Soomaaliya | الصومال | Somalia

Horn of Africa

637,660 km²



Mostly Afrotropical avifauna, but with a Middle Eastern component
Approximately 570 recorded species

Somali Bulbul (Paul van Giersbergen)
Somali Bee-eater (Paul van Giersbergen)
Somali Lark (Nigel Redman)

Endemics (E)
Somali Pigeon (DD)
Lesser Hoopoe-Lark (LC)
Sharpe’s Lark (EN)
Ash’s Lark (EN)
Somali Lark (LC)
Obbia Lark (DD)
Somali Thrush (LC)
Somali Golden-winged Grosbeak (NT)
Warsangli Linnet (NT)

Near-endemics (NE)
Black Boubou | Coastal Boubou
Red Weaver

Birds best found in Somalia but occurring more widely (BT)
Little Brown Bustard
Rufous-capped Lark (daaroodensis)
Philippa’s Crombec
Somali Wheatear

Heuglin’s Bustard (Paul van Giersbergen)
Little Brown Bustard (Nik Borrow)
Gillett’s Lark (Nik Borrow)

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not NE or BT (1/2)
Chestnut-naped Spurfowl
White-winged Collared Dove
Archer’s Lark | Liben Lark
Socotra White-eye
Violet-breasted Sunbird
Arabian Golden Sparrow
Malindi Pipit

Birds best found in two territories but occurring in more (B2), including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Heuglin’s Bustard
Somali Bee-eater
Somali Crow | Dwarf Raven
Gillett’s Lark
Collared Lark
Somali Short-toed Lark (ESS perconfusa)

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC, including ESS
Archer’s Francolin (B2)
Archer’s Buzzard (E)
Blue-breasted Roller
Northern Red-fronted Tinkerbird
East Coast Puffback
Arabian Grey Shrike
Singing Bush Lark
Eastern Crombec
Mangrove Reed Warbler (BT)
African Scrub Robin (ESS hamertoni)
White-winged Scrub Robin
East Coast Flycatcher (ESS erlangeri)
Ethiopian Grey Flycatcher (1/2)
Red-backed Mannikin

Other taxa of interest, including more ESS
Somali Ostrich
Vulturine Guineafowl
Yellow-necked Spurfowl
Sombre Nightjar
Nubian Nightjar
Donaldson-Smith’s Nightjar
Plain Nightjar
Slender-tailed Nightjar
Forbes-Watson’s Swift (ESS bensoni)
Nyanza Swift (somalicus)
White-bellied Go-away-bird
Kori Bustard
Buff-crested Bustard
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse
Black-faced Sandgrouse
Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse
African Collared Dove (arabica)
Bruce’s Green Pigeon
Black-headed Lapwing
Somali Courser
Double-banded Courser (hartingi)
Three-banded Courser (mayaudi + balsaci)
White-eyed Gull
Sooty Gull
Saunders’s Tern
Bridled Tern
White-cheeked Tern
Western Reef Heron
Scissor-tailed Kite
Eastern Chanting Goshawk
Little Owl (somaliensis)
White-headed Mousebird
Black-billed Wood Hoopoe
Abyssinian Scimitarbill
Northern Red-billed Hornbill
Von der Decken’s Hornbill
Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Hemprich’s Hornbill
Olive Bee-eater
Northern Carmine Bee-eater
Black-throated Barbet (ESS blandi)
Yellow-breasted Barbet (somalicus)
Red-and-yellow Barbet
D’Arnaud’s Barbet
Nubian Woodpecker
Pygmy Falcon
Red-bellied Parrot
Grey-headed Batis
Western Black-headed Batis
Pygmy Batis
Rosy-patched Bushshrike
Three-streaked Tchagra
Pringle’s Puffback
Slate-coloured Boubou
Red-naped Bushshrike (ESS ruficeps)
Ethiopian Boubou
Northern White-crowned Shrike
Taita Fiscal
Somali Fiscal
Cape Crow
Fan-tailed Raven
Acacia Tit
Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit
Greater Hoopoe-Lark
Desert Lark (ESS akeleyi)
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark
Chestnut-headed Sparrow-Lark
Pink-breasted Lark
Foxy Lark (alopex)
Red-winged Lark
Short-tailed Lark (fremantlii)
Thekla’s Lark (ESS ellioti + mallablensis)
Dodson’s Bulbul
Somali Bulbul
Ethiopian Swallow
Somali Crombec
Brown Woodland Warbler (ESS williamsi)
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (ESS alulensis)
Ashy Cisticola
Tiny Cisticola
Graceful Prinia (ESS ashi)
Pale Prinia (ESS somalica)
Red-fronted Prinia
Brown-tailed Apalis
Grey Wren-Warbler
Yellow-vented Eremomela
Banded Parisoma (somalica)
Arabian Warbler (somaliensis)
Scaly Chatterer
White-rumped Babbler
Rüppell’s Starling
Golden-breasted Starling
Superb Starling
Shelley’s Starling
White-crowned Starling
Somali Starling
Bristle-crowned Starling
Magpie Starling
Red-billed Oxpecker
Abyssinian Thrush
Black Scrub Robin
Gambaga Flycatcher
Little Rock Thrush
Brown-tailed Rock Chat (ESS validior)
Abyssinian Wheatear (ESS vauriei)
Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird
Nile Valley Sunbird
Hunter’s Sunbird
Shining Sunbird
Yellow-spotted Bush Sparrow
Shelley’s Sparrow
Parrot-billed Sparrow
Swainson’s Sparrow
Somali Sparrow (castanopterus)
Red-billed Buffalo Weaver
White-headed Buffalo Weaver
Rüppell’s Weaver
Speke’s Weaver
Fire-fronted Bishop
Northern Red Bishop (pusillus)
African Silverbill
Black-cheeked Waxbill
Crimson-rumped Waxbill
Purple Grenadier
Steel-blue Whydah
Straw-tailed Whydah
Long-tailed Paradise Whydah
Golden Pipit
White-bellied Canary
Northern Grosbeak Canary
Brown-rumped Seedeater
Striolated Bunting
Somali Bunting

Somali Starling (Nik Borrow)
Collared Lark (Nigel Redman)

Arid grasslands, escarpments, temperate forest, coastal and riverine forest, arid savanna

Central Somali coast Endemic Bird Area (EBA)
East African coastal forests EBA
Jubba and Shabeelle valleys EBA
North Somali mountains EBA
North-west Somalia Secondary Area (SA)
Northern Ethiopia SA
24 Important Bird Areas

Daalo for temperate forest and escarpment species
Burao area for arid savanna and grassland species
Coastal plain at Jowhar-Warshiikh for larks
Jubba and Shabeelle valleys and Laag Badaana, at least formerly, for Fischer’s Turaco, Green Malkoha, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Little Sparrowhawk, African Barred Owlet (scheffleri), Narina Trogon, Common Scimitarbill, Mangrove Kingfisher, Brown-breasted Barbet, Mombasa Woodpecker, Little Spotted Woodpecker, Eastern Black-headed Batis (ESS minor), Black-throated Wattle-eye, Gorgeous Bushshrike, East Coast Boubou, Retz’s Helmetshrike, Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike, Long-tailed Fiscal, Common Square-tailed Drongo, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Nicator, Sombre Greenbul, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Terrestrial Brownbul, Northern Brownbul, Fischer’s Greenbul, Little Yellow Flycatcher, Coastal Cisticola, Black-headed Apalis, Pale White-eye, Rufous Chatterer, Scaly Babbler, Black-bellied Starling, Fischer’s Starling, Bare-eyed Thrush, Bearded Scrub Robin, Ashy Flycatcher, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Spotted Palm Thrush, Grey Sunbird, Black-bellied Sunbird, Purple-banded Sunbird, Donaldson-Smith’s Sparrow-Weaver, Golden Palm Weaver, Black-necked Weaver, Juba Weaver, Dark-backed Weaver, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Blue-capped Cordon-bleu, Red-throated Twinspot, Pangani Longclaw and Reichenow’s Seedeater

TIMING (Apr-May, Oct)
Being an arid country, best during the rains when most birds breed (Mar-May, Aug-Oct)
Passage migrants are most common Sep-Oct and Mar-Apr
Avoid coastal areas May-Aug due to heat

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)

Further reading
Birds of Somalia by J S Ash & J E Miskell (1998)
Somalia by Peter Robertson in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Endemic and Special Birds of Somaliland by Callan Cohen, Michael Mills & Julian Francis (2011)
Birding in and around Hargeisa, Somaliland, December 2010 by Bram Piot
Birding in and around Hargeisa, Somaliland, April 2014 by Bram Piot
Articles in Scopus, Bull. ABC, etc.

Birding in Somaliland by Richard Fleming (2011)


There is currently no BirdLife Partner in Somalia

Bird or conservation organisations active in Somalia include –
Somali Ecological Society (SES)
Nature Somaliland
Blue Ventures
Candlelight for Environment, Education & Health

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