005 the following species were reported. A pair of White-backed Duck Thalassornis leuconotus with seven young was observed at Lake Chelekleka on 2nd. A Western Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus cinerascens was at Lake Langano on 8th and two were at Wadera Forest, near Kibre Mengist, on 16th. A juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca was at Lake Langano on 9th. Three Degodi Larks Mirafra degodiensis were claimed from Bogol Mayo on 18th, and six Sidamo Larks Heteromirafra sidamoensis from the Liben Plains, Negele, on 16th. A Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus was seen near Negele on 16th and a Somali Short-billed (Philippa’s) Crombec Sylvietta philippae near Bogol Mayo, on 18th. Two female or first-year Ménétries Warblers Sylvia mystacea were found at Lalibella on 18 November 2004.

The following records are from November 2004-February 2005. Western Reef Egrets Egretta gularis were found at Lake Ziway on 6 January (one), at Awash NP (=National Park) on 16 January (one) and at Lake Basaka on 14 January (two) and 6-8 February (one). Single Levant Sparrowhawks Accipiter brevipes were claimed from Sof Omar on 26 January, from the Genale River, Wadera, on 28 January, near Yabello on 17 February and east of Yabello, on the road to Negele, on 18 February. Long-legged Buzzards Buteo rufinus were seen between Wondo Genet and the Bale Mountains on 7 January (three), near the Bale Mountains on 25th (two) and near Goba on 28th (one). An adult Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca was seen in Awash NP on 16 January and another near Awassa on 24th. In the Bale Mountains, single Golden Eagles A. chrysaetos were seen on 25 and 27 January. In November, 20 Saker Falcons Falco cherrug were counted in a single day between Awash NP and Addis Ababa. One was mobbed by a pair of Lanner Falcons F. biarmicus near the Bale Mts on 25 January.

A Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus was seen at Lake Langano on 13 January and a first-winter Slender-billed Gull Larus genei at Lake Basaka next day. Two Star-spotted Nightjars Caprimulgus stellatus were found at Awash NP on 15 January. Also there was a first-winter male Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala, with another below Ankober escarpment on 7 February. Two Grey-headed Silverbills Odontospiza griseicapilla were at Yabello on 12 January.

Records from October 2004 include the following. A Sooty Falcon Falco concolor, of which there are few records for Ethiopia, was seen in the Yabello area on 26th. Three Water Thick-knees Burhinus vermiculatus were on the Daua River on 23rd; this is a little-known species in Ethiopia. Two Greater Sand Plovers Charadrius leschenaultii were found on the mudflats at Lake Abiata on 18th. These are apparently the first for Ethiopia; they were identified by their larger size than the many nearby Kittlitz’s C. pecuarius and Common Ringed Plovers C. hiaticula and by their long, heavy bill and greenish-grey legs. A Pel's Fishing-owl Scotopelia peli was flushed from its roost along the Daua River, and subsequently scoped and observed in detail, on 23 October; this appears to be a major range extension: the species is not even known from north-east Kenya or the adjacent part of Somalia.

In November 2003, a Sooty Falcon Falco concolor was seen at Filowa, Awash National Park on 15th and at least two Terek Sandpipers Xenus cinereus were on the north-eastern shore of Lake Shalla on 27th.

Noteworthy records from October 2003 include a male Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca on Lake Cheleleke on 25th; this is an uncommon visitor to the country. A Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus flew over Debre Libanos on 10th; this Palearctic migrant is occurring with increasing frequency in sub-Saharan Africa. An Egyptian Plover Pluvianus aepyptius at Lake Awassa on 18th was a surprise; there are only a few scattered records for the Rift Valley and this appears to be the first for Awassa. A flock of 38 Pacific Golden Plovers Pluvialis fulva were found on Lake Abiata on 17th. At Lake Hora, an Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina was seen on 13th; this appears to be an uncommon species in Ethiopia.

The following records are from the second half of October 2001.

Two adult and a juvenile Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata were seen, and others heard in a swamp south of Bahar Dar on 14th and another adult was at Lake Awassa on 20th; this species is apparently rarely recorded in Ethiopia. A female Plain Nightjar Caprimulgus inornatus was picked up from the road near Robe, in the Bali Mountains on 24th; the location and altitude seem to be somewhat unusual for this species. Two pairs of White-tailed Swallows Hirundo megaensis appeared to be nesting in a large hole under a 'chimney-stack' termitary south of Yabello on 22nd; the birds were frequently entering the hole and one was seen carrying food. According to the literature, the species is presumed to breed in Jan-Feb and Apr-May, but the present records and those from October 2000, when four apparently fresh nests were found in culverts under the main road, suggest that its breeding season is more prolonged. Three Golden Pipits Tmetothylacus tenellus were found near Yabello on 23rd and three Bush Pipits Anthus caffer on 22nd; the status of the latter in Ethiopia is uncertain. On 28th, 19 Wattled Cranes Bugeranus carunculatus were observed on the shore of Lac Abiyata.

The following records are from October-December 2000.

At least 90 Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea were seen on the Sanetti Plateau in October; a high count for this species at the southernmost tip of its range. A Western Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus cinerascens was seen by Lake Awasa on 1 December and at least six Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos on the Sanetti Plateau on 30 November. A juvenile Sooty Falcon Falco concolor was in the Jemma Valley on 9 October. Two Brown-backedHoneybirds Prodotiscus regulus were seen in Awash National Park on 5 December. A pair of Desert Larks Ammomanes deserti were seen between Dulecha and Fantalle on 11 October; this appears to be an extension of the known range. Also there were at least three pairs of Black-crowned Sparrow Larks Eremopterix nigriceps; apparently outside the range shown in Birds of Africa, but within that given by Urban & Brown (1971, A Checklist of the Birds of Ethiopia). A pair of Golden Pipits Tmetothylacus tenellus were seen south of Yabello on 23 October. A female / immature Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochrurus in the Jemma Valley was at the southern tip of its wintering range. A White-crowned Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga was seen by the roadside between Addis Ababa and Nazret in December. A Grey Tit-Flycatcher Myioparus plumbeus at Sof Omar was apparently just outside of its known range. An Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina was in the Jemma Valley on 9 October.

Two Spectacled Warblers Sylvia conspicillata south of the hotel at Lake Langano on 16 October 1996, two immature Subalpine Warblers Sylvia cantillans seen in good light in the same area the next day, and several Cretzschmar's Buntings Emberiza caesia associating with Ortolan Buntings E. hortulana on the western edge of Lake Chelekleka on 16 March 1997, would appear to constitute first records of these species for Ethiopia.


Mon, 01/14/2013 - 22:33 -- abc_admin


Mon, 01/14/2013 - 22:32 -- abc_admin

ALLAN, D. G., McINNES, A. M. and WONDAFRASH, M. (2006) White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi in Ethiopia: notes on habitat, densities, morphometrics, nests and eggs, and associated waterbirds. ABC Bulletin 13 (1) pp 28-36.

ASEFA A. (2015) Bird observations in Muktar Mountain Forest, eastern Ethiopia: a previously unidentified Important Bird Area. ABC Bulletin 22(1) pp 36-42.

ASH, J. and ATKINS, J. (2009) Birds of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Published by Christopher Helm, London.

ATKINSON, P., ROBERTSON, P., DELLELEGN, Y., WONDAFRASH, M. and ATKINS, J. (1996) The recent rediscovery of White-winged Flufftails in Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 3(1) pp 34-36.

BirdLife International (2000) Threatened Birds of the World. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

BLADON, A.J. et al (2015) Notes on the behaviour, plumage and distribution of the White-tailed Swallow Hirundo megaensis. ABC Bulletin 22(2) pp 148 - 161.

Bladon, A.J., Jones, S.E.I., Collar, N.J., Dellelegn, Y., Donald, P.F., Gedeon, K., Green, R.E., Spottiswoode, C.N., Töpfer, T., Wondafrash, M. (2016): Further notes on the natural history of the Ethiopian Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni. - Bulletin of the African Bird Club 23: 27-45.

BORGESHIO, L., GIANETTI, F., NDANG'ANG'A, K., SHIMELIS, A., BORGHESIO, A., RIZZO, D. and FUFA, K. (2004) A reassessment of the conservation status of Prince Ruspoli's Turaco Tauraco ruspolii. ABC Bulletin 11(2) pp 104-111.

DIJKSEN, L.J. (1996) White-fronted Black Chat Myrmecocichla albifrons breeding in Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 3(2) pp 129-130.

DIJKSEN, L. J. (1996) White-tailed Plover Vanellus leucurus, new for Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 3(2) pp 130.

ETHIOPIAN WILDLIFE AND NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY Ethiopia chapter pp 291-336 in FISHPOOL, L.D.C. and EVANS M.I. editors (2001) Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority sites for conservation. Newbury and Cambridge, UK. Pisces Publications and BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No.11).

FARNSWORTH, S. J., COOMBER, R. F., JONES, P., MADGE, S. C., WEBB, R. & WITHERICK, M. (2000) Recent observations of some bird species previously considered uncommon or rare in Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 7(1) pp 34-46.

FISHER, D., M. GABREMICHAEL and P. YATES (2012) First record of Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea for Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 19(2) pp 211-212.

FISHPOOL, L. D. C., ALLPORT, G. A. & WEBB, R. (1996) Photospot: Ethiopian endemics. ABC Bulletin 3(1) pp 40-43.

GABREMICHAEL, M.N., SPOTTISWOODE, C.N., FISHPOOL, L., FORSYTH, E., LEWIS, A., PAIN, D., THOMAS, R. and TOYE, N. (2009) Occurrence of White- tailed Swallow Hirundo megaensis near Negele, Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 16(1) pp 83-86.

GEBREMEDHIN, B. and DEMEKE, Y. (2011) Discovery of a wintering site of Demoiselle Cranes Anthropoides virgo in Kafta-Sheraro National Park, Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 18(2) pp 199-202.

GEDEON, K. (2006) Observations on the biology of the Ethiopian Bush Crow Zavattariornis stresemanni. ABC Bulletin 13 (2) pp 178-188.

GEDEON K., CAULDWELL A., EWNETU M., REGASA F., SCHÖNBRODT R. and TÖPFER T. (2015) House Sparrow and hybrids with Somali Sparrow in Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 22(1) pp 70-73

Gedeon, K., Zewdie, C., Töpfer, T. (2017): The birds (Aves) of Oromia, Ethiopia – an annotated checklist. - European Journal of Taxonomy 306: 1-69.

HUGHES, J. (2006) Preliminary survey of Wattled Ibis Bostrychia carunculata in Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia, with notes on abundance, habitat and threats. ABC Bulletin 13(2) pp 157-161.

LERNOULD, J-M. and SEITRE, R. (2004) Does hybridisation with White-cheeked Turaco Tauraco leucotis represent a threat for Prince Ruspoli's Turaco T ruspolii? ABC Bulletin 11(2) pp 112-116.

LOUETTE, M. (2003) Photospot: The endemic Ethiopian race of the African Goshawk. ABC Bulletin 10(2) pp 118-119.

MILLS, M. & SPOTTISWOODE, C. (2000) Photospot: Star-spotted Nightjar Caprimulgus stellatus. ABC Bulletin 7(2) pp 141-143.

ROBEL, D. (2000) Unidentified green turaco in Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 7(1) p 56.

RYAN, P. G. & SINCLAIR, I. (1998) Little-known African bird: Somali Starling nychognathus blythii in south-central Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 5(1) pp 56-57.

SCHOLLAERT, V. (1998) Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola in Ethiopia and its status in Africa. ABC Bulletin 5(2) pp 129-130.

SCHOLLAERT, V. (2006) First record of Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus for Ethiopia and sub-Saharan Africa. ABC Bulletin 13(1) pp 75.

SHIMELIS, A. (1999) A range extension for Ankober Serin Serinus ankoberensis. ABC Bulletin 6(2) pp 135-136.

SPOTTISWOODE, C. & MILLS, M. (2000) Records from Gambela, western Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 7(2) pp 97-100.

SPOTTISWOODE, C. (2010) Finding southern Ethiopia's endemic birds. ABC Bulletin 17(1) pp 106-113.

SWERTSEN, P. O. (1999) Two species new to Ethiopia. ABC Bulletin 6(2) pp 133-134.

TILAHUN, S., EDWARDS, S. and EGZIABHER, T.B.G. (1996) Important Bird Areas of Ethiopia. From Ethiopia Wildlife and Natural History Society.

Töpfer, T., Podsiadlowski, L., Gedeon, K. (2014): Rediscovery of the Black-fronted Francolin Pternistis (castaneicollis) atrifrons (Conover, 1930) (Aves: Galliformes: Phasianidae) with notes on biology, taxonomy and conservation. – Vertebrate Zoology 64: 261-271.

URBAN, E.K. and BROWN, L.H. (1971) A Checklist of the Birds of Ethiopia. Addis Ababa University Press.

VIVERO, J.L. (2001) A Guide to Endemic Birds of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Shama Books. 80 pp, 40 colour photographs. Paperback. Available from the publishers at PO Box 8153, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia or New Line Press, USA. A review of this book by Roger Safford appears in the Bulletin of the African Bird Club, Vol 10, No.2, September 2003.

WEBB, R. & SMITH, S. (1996) Degodi Lark Mirafra degodiensis, one of Africa’s most poorly-known species. ABC Bulletin 3(2) pp 85-86.


Mon, 01/14/2013 - 22:31 -- abc_admin

African Bird Club representative

Mengistu Wondafrash
Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society
PO Box 13303
Addis Ababa


Tel: +251 (0)116636792; Mobile: +251 (0)911180321

Feb 2009 report from Abdi Jama

Bird recorder and checklist compiler

Mengistu Wondafrash
Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society
PO Box 13303
Addis Ababa

BirdLife Affiliate:

Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (EWNHS)

The Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society publishes a general biological journal, Walia.


Ethiopian Bird Club - further contact details not known.


Mon, 01/14/2013 - 22:28 -- abc_admin

Ethiopian Wolf, Ethiopia

Image Credit: 
Claire Spottiswoode

Several categories of protected area are recognised in Ethiopia: National Park; Game Reserve; Sanctuary; and Controlled Hunting Area. National Parks and other strict nature reserves cover 161,600 km2 or 13.5% of Ethiopia's land area and include nearly all major habitat types found in the country.

Only Awash and Simen Mountains National Parks however have been formally gazetted and recognised legally.

A large proportion of the forests which remain outside the protected areas are designated as priority forest areas in order to conserve soil and preserve indigenous plant species.

Ethiopia is party to a number of international treaties including Biodiversity; CITES; Desertification; and Climate Change.

In common with many other countries in Africa, Ethiopia has a number of environmental issues which include deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management.

Conservation News

7th December 2007: Airline linked to parrot smuggling

Ethiopia Airlines, the state-run carrier, is to study claims that it was involved in wildlife smuggling - after 500 endangered African Grey Parrots were found on one of its planes. The birds were seized in Cameroon on Tuesday by a charity, the Last Great Ape Organisation, and Cameroonian troops.

Source: The Independent

25th August 2006: Syrian Northern Bald Ibis arrives in Ethiopia

Three satellite-tagged Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita from Syria have arrived in central Ethiopia.

Chris Bowden of the RSPB says "we thought we might never know for certain where the Middle Eastern population went in the winter when the Turkish population went extinct in the wild in 1989. With the rediscovery in Syria in 2002, and a successful collaboration between BirdLife Middle East, the Syrian Government and RSPB, three adult birds were fitted with transmitters (just two pairs are left! but its vital to know where they go so that measures can be taken to protect them)."

The birds have spent over 3 weeks in Yemen, (6 birds were successfully sighted on the ground, but 13 left Syria including this year's juveniles) and just when we thought they might be going to stay, they crossed the Red Sea (and Eritrea) to central Ethiopia!

15th December 2005: Local conservation group discover new flufftail site.

The Berga Bird Lovers IBA Local Conservation Group has found a third Ethiopian breeding site for the threatened White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi, greatly extending the scientific knowledge of this elusive bird's behaviour in and out of the breeding season.

Although known with certainty from Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, the White-winged Flufftail is confirmed to breed only in Ethiopia. "No one knows whether the birds in these three countries are part of one population or are distinct," said Aster Tefera, community project coordinator for the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society.

In 1995 scientists from EWNHS rediscovered White-winged Flufftail in Ethiopia, at the Suluta Valley Wetlands. Two years later, a breeding site was discovered at Berga wetlands. A second, larger breeding population was discovered in 2001 at Wersebi wetlands near Addis Ababa. The birds at Berga stay perhaps just six weeks during July and August, after which the site begins to dry out and human disturbance resumes.

Members of the Berga IBA Local Conservation Group patrol the site during breeding to prevent grass cutting and cattle trampling, and monitor the birds and their nests.

Source: BirdLife International News

Books & Sounds

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 22:26 -- abc_admin

Birds of the Horn of Africa is an extremely useful field guide which covers Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Socotra and Somalia. The first edition was published in 2009 and the second edition in 2011.

Birds of Africa south of the Sahara also covers all the species found in the Horn of Africa region.

It may also be possible to use a combination of east African and Palearctic field guides. These will cover many of the species found in this region but will miss those which are endemic to the region.


Book image: 
Book info: 
Birds of the Horn of Africa (2nd edition 2011), Nigel Redman, Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe, A&C Black, Softback.
Book description: 

This is the first field guide to the birds of this fascinating region, and a companion to Birds of East Africa by two of the same authors. Over 200 magnificent plates by John Gale and Brian Small illustrate every species that has ever occurred in the five countries covered by the guide (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Socotra), and the succinct text covers the key identification criteria. Special attention is paid to the voices of the species, and over 1000 up-to-date colour distribution maps are included. This long-awaited guide is a much-needed addition to the literature on African birds and an essential companion for birders visiting the region.

Book image: 
Book info: 
Birds of Africa South of the Sahara, Ian Sinclair & Peter Ryan, New Holland, Softback.
Book description: 

Second edition, including 500 new images and 400 updated distribution maps. Unrivalled coverage of African birds in a single volume. 2129+ species covered with an additional 101 vagrants briefly described. Revised to reflect the latest changes in taxonomy. Species descriptions give precise identification features highlighting differences between similar species as well as briefly reporting habitat, status and call. Annotated illustrations portray distinctive plumages as well as diagnostic flight patterns and major geographic variants where applicable.

Book image: 
Book info: 
Birds of Ethiopia and Eritrea, John Ash & John Atkins, A&C Black, Hardback.
Book description: 

Ethiopia and Eritrea have a fascinating and unique avifauna. Poorly known in comparison to many parts of Africa, knowledge on bird distribution in the two countries is scattered throughout the literature. For more than 35 years, the authors have been painstakingly collecting bird records in the region and plotting them on half-degree maps, including published records, data from museum specimens, sightings from their own extensive travels and, more recently, records from the many birdwatchers that now visit Ethiopia.

The resulting atlas provides, for the first time, an accurate assessment of the distribution of each of the 870 species known from the two countries, including valuable information on breeding. The succinct text summarises the results and discusses distribution to subspecies level. Extensive introductory chapters cover topics such as topography, geology, vegetation, climate, habitats, conservation, migration, breeding seasons, bird ringing, and the history of ornithology in the region. This groundbreaking book fills a large hole in the literature for one of the most diverse and least known areas of Africa. 416 pages.

Book image: 
Book info: 
Where to watch birds in Ethiopia, Claire Spottiswoode, Merid Gabremichael & Julian Francis, A&C Black, Softback.
Book description: 

An extremely comprehensive guide to the 50 best birding sites in the country. Each site account describes how to get there, what you can see there, and when to visit. A number of full colour maps complement the site texts, and GPS co-ordinates allow sites to be located with great accuracy. A section covering the top 50 species gives details of how to see each of these special birds. The book is completed with an annotated checklist of all the country's birds and more than 150 photos of birds, habitats and even some of Ethiopia's other fauna and flora. 160 pages.

Book image: 
Book info: 
Ethiopia Travellers' Handbook. Trevor Jenner. ISBN 9780993416101.
Book description: 

"Trevor Jenner’s book is a well-researched and comprehensive guide for anyone travelling to Ethiopia with valuable insights into the wildlife, culture and history of this fascinating and welcoming country." Naturetrek: Wildlife holidays worldwide.

"Two decades of interest and multiple trips to Ethiopia are the backbone to Jenner's great new guidebook - and it shows. Jam-packed with itineraries, ideas and concise accounts of the country's history, flora and fauna, it tells you everything you need to know.  Informative, inspiring and comprehensive.” Travel Africa: The world's only magazine dedicated to exploring Africa


Mon, 01/14/2013 - 22:22 -- abc_admin

Greyish Eagle Owl Bubo cinerascens Ethiopia

Image Credit: 
Sue Walsh

Birding tours

There are a number of organised birdwatching tours to Ethiopia including those offered by Birding AfricaBirdfinders, Birding Ecotours, Birdquest, Field Guides, Rockjumper and Sunbird


Yilma Dellelegn Abebe is an Ethiopian ornithologist and bird guide who has worked with Birdlife Ethiopia (Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society) and has helped produce the IBA book in 1996. Yilma has set up a bird tour operation and can escort visitors in Ethiopia.

mobile: 251-1-9-400636
address: P.O. Box 18112, Addis Ababa, Ethioipia


Trip reports

A report by Mills et al. (1999) is available for free download from Birding Africa.

David Murdoch has documented the details of his trip to Ethiopia in February 2011. You can download the following comprehensive trip details for free: site data and daily records.


For independent travel in much of Ethiopia, a hired 4x4 vehicle is essential. Most important sites are accessible no other way, although there is an extensive network of internal flights operated by Ethiopian Airlines, as well as local buses. Hired vehicles in Ethiopia typically come with a driver, which is in any event essential since signposts are scarce and in the Amharic alphabet.


Most of Ethiopia, such as the Rift Valley and highlands, is quite safe. The ongoing simmering conflict with Eritrea in the north, and with Somali separatists in the far south and far east do cause occasional difficulties, and at the best of times great care should be taken in the remote but biologically intriguing Negele - Bogol Manyo area. There have also been recent tribal disturbances in the far west (Gambela area). The situation changes all the time, and up-to-date enquiries are therefore necessary.

Malaria prophylaxis and Hepatitis A inoculation is recommended, and Yellow Fever inoculation is required by law. A water purification kit (ideally a good quality filter such as those manufactured by MSR) is highly recommended, since bottled water is not widely available outside of Addis Ababa. In addition, do not underestimate the danger of being in the sun too long. Ensure you use sun-block and drink plenty of water, and wear a hat. The incidence of Aids is high. Ensure that you take a reasonably-equipped first-aid pack with you including supplies of hypodermic and suturing needles.

See the following 2 websites for the latest safety and travel information: US Travel and UK FCO.


Mon, 01/14/2013 - 22:21 -- abc_admin

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill Bucorvus abyssinicus male, Ethiopia

Image Credit: 
Sue Walsh

Ideally one needs to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle to tour Ethiopia, 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.

The Bale Mountains National Park in the southern part of the eastern south-eastern highlands has a number of Ethiopia's highland endemic species and a number of species not found elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. The park can be reached by the highest all-weather road in Africa allowing easy access to alpine moorlands, grasslands and lakes. Bale Mountains are park like in low areas, but on the top it is very cold and plain. Symian Fox can be seen in this area and Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus and Roguet's Rail Rougetius rougetii can be found, the latter fairly easily.

From the plateau go down through the Hareena Forest (sub-tropical wet) and on to Negele and to the Somali border, a long road for Degodi Lark Mirafra degodiensis and Sidamo Lark Heteromirafra sidamoensis. The following species have been seen in the Genale River area: Black-faced Pterocles decoratus and Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse P. lichtensteinii, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird Anthreptes orientalis, African Grey Flycatcher Bradornis microrhynchus, Abyssinian Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus minor, Rosy-patched Shrike Rhodophoneus cruentus, Pringle's Puffback Dryoscopus pringlii, Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti, Irania Irania gutturalis, Somali Long-billed Crombec Sylvietta isabellina, Somali Bunting Emberiza poliopleura and African White-winged Dove Streptopelia reichenowi.

Ethiopian forest endemics are accessible at forest patches such as those at Wondo Genet (central highlands) and Debre Libanos (northern highlands). A number of other highland localities deserve individual mention. North of Addis Ababa, the Jemmu River valley holds a population of highly localized and endemic Harwood's Francolin Francolinus harwoodi, best searched for along the river itself. The rocky valley rim hosts a number of species that could be searched for in any rocky highland area, such as White-billed Starling Onychognathus albirostris, Ruppell's Black Chat Myrmecocichla melaena, Nyanza Swift Apus niansae and White-winged Cliff Chat Thamnolaea semirufa.

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 Chelictinia riocourii, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill Bucorvus abyssinicus and Arabian Bustard Ardeotis arabs.

From Awash, continue down the Rift Valley and across the highlands to Urghoba to Weebee River Gorge for Salvadori's Seedeater Serinus xantholaemus. A line of eucalyptus on the way have African Long-eared Owl Asio abyssinicus.


Mon, 01/14/2013 - 22:20 -- abc_admin

Von der Decken's Hornbill Tockus deckeni male, Ethiopia

Image Credit: 
Sue Walsh

White-cheeked Turaco Tauraco leucotis, Ethiopia

Image Credit: 
Sue Walsh

Country checklist and status


We are delighted that our Corporate Sponsor iGoTerra has made its country checklists, including subspecies (IOC or Clements) as well as all other species groups like mammals, butterflies etc. available through the ABC website. The only thing required is a Basic membership / registration which is free of charge. Go to Ethiopia checklists. If you are already a member of iGoTerra, you will be taken directly to the country page. In case you are not a member, you will be redirected automatically to the registration form and from there can go straight to the country page.

Ethiopia is a very important country ornithologically. Some  816 species of bird have been recorded of which at least 596 are resident and 224 are regular seasonal migrants including 176 from the Palearctic.

Endemic species

Blue-winged Goose Cyanochen cyanoptera
Harwood's Francolin Francolinus harwoodi
Spot-breasted Lapwing Vanellus melanocephalus
Yellow-fronted Parrot Poicephalus flavifrons
Prince Ruspoli's Turaco Tauraco ruspolii
Nechisar Nightjar Caprimulgus solala
Degodi Lark Mirafra degodiensis
Sidamo Lark Heteromirafra sidamoensis
White-tailed Swallow Hirundo megaensis
Abyssinian Longclaw Macronyx flavicollis
Abyssinian Catbird Parophasma galinieri
Stresemann's Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni
Red-billed Pytilia Pytilia lineata
Ankober Serin Carduelis ankoberensis

Near-endemic species

Wattled Ibis Bostrychia carunculata
Rouget’s Rail Rougetius rougetii
White-collared Pigeon Columba albitorques
Black-winged Lovebird Agapornis taranta
White-cheeked Turaco Tauraco leucotis
Banded Barbet Lybius undatus
Abyssinian Woodpecker Dendropicos abyssinicus
Ruppell’s Black Chat Myrmecocichla melaena
White-winged Cliff-Chat Thamnolaea semirufa
Abyssinian Slaty-Flycatcher Melaenornis chocolatinus
White-backed Black Tit Parus leuconotus
Red-naped Bush-Shrike Laniarius ruficeps
Abyssinian Black-headed Oriole Oriolus monacha
Thick-billed Raven Corvus crassirostris
White-billed Starling Onychognathus albirostris

Ethiopian Siskin

Serinus nigriceps

Yellow-rumped Seedeater Serinus xanthopygius

Threatened species

Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita Critical
Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus Vulnerable
Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga Vulnerable
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca Vulnerable
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni Vulnerable
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug Endangered
Harwood's Francolin Francolinus harwoodi Vulnerable
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus Vulnerable
White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi Endangered
Prince Ruspoli's Turaco Tauraco ruspolii Vulnerable
Nechisar Nightjar Caprimulgus solala Vulnerable
Degodi Lark Mirafra degodiensis Vulnerable
Sidamo Lark Heteromirafra sidamoensis Vulnerable
White-tailed Swallow Hirundo megaensis Vulnerable
Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis Endangered
Stresemann's Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni Vulnerable
Yellow-throated Seedeater Serinus flavigula Endangered
Salvadori's Seedeater Serinus xantholaemus Vulnerable
Ankober Serin Carduelis ankoberensis Vulnerable

The lists of endemic, near endemic and threatened species have been compiled from a number of sources including the African Bird Club, BirdLife International, and Birds of the World Version 2.0 ® 1994-1996, Dr. Charles Sibley and Thayer Birding Software, Ltd. For further information on Ethiopia’s threatened species, see BirdLife International.

Important Bird Areas

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 22:17 -- abc_admin

Ethiopia Gambella National Park

Image Credit: 
Claire Spottiswoode

Ethiopia is a very important country ornithologically. Some  816 species of bird have been recorded of which at least 596 are resident and 224 are regular seasonal migrants including 176 from the Palearctic.

Parts or all of three Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs) lie within Ethiopia: the Jubba and Shabeelle vallleys EBA is shared with Somalia and 3 of its 4 species occur; the whole of the South Ethiopian highlands EBA with 5 species is within Ethiopia; and most of the Central Ethiopian highlands EBA is in Ethiopia and its 4 species occur. There is also one secondary area which is defined by the distribution of Sombre Rock-Chat Cercomela dubia.

Parts of 4 biome restricted assemblages occur in Ethiopia: Sahel in a small area in the far north with 16 of its species; Sudan-Guinea Savanna which occupies much of the west of the country with 16 of 54 species; Afrotropical highlands which straddles much of the centre of Ethiopia with 49 species; and Somali-Masai across the ast and remaining central parts with 98 species.

Numerous wetlands are important for birds including the lakes of the Rift Valley, montane marshes and bogs and particularly in the west, lowland swamps.

A remarkable 69 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) were defined by the Ethiopian WildLife and Natural History Society in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands (BirdLife International 2001). They cover 47,757 km2 equivalent to at least 4.3% of the land area of the country. They are as follows:

01 Shire lowlands in the Tekeze valley 36 Jibat forest
02 Dessa’a forest 37 Tiro Boter—Becho forest
03 Simen Mountains National Park 38 Mount Zuquala
04 Lake Ashenge 39 Koka dam and Lake Gelila
05 Hugumburda and Grat-Kahsu forests 40 Baro river
06 Fogera plains 41 Lake Zeway
07 Bahir Dar—Lake Tana 42 Gambella National Park
08 Lake Abe wetland system 43 Shek Husein
09 Yegof forest 44 Mugo highlands
10 Yangudi-Rassa National Park 45 Koffe swamp
11 Denkoro forest 46 Metu—Gore—Tepi forests
12 Awi Zone 47 Lake Langano
13 Choke mountains 48 Abijatta—Shalla Lakes National Park
14 Guassa (Menz) 49 Boyo wetland
15 Jemma and Jara valleys 50 Bonga forest
16 Mid-Abbay (Blue Nile) river basin 51 Senkele Sanctuary
17 Lakes Alemaya and Adele 52 Sof Omar
18 Ankober—Debre Sina escarpment 53 Lake Awassa
19 Aliyu Amba—Dulecha 54 Bale Mountains National Park
20 Finchaa and Chomen swamps 55 Omo National Park
21 Berga flood-plain 56 Nechisar National Park
22 Bisidimo 57 Genale river
23 Entoto Natural Park and escarpment 58 Anferara forests
24 Sululta plain 59 Mago National Park
25 Gudo plain 60 Lower Wabi Shebelle river and Warder
26 Chilimo forest 61 Mankubsa—Welenso forest
27 Gefersa reservoir 62 Liben plains and Negele woodlands
28 Awash National Park 63 Konso—Segen
29 Akaki—Aba—Samuel wetlands 64 Yabello Sanctuary
30 Dilu Meda (Tefki) 65 Arero forest
31 Menagesha State Forest 66 Dawa—Wachile
32 Bishoftu lake 67 Lake Chew Bahir
33 Chelekleka lake and swamp 68 Bogol Manyo—Dolo
34 Green Lake Oromiya 69 Lake Turkana and Omo delta
35 Babille Elephant Sanctuary  

For further details, download the country IBAs from BirdLife International.


Subscribe to Ethiopia

Copyright © African Bird Club. All rights reserved.
UK registered charity 1053920


Web site designed and built by