ኢትዮጵያ | Itiyoophiyaa | Itoobiya | ናይኢትዮጵያ | Ityoppiah | Ethiopia

Horn of Africa

1,104,300 km² (10th largest country in Africa)


Mostly Afrotropical avifauna, with a high degree of endemism
Approximately 860 recorded species (8th longest bird list of any country in the ABC region)

Ruspoli’s Turaco (Tadeusz Rosiński)
Harwood’s Spurfowl (Adam Riley)
Blue-winged Goose (Paul van Giersbergen)

Endemics (E)
Harwood’s Spurfowl (NT)
Moorland Francolin (NT)
Blue-winged Goose (NT)
Nechisar Nightjar (VU)
Ruspoli’s Turaco (NT)
Spot-breasted Lapwing (LC)
Yellow-fronted Parrot (LC)
Stresemann’s Bushcrow (EN)
Archer’s Lark | Liben Lark (CR)
White-tailed Swallow (VU)
Abyssinian Catbird (LC)
Red-billed Pytilia (LC)
Abyssinian Longclaw (NT)
Yellow-throated Seedeater (EN)
Salvadori’s Seedeater (NT)
Ankober Serin (VU)
Ethiopian Siskin (LC)

Moorland Francolin (Adam Riley)

Near-endemics (NE)
Chestnut-naped Spurfowl
Black-fronted Spurfowl
Erckel’s Spurfowl
Wattled Ibis
Rouget’s Rail
White-collared Pigeon
White-cheeked Turaco
Abyssinian Owl
Black-billed Wood Hoopoe
Banded Barbet
Abyssinian Woodpecker
Black-winged Lovebird
Northern Puffback (erythreae)
Ethiopian Boubou
Abyssinian Oriole
Thick-billed Raven
White-backed Black Tit
Blanford’s Lark
Ethiopian Cisticola
White-rumped Babbler
Heuglin’s White-eye
White-billed Starling
Ethiopian Thrush
Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher
White-winged Cliff Chat
Rüppell’s Black Chat
Sombre Rock Chat
Swainson’s Sparrow
Abyssinian Waxbill
Yellow-rumped Seedeater
Brown-rumped Seedeater

Thick-billed Raven (John Caddick)
Stresemann’s Bushcrow (Tadeusz Rosiński)
Spot-breasted Lapwing (Paul van Giersbergen)
Abyssinian Owl (John Caddick)
Ankober Serin (John Caddick)

Birds best found in Ethiopia but occurring more widely (BT)
White-winged Collared Dove
Hemprich’s Hornbill
Yellow-breasted Barbet
Ethiopian Bee-eater
Grey-headed Batis
Red-naped Bushshrike
Somali Fiscal
Somali Crow
Fan-tailed Raven
Singing Bush Lark
Gillett’s Lark
Somali Short-toed Lark
Somali Bulbul
Boran Cisticola
Abyssinian White-eye
Shelley’s Starling
White-crowned Starling
Abyssinian Ground Thrush
Little Rock Thrush
Moorland Chat | Alpine Chat
Red-breasted Wheatear
Nile Valley Sunbird
Shining Sunbird
Rüppell’s Weaver
Juba Weaver
Barka Indigobird
Northern Grosbeak Canary

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not NE or BT (1/2), including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Little Brown Bustard
White-winged Flufftail
Star-spotted Nightjar
Masked Lark (ESS personata)
Philippa’s Crombec
Somali Wheatear

Birds best found in two territories but occurring in more (B2)
Somali Ostrich
Vulturine Guineafowl
Clapperton’s Spurfowl
Hartlaub’s Bustard
Black-winged Lapwing
Somali Courser
Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse
Cape Eagle-Owl
Sombre Nightjar
Donaldson-Smith’s Nightjar
Nyanza Swift
Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Black-billed Barbet
Fox Kestrel
Pringle’s Puffback
Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit
Chestnut-headed Sparrow-Lark
Foxy Lark
Thekla Lark
Rufous-capped Lark
Dodson’s Bulbul
Somali Crombec | Somali Long-billed Crombec
Ashy Cisticola
Tiny Cisticola
Foxy Cisticola
Pale Prinia
Brown-tailed Apalis
Yellow-vented Eremomela
Green-backed Eremomela
Scaly Chatterer
Rufous Chatterer
Bristle-crowned Starling
Magpie Starling
Gambaga Flycatcher
Brown-tailed Rock Chat
Black-capped Social Weaver
Shelley’s Rufous Sparrow
Abyssinian Crimsonwing
Crimson-rumped Waxbill
Black-cheeked Waxbill
African Citril
Stripe-breasted Seedeater

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Schuett’s Spurfowl
Archer’s Francolin (BT)
Ethiopian Goshawk (NE)
Brown-faced Go-away-bird (E)
Crimson-crested Turaco (E)
Mackinder’s Eagle-Owl (B2 dillonii)
Lilac-throated Roller (BT)
Blue Saw-wing (NE)
Brown Saw-wing (E)
Ethiopian Saw-wing (NE)
Bale Parisoma (E)
Ethiopian Stout Cisticola (NE)
Kaffa White-eye (E)
Ethiopian Red-breasted Wheatear (BT)
White-winged Scrub Robin (B2)
Ethiopian Grey Flycatcher (BT)
Abyssinian Wheatear (BT)
African Shining Sunbird (NE)
Ethiopian Black-faced Firefinch (NE)

Other taxa of interest, including more ESS
White-backed Duck
African Pygmy Goose
Black Heron
Pink-backed Pelican
Scissor-tailed Kite | African Swallow-tailed Kite
Bearded Vulture | Lammergeier
Verreaux’s Eagle
African Goshawk (ESS croizati)
Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk (ESS perspicillaris)
Arabian Bustard
Allen’s Gallinule
Black Crowned Crane
Wattled Crane
Egyptian Plover
Lesser Jacana
African Snipe
Three-banded Courser | Heuglin’s Courser
Yellow-throated Sandgrouse
Black-faced Sandgrouse
Dusky Turtle Dove
Eastern Grey Plantain-eater
Montane Nightjar
Slender-tailed Nightjar
Half-collared Kingfisher
Black Scimitarbill (ESS notatus)
Abyssinian Scimitarbill
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird (ESS xanthostictus)
Red-fronted Barbet
Black-throated Barbet
Red-and-yellow Barbet
D’Arnaud’s Barbet
Red-throated Wryneck (ESS aequatorialis)
Eastern Grey Woodpecker
Red-bellied Parrot | African Orange-bellied Parrot
Pygmy Batis
Rosy-patched Bushshrike
Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike
Red-billed Chough (ESS baileyi)
White-winged Black Tit (ESS leucomelas)
Acacia Tit
Dark-capped Bulbul (ESS spurius)
Red-chested Swallow (ESS rothschildi)
Brown Woodland Warbler
Basra Reed Warbler
Little Rush Warbler (ESS abyssinicus)
Cinnamon Bracken Warbler
Bamboo Warbler
Grey Wren-Warbler
White-headed Babbler
Banded Parisoma
African Spotted Creeper (ESS erlangeri)
Golden-breasted Starling
African Bare-eyed Thrush
Abyssinian Thrush
Rüppell’s Robin-Chat
Tacazze Sunbird
Variable Sunbird (albiventris)
Grey-capped Social Weaver
Yellow-crowned Bishop (ESS strictus)
Yellow Bishop (ESS xanthomelas)
Red-cowled Widowbird (laticauda)
Yellow-bellied Waxbill (quartinia)
Straw-tailed Whydah
Mountain Wagtail (ESS clara)

Montane moorlands, escarpments and forests, arid savanna

Central Ethiopian highlands Endemic Bird Area (EBA)
Jubba and Shabeelle valleys EBA
South Ethiopian highlands EBA
Northern Ethiopia Secondary Area
68 Important Bird Areas

Bale Mountains, Jemma Valley, Bishangari Lodge, Harenna Forest and Debre Libanos for montane and escarpment species
Negele, Yavello, Awash and Lake Langano for arid savanna species
Gibe Gorge and Gambela for savanna species

TIMING (Oct, Mar-Apr)
Best to visit at the start of the rains in the highlands (Mar–May) and the main rains in the arid lowlands (Apr–May, Oct), when most birds breed
Passage migrants are best Sep–Oct and Palaearctic migrants Oct–Mar
Avoid the main rains in the highlands (Jun–Sep)

Birds of Africa (iOS or Android)

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

Bird Recordings from Ethiopia by Steve Smith

Site guides
Where to Watch Birds in Ethiopia by Claire Spottiswoode, Merid Gabremichael & Julian Francis (2010)
Birding Ethiopia: a Guide to the Country’s Birding Sites by Ken Behrens, Keith Barnes & Christian Boix (2010)

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

Further reading
Ethiopia by Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (EWNHS) 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 Jose Luis Vivero Pol (2001)
Bird Diversity of Chebera Churchura National Park, Ethiopia: the Study of Avian Relative Abundance, Distribution and Seasonal Habitat Association by Dereje Woldejohannes Tanga (2011)
The Search for the Rarest Bird in the World by Vernon R L Head (2014)
Ethiopia: in Search of Endemic Birds, a trip report by Julian Francis & Hadoram Shirihai (1999)
A Survey of Nechisar National Park, Ethiopia by J W Duckworth (1992)
Articles in Walia (journal of the EWNHS), Agazen (EWNHS educational newsletter), SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science, Scopus, Bull. ABC, etc.

Simien National Park – UNESCO World Heritage List
Tadele Travel
Ethiopia Tours – Ashanti African Tours

Ethiopia’s Endemics – 10,000 Birds by Adam Riley (2012)
Tribes and Birds of the Lower Omo Valley – 10,000 Birds by Adam Riley (2015)


The Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (EWNHS) is the BirdLife Partner in Ethiopia

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

Other bird or conservation organisations active in Ethiopia include –
Ethio Wetlands and Natural Resources Association (EWNRA)
Wildlife Conservation and Environmental Development Association of Ethiopia (WildCODE) 
Wildlife for Sustainable Development (WSD)
Lem, the Environment & Development Society of Ethiopia (Lem Ethiopia)
Forum for Environment (FfE)
Ethiopian Heritage Trust
Berga Bird Lovers Group
Lalibela Bird Club
Menagesha Suba Forest Lovers Group
SOS Sahel Ethiopia
Biodiversity Inventory for Conservation (BINCO)
Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS)

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