The following largely unconfirmed records are taken from bulletins of the African Bird Club and are for information only.
from ABC Bulletin 26.2
The following records are from January–April 2019. The first Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan for Ethiopia was photographed at Lake Ziway on 30 March (Fig. 17; OC); details will be published in this journal. At least 50 Scarce Swifts Schoutedenapus myoptilus flew over Harenna Forest on 15 April (MM). Sightings from Omo National Park on 18–19 January included a Plain Nightjar Caprimulgus inornatus (Fig. 18), a male and two female Standard-winged Nightjars C. longipennis (Fig. 19), three Green Wood-hoopoes Phoeniculus purpureus with red bills and a green sheen to the head and mantle, three displaying pairs of Jackson’s Hornbills Tockus jacksoni (Fig. 20) and a male House Sparrow Passer domesticus (the latter at Chinese Camp, south of Mui). Three male and three female Standard-winged Nightjars were also observed in Maze National Park on 26 February (Fig. 21; TJ). A dark- and a pale-morph Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae were hunting insects with several Eurasian Hobbies F. subbuteo in the Negele area on 16 April; this is a rare passage migrant in the country. A male Amur Falcon F. amurensis was on the Soda Plain on 18 April. Graceful Prinia Prinia gracilis was photographed and sound-recorded at Lake Baseka, near Metahara, c.350 km outside the species’ usual range, on 9 April (MM).
from ABC Bulletin 26.1
Near Mui, in Omo National Park, south-west Ethiopia, a Yellowbill Ceuthmochares aereus was photographed in a riverine thicket west of the Omo River on 20 March 2018 (Fig. 11); there are few confirmed records. In the same park, on the Berkye Meda Plain, a Yellow-billed Oxpecker Buphagus africanus was observed on a Cape Buffalo Syncerus caffer (Fig. 12) and a flock of seven on Common Elands Taurotragus oryx on 19 March; the species is not mapped for southern Ethiopia by Redman et al. (2011. Birds of the Horn of Africa) or Ash & Atkins (2009. Birds of Ethiopia and Eritrea), although the latter state that whilst Urban & Brown (1971. A Checklist of the Birds of Ethiopia) mention it for the southwest, no records have been traced and there are no records since (TJ). Excellent views of Cricket Warblers Spiloptila clamans were obtained at the Yemrehanna Kristos monastery, near Lalibela, on 22 October—their distinctive features were noted (black-and-white crown pattern, pale grey nape, cinnamon-brown mantle, white-fringed black wing-coverts and uniformly pale underparts) while the birds were feeding in low vegetation, moving their long, graduated tails in all directions (IP); this is the first record for the country, and well south of the species’ known range in western Eritrea.
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.