Posted on the 5th November 2013

Birding/ Trip Report : Ethiopia August 2013

I was lucky enough to be invited to visit Ethiopia recently. Unfortunately it was not the best time of year for birding ( no palearctic migrants) but nevertheless, I added 29 (new) ticks to my birdlist. Ethiopia has 862 recorded bird species with 21 endemic species and thirteen semi-endemics, shared with Eritrea.
I can recommend Ethiopia as a birding destination. The roads linking the bigger centres are all tarred and in excellent condition. We found them quite quiet – not sure if this is because I was there during the rainy season. Here and there one has to use dirt roads to get to special destinations (Lalibela and Simien Mountains, for example) but the spectacular scenery makes up for the uncomfortable road! The people are very friendly everywhere but be warned, English is not spoken very widely. Accommodation and food is CHEAP compared to South Africa – a beer usually costs about the equivalent of R5 – even at a restaurant!
I used the book The Birds of the Horn of Africa by Redman et al and also found the book by Claire Spottiswoode and others Where to watch birds in Ethiopia very helpful.

Here are the birds I ticked on our road-trip* from Addis Ababa to Lalibela, then on to Bahar Dar on Lake Tana,and then the Simien Mountains before spending a week at Gorgora, a small village on the northern shores of Lake Tana:
*keep in mind that this was not a dedicated bird-watching trip – my companion is not much of a birder and would only stop for “big” birds – the LBJ's did not warrant a stop!

Blue-winged Goose
Wattled Ibis
Thekla lark
Griffon Vulture
Ruppell's Robin-Chat
Egyptian Vulture
Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture) – during a five minute window period in Simien Mountains before mist came down!
Abyssinian Waxbill
Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon
Red-and-Yellow Barbet
Abyssinian Oriole
Blue-breasted Bee-eater
Black-crowned Crane
Copper Sunbird
Eastern Chanting Goshawk
Eastern Grey Plantain Eater
Gull-billed Terns
Long-tailed Cormorant
Swainson's Sparrow
Village Weaver abyssinicus
Yellow-crowned Bishop
Bruce's Green Pigeon
Hunter's Sunbird
Variable sunbird
Love Bird (Black-winged) aka Abyssinian Lovebird
Thick-billed Raven
Long-tailed (Eastern) Paradise Whydah
Spot-breasted Lapwing

I was also happy to see the Red-cheeked Cordon-Bleu and the Somali Sparrow again which I first made acquaintance with in Kenya two years ago.

Elsabe Ketteringham


CAROL VAN HOOGSTATEN (posted: 2013-12-16 21:10:58)
Well done Elsabe for spotting such a wide variety of birds. I was in Ethiopia in September, fascinating and beautiful.