Ethiopian Birding

The ideal place for birding in Ethiopia is the Bale Mountains National Park in the south-eastern highlands. The park is home to many habitats which are all rich in birds. More than 160 species of birds can be viewed in the park area. It is also reputed for possessing most of the endemic bird species of Ethiopia as well as a number of other species not found elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Bale Mountains National Park has the highest all-weather road in Africa that crosses the Sanetti plateau (4377m), encompassing alpine moorlands, grasslan ds, streams and Alpine lakes that provide food and security to some unusually stunning water birds. Ethiopian marvelous forest endemic birds also inhabit the central highlands at Wondo Genet and the northern highlands at Debre Libanos. In the south of the country, high diversity and endemic birds combine to offer absolutely superb birding. In the far west of the country, along the Sudanese border, low-lying plains are cloaked with moister woodland supporting an avifauna quite unlike that of the rest of the country.

The Rift Valley, punctuated by several large lakes, offers few endemics but very diverse and enjoyable woodland and water birds at excellent birding sites such as Abyata and Shall National Park, Lake Langano, Awash National Park and Netchisar National Park. More significantly, the Awash National Park is ideal for bird lovers as it consist s more than 450 species of bird within the park’s 720 square km.

North of Addis Ababa, the Jemma River valley holds a population of highly localized and endemic birds. The rocky valley rim hosts a number of species that could be searched for in any rocky highland area. One of Ethiopia’s three highly localized endemic serins, Ankober Serin is also a highland species, occurring only along the spectacular Ankober escarpment north of Awash.

Just for your list, the 16 endemic Ethiopian bird species are: Harwood’s Francolin Francolinus harwoodi, Spot-breasted Plover Vanellus melanocephalus, Yellow-fronted parrot poicephalus flavifrons, Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco Tauraco ruspolii, Abyssinian Bush Crow Zavattariornis stresemanni, White-tailed Swallow Hirundo megaensis, Salvadori’s Seedeater Serinus xantholaema , Abyssinian Woodpecker Dendropicos abyssinicus, Degodi Lark Mirafra degodiensis, Nechisar Nightjar Capimulgus Solala, Black-headed Siskin Serinus nigriceps, Ankober Serin Serinus ankoberensis, Yellow-throated Serin Seriuns flavigula, Abyssinian Catbird Parophasma falinieri, Abyssinian Longclaw Macronyx flavicollis and Sidamo Lark Heteromirafra sidamoensis.