Horn of Africa

117,600 km²


A blend of Afrotropical and Palaearctic species
Approximately 590 recorded species

Wattled Ibis (Adam Riley)
Rouget’s Rail (Adam Riley)
Abyssinian Woodpecker (Sergio Maria Bianchi)

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not near-endemics (1/2)
White-collared Pigeon
Rouget’s Rail
Wattled Ibis
Banded Barbet
Abyssinian Woodpecker
Black-winged Lovebird
Ethiopian Oriole
White-backed Black Tit
Blanford’s Lark
Ethiopian Cisticola
White-billed Starling
Ethiopian Thrush
Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher
White-winged Cliff Chat
Rüppell’s Black Chat
Rusty-breasted Wheatear

Birds best found in two territories but occurring in more (B2)
Erckel’s Spurfowl
White-cheeked Turaco
Thick-billed Raven
White-headed Babbler
Yellow-rumped Seedeater

Thick-billed Raven (John Caddick)

Proposed splits not yet accepted by IOC
Archer’s Francolin
Abyssinian Nightjar
Ethiopian Goshawk (1/2)
Northern Red-fronted Tinkerbird
Ethiopian Puffback
Arabian Grey Shrike
Glossy-backed Drongo
Singing Bush Lark
Blue Saw-wing (1/2)
Eastern Crombec
Mangrove Reed Warbler
Ethiopian Stout Cisticola (1/2)
Ethiopian White-eye (B2)
African Scrub Robin
Spectacled Quailfinch

Other taxa of interest
Common Ostrich (camelus)
Maccoa Duck
Stone Partridge (major)
Clapperton’s Spurfowl
Yellow-necked Spurfowl
Sombre Nightjar
Nubian Nightjar
Plain Nightjar
Long-tailed Nightjar
Standard-winged Nightjar
Nyanza Swift
Eastern Plantain-eater
Arabian Bustard
Blue-headed Coucal
White-browed Coucal
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse
Spotted Sandgrouse
Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse
Four-banded Sandgrouse
African Olive Pigeon
Dusky Turtle Dove
African Collared Dove
Bruce’s Green Pigeon
Great Crested Grebe
Black-headed Lapwing
Black-winged Lapwing
Kentish Plover
African Snipe
Brown Noddy
White-eyed Gull
Sooty Gull
Caspian Tern
Greater Crested Tern
Lesser Crested Tern
Saunders’s Tern
Bridled Tern
White-cheeked Tern
Red-billed Tropicbird
Abdim’s Stork
Masked Booby
Brown Booby
Socotra Cormorant
Eurasian Spoonbill (archeri)
Striated Heron (brevipes)
Western Reef Heron (schistacea)
Pink-backed Pelican
Bearded Vulture
Egyptian Vulture
Rüppell’s Vulture
Verreaux’s Eagle
Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk
Augur Buzzard
Little Owl (spilogastra)
Northern White-faced Owl
Abyssinian Owl
Cape Eagle-Owl (dillonii)
Black-billed Wood Hoopoe
Black Scimitarbill
Northern Red-billed Hornbill
Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Hemprich’s Hornbill
Abyssinian Roller
Collared Kingfisher
Half-collared Kingfisher
Ethiopian Bee-eater
African Green Bee-eater
Northern Carmine Bee-eater
Black-throated Barbet
Vieillot’s Barbet
Black-billed Barbet
Yellow-breasted Barbet
Nubian Woodpecker
African Grey Woodpecker
Brown-backed Woodpecker
Greater Kestrel
Fox Kestrel
Sooty Falcon
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Grey-headed Batis
Western Black-headed Batis
Rosy-patched Bushshrike
Ethiopian Boubou
Black-headed Gonolek
Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike
Cape Crow
Brown-necked Raven
Somali Crow
Fan-tailed Raven
White-winged Black Tit
Sennar Penduline Tit
Greater Hoopoe-Lark
Desert Lark
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark
Thekla’s Lark
Crested Lark
Common Bulbul (schoanus)
Ethiopian Swallow
Brown Woodland Warbler
Clamorous Reed Warbler
Red-pate Cisticola
Pectoral-patch Cisticola
Graceful Prinia
Cricket Warbler
Buff-bellied Warbler
Red-fronted Prinia
Yellow-bellied Eremomela
Green-backed Eremomela (abyssinica)
Arabian Warbler
Abyssinian White-eye
Fulvous Babbler
White-rumped Babbler
Lesser Blue-eared Starling
Rüppell’s Starling
Chestnut-bellied Starling
Red-winged Starling
Slender-billed Starling
Somali Starling
Yellow-billed Oxpecker
Red-billed Oxpecker
Abyssinian Thrush
Black Scrub Robin
African Dusky Flycatcher
Rüppell’s Robin-Chat
Little Rock Thrush
Mocking Cliff Chat (albiscapulata)
White-fronted Black Chat (albifrons)
Blackstart (lypura)
Brown-tailed Rock Chat (scotocerca)
Abyssinian Wheatear (lugubris)
White-crowned Wheatear (leucopyga)
Nile Valley Sunbird
Tacazze Sunbird
Beautiful Sunbird
Marico Sunbird
Shining Sunbird
Yellow-spotted Bush Sparrow
Sahel Bush Sparrow
Swainson’s Sparrow
House Sparrow (rufidorsalis)
Sudan Golden Sparrow
White-billed Buffalo Weaver
Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver
Speckle-fronted Weaver
Baglafecht Weaver
Little Weaver
Rüppell’s Weaver
Chestnut Weaver
Northern Red Bishop
African Silverbill
Yellow-bellied Waxbill
Black-rumped Waxbill
Crimson-rumped Waxbill
Sahel Paradise Whydah
Mountain Wagtail
African Citril
Brown-rumped Seedeater
Streaky Seedeater
Yellow-crowned Canary
White-rumped Seedeater
Striolated Bunting
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting (septemstriata)

Tacazze Sunbird (Sergio Maria Bianchi)
White-eyed Gull (Sergio Maria Bianchi)
Rüppell’s Weaver (Sergio Maria Bianchi)

Montane moorlands and forest, coastal deserts, savanna

Central Ethiopian highlands Endemic Bird Area
14 Important Bird Areas

Filfil Forest for forest and escarpment species
Western Plain for Sahelian and Sudan-Guinea savanna species
Massawa Coast and Dahlak Archipelago for desert species, breeding seabirds and waterbirds, and non-breeding migrants including Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pacific Golden Plover, Tibetan Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Caspian Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull (fuscus/heuglini/barabensis), Gull-billed Tern, Common Tern and Wilson’s Storm Petrel

TIMING (Oct, Feb–Mar)
Best in spring and after the rains in the coastal deserts (Mar–Apr) and at the start of the rains in the highlands, when most birds start to breed (Mar–May)
Afro-Palearctic migrants are present Oct–Mar or on passage Sep-Oct and Mar-Apr
Avoid the hottest months at the coast (May–Sep)

Birds of Africa (iOS or Android)

Field guides
Birds of the Horn of Africa by Nigel Redman, Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe (2011)
Birds of Eastern Africa by Ber Van Perlo (2009)

Birds of Ethiopia and Eritrea: an Atlas of Distribution by John Ash & John Atkins (2009)

Further reading
Eritrea by N D Coulthard in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
A Guide to Endemic Birds of Ethiopia and Eritrea by José Luis Vivero Pol (2001)
Wings over the Red Sea: the Birds of the Eritrean Islands by Giuseppe De Marchi, Giorgio Chiozzi & Dawit Semere (2009)
Articles in Scopus, Bull. ABC, etc.

Birdwatching in Eritrea


There is currently no BirdLife Partner in Eritrea

The BirdLife International UNDP/GEF Migratory Soaring Birds Project works in Eritrea

We know of no non-governmental bird or conservation organisations active in Eritrea

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