4th–18th November 2015

This was my fourth trip to Ethiopia, this time in the company of David Percival and Tom Howard-Jones. Our guide was the excellent Girum Tewelde and Belay Ayele, owner of Roha Tours, whom I known for several years, came along for the trip and did the driving

The total trip cost, including flights and single room supplement came to about £2,400 each (about £2,200 if sharing a room).

 

Day 1 – Arrive Addis Ababa drive to Debre Libanos via Solulta Plain

Visited the grasslands and abattoir of Solulta where we had terrific views of Lappet-faced Vulture feding with other vultures as well as Fan-tailed Widowbird, Ethiopian Cisticola and Abysinnian Longclaw.

From here we made our way to the beautiful Portuguese Bridge which held a good population of Gelada Baboons. Birdwise we saw both Mocking Cliff-chat and the endemic White-winged Cliff-chat as well as Rueppell’s Black Chat, Little and Blue Rock Thrushes and Mountain Wagtail.

At Debre Libanos we visited the church which, although dating from 13th century, was largely rebuilt in the 1950s. Here we saw two Lanner Falcons, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Singing Cisticola. Lemon Dove and Ruppell’s Robin Chat.

 

Day 2 – Drive from Debre Libanos to Awash National Park birding Lake Chchalaka and Debre Zeit en route.

The return drive to Addis Ababa produced the huge and strange Abyssinian Ground Hornbill as well as Red-breasted Wheatear, Dusky Turtle Dove, Pallid Harrier and Augur Buzzard.

We stopped briefly at the Hotel Ghion in Addis Ababa for a cup of coffee and, in the hotel gardens (which are generally a good birding spot) we found Brown Parisoma and Abyssinian Woodpecker

From here we moved on to Lake Chachlaka which in previous years had been a lush wetland but this year, due to the worsening drought, much of it had dried out and was looking in a very sorry state. However, in the remaining wetland we did find about 200 common Cranes as well as a pair of nearby Black-crowned Cranes, Red-knobbed Coot and Grey-headed Kingfisher.

The journey to Awash NP produced our first sighting of the strange-looking, endemic Thick-billed Raven and Bristle-crowned Starling.

Arriving at Awash NP just after dark we found Beisa Oryx, Salt’s Dikdik and Black-backed Jackel along the trail to our lodge as well as three Nile Crocodiles in the river at the lodge, their eyes shining red in the lamplight.

 

Day 3 – Awash National Park and transfer to Doho Lodge in the Ali Dege Plains but situated on a large wetland.

Setting off at 6.15 on a pre-breakfast walk we notched up 49 bird species including Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Little Sparrowhawk, Black-billed Barbet, Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrike, Crested Francolin, Senegal Thick-knee, Bearded Woodpecker, Madagascar Bee-eater and the endemic Wattled Ibis, a little out of its more usual highland range.

Following an excellent breakfast of porridge and honey we set off again, this time in the vehicle, encountering Green-winged Pytilia, Abyssinian Scimitarbill and White-bellied Bustard on our way to the spectacular Awash Gorge where, drinking a welcome cooling Ambo (a local fizzy mineral water) we saw the beautiful Golden-breasted Bunting, Abyssinian Roller and African Palm Swift.

Moving on we headed north to the Ali Dege Plains, encountering en route Somali Fiscal and Rosy-patch Bush Shrike.

Arriving mid-afternoon at our next lodge we had a beer overlooking the marshes and watched Goliath and Purple Herons, African Darter, Long-tailed Cormorant and had another beer!

Non-avian encounters for the day included Nile Monitor, Leopard Tortoise, Nile Crocodile, Common Warthog, Vervet Monkey, White-mantled Colobus and Anubis (Olive) Baboon.

 

Day 4 Ali Dege Plains, Lake Baseka, Koka Bridge and on to Lake Langano.

The day began, as usual, with a pre-breakfast walk at just before 6 a.m. but there was not much moving and having ticked off a few birds decided that it may be better to head straight up to the plains, especially as we had a long drive ahead of us that day.

Here we were rewarded with four Arabian Bustards, all at decently close range, as well as a couple of Somali Ostriches and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse. We also came across a herd of over 25 Soemmerring’s Gazelle and a few Beisa Oryx.

Pygmy Falcon and Yellow-breasted Barbet provided the entertainment as we made our way towards Lake Baseka. The lake showed us Yellow-billed Stork, Little and Western Reef Egrets and Pink-backed Pelican though we had a disappointingly fruitless search for Sombre Rock Chat and Blackstart among the volcanic lava fields. The birds have probably moved on due to the current development of the area – a new railroad is being constructed by China in its bid to exploit the country’s mineral deposits.

Driving the hour and a half or so to Koka Bridge we encountered our first Long-crested Eagle obligingly perched on a roadside telegraph pole. Other raptors along the route included Greater Spotted Eagle, Dark Chanting Goshawk and Pallid Harrier. 30 plus Ruff also put in an appearance.

We stopped at Koka Bridge for half an hour and had a wander round, turning up African Snipe, Avocet, African Openbill Stork, Chestnut Weaver and several other wader species.

We arrived later than planned at Ziway and decided to press on to Langano and bird the lake on our return journey. Arriving at our motel in Langano we came across a Genet outside our rooms.

 

Day 5 – Lakes Langano, Abijata and Shalla and an afternoon drive to Wondo Genet

Leaving my bedroom at 6 a.m. I stumbled upon a Rufous-necked Wryneck right outside the door feeding on insects in the pointing of a low wall. Knocking gently on David’s and Tom’s doors to alert them, we three enjoyed great views of this super bird.

Meeting up with Girum a couple of minutes later we set off to walk the lovely cliffs behind the motel. In the rising sun and gently warming morning we enjoyed some terrific birding. Greyish Eagle Owl, Spectacled Weaver, Ethiopian Boubou, Blue Rock Thrush, a striking pair of Abyssinian Black Wheatears, the endemic Black-winged Lovebird, White-browed Coucal, Red-faced Crombec, Boran and Rattling Cisticolas and Von der Decken’s Hornbill were among the many birds that we found.

Following a late breakfast after a terrific morning’s birding in beautiful surroundings we set off for Lake Abijata, arriving shortly before midday. In the ever more intense heat of the day we walked, mad dogs and Englishmen style, across the dry salt flats of the lake basin to get closer to the birds in the distant water. The heat haze made it difficult to focus on what lay ahead and for a long while no matter how far we walked we seemed not to get any closer to the birds. But dogged persistence and a bit of banter kept us going until we finally got to a distance where things became clearer; clearer also for the birds as they began to see us more clearly too and some of the flamingos began to move further away So, we stopped and looked…and saw both Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Kittlitz’s Plover, Little Stint and several other waders, Shoveler and both Peregrine (plucking a wader in mid-air) and Lanner.

On the way to the cliffs overlooking Lake Shalla and giving wonderful views across both lakes and a sense of the enormity of the Great Rift Valley, we called in at another lakeside lodge to see the roosting Slender-tailed Nightjars.

From the cliffs we added Black Scimitarbill and Yellow-bellied Eremomela to our trip list.

We arrived at Wondo Genet in the late afternoon and watched the Black Saw-wings hunting insects overhead as we enjoyed a beer.

 

Day 6 – Wondo Genet

We spent the whole day in different parts of the rich montane forest that surrounds Heile Selassie’s old summer palace that is the hotel in which we were staying.

Our day began at 5.45 a.m. with a forest walk in the good company of a local guide called Mokunen. Large Silvery-cheeked Hornbills made their presence obvious in the trees above our heads as we made our way up a gently rising path, following a small stream to a little marshy pond where apart from Grey and Mountain Wagtails we also saw one of our main target birds, Half-collared Kingfisher.

Other notable birds from this delightful morning walk were African Goshawk, Abyssinian Black-headed Oriole, White-cheeked Turaco, Banded Barbet, Abyssinian Slatey Flycatcher, Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike, Mountain Buzzard, Tambourine Dove and…I could go on!

Returning to the hotel shortly before 8.30 for breakfast, we set off again an hour later for a walk through forestry station land. It was hard to believe that we should be able to top our earlier walk but a succession of wonderful birds made this an even more exciting time. We came across Klaas’s and Dideric Cuckoos, Spotted Creeper (my bird of the trip), Green-backed Honeyguide, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Narina Trogon, Rameron (Olive) Pigeon and the diminutive Green Twinspot,

Following an early start and a lot of walking we were happy to take time relaxing over lunch (with a beer, again) and did not set out again until 16.30 for a short walk to the hot springs and town swimming pool. This walk did not live up to the earlier two but we added Yellow-billed Waxbill and Northern Puffback.

 

Day 7 – Wondo Genet to Goba and the Bale Mountains National Park

Following an early breakfast we set off for Goba, which would be our base for the next two nights. On the road there we made several stops and, among others, we saw Cape Rook, the endemic White-collared Pigeon (not a million miles away from our own wood Pigeon in looks), Groundscraper Thrush, Yellow Bishop, Cape Eagle Owl, Lammergeier and heard a Common Quail calling, though it did not show itself from its cover in the long grass of the meadow.

As we neared Dinsho we stopped at the small lake of the Gaysay Grasslands where we saw, for the first time on this trip, three endemics; two birds, Rouget’s Rail and Blue-winged Goose and a mammal, Mountain Nyala.

Calling in at the Bale Mountains National Park Headquarters, Abdulla, a Park Ranger whom I had met on two previous occasions showed us around the lightly wooded hillside where we had good views of Abyssinian Long-eared Owl, African Wood Owl, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, White-winged Black Tit, Abyssinian Catbird and Montane Nightjar. Quite a haul!

Arriving in Goba in the late afternoon Tom, David ad I wandered around the hotel gardens and nearby farmland where the fields were full of passerines birds including Dark-capped Bulbul, Streaky Seedeater, Yellow-rumped Waxbill, Baglafecht Weaver and Tawny-flanked Prinia.

 

Day 8 – Bale Mountains

Setting off at 6.30 a.m. for the Senetti Plateau we stopped on our way up to look for the endemic sub-species of Brown Parisoma (aka Brown Warbler), the Bale Mountains Parisoma and soon located a pair.

We reached the checkpoint into the park at 7.20 with the weather looking clear, dry and still, promising good visibility and, therefore, good birding conditions.

The Afro-Alpine Moorland of the plateau is a starkly beautiful, harsh environment and is home to a number of unique plant, mammal and bird species.

We soon came across the endemic Spot-breasted Lapwing and as we were watching them a flock of Abyssinian Black-headed Siskins, another Ethiopian endemic, flew by.

The plateau supports very large number of several species of rodent including the Giant Root Rat as well as other small mammals and these, in turn, support large numbers of raptors. During our time up here we saw Augur Buzzard, Golden Eagle (up to 6 at one time), Eastern Imperial Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Pallid Harrier, Lanner, Lammergeier and Griffon Vuture,

We also spent some time scanning the extraordinary landscape for another endemic mammal, the Ethiopian Wolf (aka Simien Jackal). This time it did not take us long to locate to wolves and for half an hour or more we watched them hunting – sitting still by a rat burrow waiting for the rodent to show and then leaping to catch it. After a few failed attempts we saw each wolf in turn trot off with a rat in its mouth.

The highland pools supported quite a few waders as well as large numbers of Blue-winged Geese, a handful of Shoveler and four Ruddy Shelduck and a few Chough fed in the nearby grassy areas. All along the way we passed Moorland Chats sitting perkily on roadside rocks and grassy banks.

Scanning the plateau we found a solitary Abdim’s Stork but, for the first time in my four trips to these mountains, we failed to find Wattled Crane, a pair or two of which are usually present in the area.

During our time here we drove to the high point of the plateau, Tulu Dimtu, at 14,225 ft. (4377m.) from where we looked down upon the clouds and eagles.

In the evening we ventured again to the road leading to the park where we stopped for an hour or so during which time we found Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Red-collared Widowbird and Shikra.

 

Day 9 – Bale Mountains NP through Harena Forest to Negele Borena

Following another early breakfast we were on the rod again before 6.30, passing again across the plateau before descending the warm southern slopes to Harena Forest.

On the plateau we saw Chestnut-naped Francolin, Wattled Ibis, Thekla Lark and had another very close sighting of the wolf.

Descending into the forest Girum was glad to leave the cold of the high altitude behind! In the forest we saw several bird species including the Sylvids, African Hill Babbler and Blackcap, Pin-tailed Whydah and four mammal species including Menelik’s Bushbuck and Spotted Hyena.

As we continued our journey (another long drive punctuated by several birding stops) towards the distant town of Negele Borena we saw Black-chested Snake Eagle, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Golden-breasted Starling, Red-and-yellow Barbet, African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene), Crested Francolin and Pied Wheatear.

En route we stopped to look for one of the most sought-after birds of the country, Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco. We spent nearly forty minutes looking for it, with the enlisted help of some of the local farmers, eventually finding three of these strange looking birds feeding in a fruiting tree. Locally the bird is know as ‘farengi meta’ which means ‘foreigners come’ due to the number of birders who visit this remote region in search of it.

We also added Geoffroy’s Ground Squirrel to the mammal tally.

 

Day 10 – Geralle National Park in the Liben Plains

The morning saw us focus on one of the least numerous birds in the world the Liben Lark. Whilst David and I search the large area of heavily grazed land, Tom and Girum entered an area of long grass protected by a dense acacia thorn hedge placed to keep the cattle out. The local farmers have realised that the protection of this rare species has an economic value to the area and are now both keen to safeguard areas for breeding and also to show the bird to visitors.

David and I had no luck in finding the target lark but did put up large numbers of Somali Short-toed Lark, a single Common Quail, a few Plain-backed and Red-throated Pipits and a couple of Pectoral Patch Cisticolas and several Isabelline Wheatears.

Overhead or on posts were Somali Crow, Ethiopian Swallow and Lilac-breasted Roller.

After a while the lads on the other side of the thorn fence whistled and signalled for us to join them. Realising that they had found the lark David and I hurried over. One of the local cattle herders had found a single Liben Lark very obligingly standing on a patch of bare ground a foot or so from the long grass into which the bird could easily disappear. But it remained in place for several minutes, posing for photographs. However, as we approached, slowly, ever closer the bird flew off dropping down into the long grass. We had seen it well and did not wish to disturb it further so, feeling elated, we returned towards our vehicle when clouds opened and a downpour began. We drove back to the hotel with our clothing, but not our spirits, dampened!

After lunch the weather brightened and warmed up and we set out for the plains again before 2.30 p.m.

Our drive took us past several Yellow-naped Francolins and White Storks but we kept going until a large bustard appeared in our sights. We pulled over and confirmed our thoughts…a terrific Kori Bustard…then another behind it, two to the right and David said ‘There are three more over here’. We had seven of them in view! In all we counted over 15 for the day.

After watching them for a while, Tom asked if we would mind if he got out of the vehicle and tried to get close enough to them for a video – we were about 50 yards away from them. Tom approached one of the birds very slowly and, although the bird was aware of his presence, it did not appear unduly worried and let him approach to within a few yards, his camcorder running all the while. As he filmed an Amur Falcon flew by, diving down and passing very low over the bustard that he was filming. We didn’t call out the falcon for fear of disturbing Tom’s filming but when he returned to the vehicle we asked if he had seen it. But, concentrating on the bustard he had not seen the falcon flash by – but he had caught it on video!

Returning to the hotel after an afternoon watching the bustards and wandering around a nearby lake, where the main interest was an Intermediate Egret, we spotted a pair of Secretarybirds settling down to roost in the top of an acacia tree.

 

Day 11 – Negele Borena, Dawa River and on to Yabello

For those who like early starts, this is the trip! We were out of the hotel by 5.25 and headed a little distance to the Nile Hotel, our usual restaurant, for breakfast before hitting the road at 6.25.

Driving again across the Liben Plains - which are so flat and vast that they give an amazing 360° panoramic view and looking in any direction one can see the curvature of the Earth on the distant horizon – we again saw a couple of stately Kori Bustards as Ethiopian and Barn Swallows skimmed low over the grassland and White-crowned Starlings fed in small groups nearby.

Leaving the plains behind us we headed in a south-westerly direction towards our first major stop of the day at the Dawa River. En route we stopped to watch the Red-billed Oxpeckers hitching rides on some donkeys in a village finding also a couple of Grey Kestrels, Shelley’s Long-tailed Starling, Nubian Woodpecker, and Little Weaver.

Passing by a high rocky hillside a raptor perched on top caught our eye and we pulled over. Even before we had got the ‘scopes on it we recognised it to be a Verreaux’s Eagle. We watched this magnificent bird for a good twenty minutes as it showed very well in the morning light. Our birding attracted the interest of several locals and soon we were joined by eight or nine of them who delighted in the views that the telescope gave them.

While we were watching the eagle a couple of African Hawk Eagles flew by and several hirundines including Lesser Striped and Red-rumped Swallows and Sand Martin added to the interest.

We reached the Dawa River by 10.15, with the day beginning to get hot. We walked along the river for a short distance watching the gold panners seeking, if not their fortune, then at least a living, before turning down the dry bed of a small seasonal tributary the bushes of which held a number of passerins including Somali (Northern Grey) Tit, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Common Nightingale and Grey Wren Warbler but, despite searching for an hour or more in the ever intensifying heat we dipped on Juba Weaver.

We halted briefly in Dawa village to see the endemic and localised African White-winged Collared Dove.

On the road again we passed by a shallow wooded valley in which a group of Golden-breasted Starlings caught our eye and pulling over we noticed there was a lot of movement in the trees and bushes so we piled out of the Landcruiser to take a look.

Emerald-spotted Wood Dove and Magpie starling were among the dozen or more species that we found there.

Continuing along the dirt road we made a few more brief stops until, just after 4 p.m., we picked up the new tarmac road that runs north-south through the country and this took us to Yabello, our home for the next two nights, which we reached about an hour later.

Tom, David and I, having dropped off our bags, decided to go for a stroll around the outskirts of down. The grassy hillside behind our motel, which used to hold a good population of grass rats and birds has now been largely taken over by people (the country has a rapidly expanding population that is putting immense pressure on the wildlife) but we still managed to add Village Weaver to our list.

 

Day 12 – Yabello

Following a 6 a.m. breakfast we set of south from Yabello stopping near a small lake on the way to Dubuluk. On the way there we passed a group of Helmeted Guineafowl with a single Vulturine Guineafowl with them. Possibly it had somehow become separated from its own and had joined in with these.

Around the pond in the early morning there was a lot of activity and we came across Somali Bunting, Banded Parisoma, Bare-eyed Thrush, d’Arnaud’s Barbet, Straw-tailed Whydah, Spotted Palm Thrush, Rufous-chatterer, Grey-headed Batis, Red-naped Bushshrike Three-streaked Tchagra, Foxy Lark, Hunter’s Sunbird, Northern Crombec and several other species – a great start to the day.

We then continued south passing through Dubuluk, picking up a pair of African Spoonbill on the way.

We then stopped in an area of widely spaced acacia trees with scrub and areas of bare ground. A couple of Hoopoes were having quite a fight which went on for some minutes. Among the small birds feeding nearby were Shelley’s Rufous Sparrow, Black-capped and Grey-headed Social Weavers and Greater Whitethroat. We also came across a group of a dozen or more of the bird which we had come to find – Stresemann’s Bush Crow. Why this bird does not expand outside of its tiny global range remains a bit of an enigma given that there seems to be a huge amount of similar and suitable habitat in Ethiopia.

Returning to Yabello for lunch and a siesta we saw a group of about eight Grant’s Gazelle and a single Gerenuk as well as a few Unstriped Ground Squirrels.

After lunch David and I left Tom to catch up on his sleep and we wandered into town for a cup of tea. On the way back to our motel we called in to a shop as David wanted to buy some honey. They didn’t have any honey but David found some strawberry jam which he decided would fit the bill so we tried to buy it but as it did not have a price on it the girl on the till looked blankly at it. So we asked how much it was. She called to a young man who came to the shop, looked at the jar of jam and shrugged. We asked the price again. The girl took out her mobile ‘phone, looked at is as if thinking about making a call – maybe to the shop owner to enquire about the price – but put it away again and sat down, talking to the boy and ignoring us and the jar of jam that sat on the counter. We stood for a quarter of a minute but it became plain that, as far as the shop assistant was concerned, the conversation and attempted transaction were over, so we left. And therein lies a fundamental difference between the African and Indian mentality; in India they would have sold us the jam!

David and I reunited with Tom in the hotel garden at 3.50 in the afternoon in readiness for setting off at 4.00 when Tom pointed up to a large-ish bird moving about in the trees – it was a Grey-headed Bushshrike, another member of this striking group of birds.

This time we headed north out of Yabello to another small lake where we found Black-headed Heron, Grey-backed Fiscal, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, Ringed Plover and severl other waders Blue-naped Mousebird, Rattling Cisticola, and White-faced Whistling Duck.

Returning to Yabello we had an early supper and turned in, in preparation for another early start tomorrow, our energy beginning to flag a little by this point in the trip.

 

Day 13 – Yabello to Awasa

Today we undertook the long and rather unexciting drive from Yabello to Awasa. A long dy in the vehicle with no real birding stops. Faced with the prospect of this long journey stuck in the back of the Toyota all day Belay suggested that we pick up a bag of Chat to make things easier. We chewed a lot of the leaves (which are one of Ethiopia’s main exports, largely to the Middle East) with no apparent immediate effect, but after an hour or so a feeling of well being and comfort settle over us all and the journey passed smoothly and comfortably with the usual bumps and potholes in the road not managing to disturb us as they had done so often before on this trip.

Before we reached Agere Mariam we had added Gabar Goshawk to the list as it flew along the road in front of the vehicle. Stopping by a large field with short grass we had very close views of ten Woolly-necked Storks feeding on frogs.

Thanks to the Chat the rest of the journey passed with less tedium than usual but with, as expected, no other birds worth mentioning.

Arriving at our hotel on the shore of Lake Awasa shortly before 6.00 p.m. David, Tom and I went for a walk along the lake and in the fading light added Malachite Kingfisher, Blue-headed Coucal and African Pygmy Goose to the trip list.

David and I had wandered a little further along the path and away from Tom who called us back but we were just too late to see the Hippopotamus that submerged itself and headed off into the dense reed cover.

 

Day 14 – Lake Awasa, Lake Ziway, Lake Koka and on to Addis Ababa

We made an early start and were at the lake shore again by 6.20. The dying down of activity last night had given way to a constant flurry of early morning movement – we counted Grosbeak Weaver, Eurasian Wryneck, Black Crake (wandering over lily leaves and across the lakeside path), Marsh Warbler, White-backed Duck, Grey-headed Gull, Spur-winged Goose and Woodland Kingfisher among the many, many birds on the lake and surrounding vegetation.

We headed back to the hotel for breakfast and then made the short drive to Awasa Fish Market which was thronging with fishermen, tourists, sellers of handicrafts and birds.

There were dozens of Marabou Storks feeding on the discarded fish heads and guts as well as Great White Egret, Hamerkop, Black-winged Stilt, African Jacana, as well as Wood and Marsh Sandpipers and Common Moorhen.

The journey north to Lake Ziway was fairly uneventful and we arrived in Ziway to find the marshy areas around the lake edges had all but dried out in the long drought. Bare cracked mud stood now where once water and lush plants had stood before. Sadly, the drought afflicting Ethiopia looks set to worsen over the next few years.

There were, however still plenty of birds around, though not in the numbers of previous years. We saw over 40 species, including Kentish and Three-banded Plovers, Little and Temminck’s Stints, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Glossy Ibis and Northern Carmine Bee-eater.

Leaving Ziway behind we headed off to Lake Koka, arriving just before two o’clock in the afternoon. African Fish Eagles wheeled in the air and Bronze Mannikins chattered in the long grasses but, again, the lake here was very dry.

Following lunch in Mojo we drove along the newly opened Super Highway that leads into Addis Ababa, pulling over to the hard shoulder to view a large area of water (shallow lake or water-logged field we could not be sure, but it looked like the latter) which held over 100 Marabou Storks and at least twice that number of Common Cranes.

We arrived at the Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa just before dusk and, whilst drinking tea on the patio, we watched several Tacazze Sunbirds feeding in the trees.

Following a superb dinner Belay drove us to the airport for our 2 a.m. flight home, arriving in London in the morning of Day 15.

 

Below are the lists of bird and mammal species that we saw on this trip.

The ‘Sightings’ column shows the number of occasions on which we saw each species, not the number of individuals.

Although I have not seen over 400 bird species on any individual trip (378 on this one) my Ethiopia bird list now stands at 531, and there are still areas of this wonderful country that I have yet to visit.

 

  SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME SIGHTINGS
1 Somali Ostrich Struthio molybdophanes 2
2 White-faced Whistling-duck Dendrocygna viduata 4
3 White-backed Duck  Thalassornis leuconotus 1
4 Blue-winged Goose Cyanochen cyanoptera 3
5 Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca 16
6 Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 2
7 Spur-winged Goose  Plectropterus gambensis 2
8 African Pygmy-goose Nettapus auritus 4
9 Yellow-billed Duck  Anas undulata 2
10 Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 5
11 Red-billed Duck Anas erythrorhyncha 3
12 Helmeted Guineafowl  Numida meleagris 7
13 Vulturine Guineafowl Acryllium vulturinum 2
14 Common Quail Coturnix coturnix 2
15 Chestnut-naped Francolin  Pternistis castaneicollis 2
16 Scaly Francolin Pternistis squamatus 1
17 Yellow-necked Francolin Pternistis leucoscepus 3
18 Crested Francolin  Francolinus sephaena 3
19 Moorland Francolin  Scleroptila psilolaema 1
20 Little Grebe  Tachybaptus ruficollis 5
21 Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus 2
22 Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor 3
23 African Openbill  Anastomus lamelligerus 1
24 Abdim's Stork Ciconia abdimii 1
25 Woolly-necked Stork  Ciconia episcopus 1
26 Eurasian White Stork  Ciconia ciconia 3
27 Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumenifer 9
28 Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis 2
29 White-breasted (Great) Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo lucidus 3
30 Long-tailed Cormorant  Phalacrocorax africanus 6
31 African Darter  Anhinga rufa 1
32 Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus 5
33 Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens 1
34 Hamerkop  Scopus umbretta 10
35 Grey Heron  Ardea cinerea 2
36 Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala 4
37 Goliath Heron Ardea goliath 1
38 Purple Heron  Ardea purpurea 2
39 Great Egret  Ardea alba 3
40 Intermediate Egret  Mesophoyx intermedia 2
41 Little Egret  Egretta garzetta 11
42 Western Reef-heron  Egretta gularis 1
43 Cattle Egret  Bubulcus ibis 16
44 Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides 3
45 Striated Heron  Butorides striata 2
46 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus 2
47 Sacred Ibis  Threskiornis aethiopicus 13
48 Hadada Ibis  Bostrychia hagedash 5
49 Wattled Ibis Bostrychia carunculata 12
50 African Spoonbill Platalea alba 2
51 Secretary-bird Sagittarius serpentarius 1
52 Black-winged Kite  Elanus caeruleus 3
53 African Harrier-hawk  Polyboroides typus 1
54 Lammergeier  Gypaetus barbatus 2
55 Egyptian Vulture  Neophron percnopterus 2
56 White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis 1
57 Lappet-faced Vulture  Torgos tracheliotos 2
58 Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus 26
59 White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus 4
60 Eurasian Griffon  Gyps fulvus 4
61 Black-breasted Snake-eagle Circaetus pectoralis 3
62 Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis 2
63 Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga 1
64 Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus 1
65 Tawny Eagle  Aquila rapax 13
66 Steppe Eagle  Aquila nipalensis 4
67 Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca 1
68 Golden Eagle  Aquila chrysaetos 1
69 Verreaux's Eagle Aquila verreauxii 1
70 African Hawk-eagle Aquila spilogaster 1
71 Dark Chanting-goshawk  Melierax metabates 4
72 Eastern Chanting-goshawk Melierax poliopterus 7
73 Gabar Goshawk  Micronisus gabar 1
74 Eurasian Marsh Harrier  Circus aeruginosus 5
75 Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus 8
76 African Goshawk  Accipiter tachiro 1
77 Shikra  Accipiter badius 3
78 Little Sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus 1
79 Yellow-billed Kite Milvus migrans aegyptius/parasitus 36
80 African Fish-eagle Haliaeetus vocifer 10
81 Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus 1
82 Augur Buzzard Buteo augur 9
83 Arabian Bustard  Ardeotis arabs 1
84 Kori Bustard  Ardeotis kori 3
85 White-bellied Bustard  Eupodotis senegalensis 5
86 Buff-crested Bustard Eupodotis gindiana 1
87 Rouget's Rail Rougetius rougetii 4
88 Black Crake Amaurornis flavirostra 1
89 Eurasian Common Moorhen  Gallinula chloropus 2
90 Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata 4
91 Black Crowned-crane  Balearica pavonina 1
92 Common Crane Grus grus 4
93 Senegal Thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis 1
94 Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 4
95 Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta 3
96 Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 1
97 Spur-winged Plover Vanellus spinosus 13
98 Black-headed Lapwing  Vanellus tectus 1
99 Black-winged Lapwing  Vanellus melanopterus 3
100 Crowned Lapwing  Vanellus coronatus 7
101 Spot-breasted Lapwing Vanellus melanocephalus 1
102 Kittlitz's Plover Charadrius pecuarius 1
103 Snowy Plover  Charadrius alexandrinus 1
104 Common Ringed Plover  Charadrius hiaticula 1
105 Three-banded Plover  Charadrius tricollaris 1
106 African Jacana Actophilornis africanus 5
107 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 8
108 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus 6
109 Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 4
110 Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis 7
111 Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 7
112 Ruff Calidris pugnax 6
113 Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii 1
114 Little Stint Calidris minuta 3
115 African Snipe  Gallinago nigripennis 3
116 Gray-headed Gull  Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus 3
117 Gull-billed Tern  Gelochelidon nilotica 1
118 White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus 1
119 Whiskered Tern  Chlidonias hybrida 6
120 Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse  Pterocles exustus 2
121 Speckled Pigeon  Columba guinea 27
122 White-collared Pigeon Columba albitorques 4
123 Rameron Pigeon Columba arquatrix 1
124 Lemon Dove  Columba larvata 2
125 Dusky Turtle-dove Streptopelia lugens 7
126 African Collared-dove  Streptopelia roseogrisea 1
127 White-winged Collared-dove Streptopelia reichenowi 1
128 African Mourning Dove  Streptopelia decipiens 7
129 Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata 27
130 Ring-necked Dove  Streptopelia capicola 7
131 Laughing Dove  Streptopelia senegalensis 14
132 Emerald-spotted Wood-dove Turtur chalcospilos 5
133 Blue-spotted Wood-dove Turtur afer 2
134 Tambourine Dove Turtur tympanistria 1
135 Namaqua Dove  Oena capensis 4
136 Bruce's Green-pigeon Treron waalia 2
137 White-cheeked Turaco  Tauraco leucotis 3
138 Prince Ruspoli's Turaco Tauraco ruspolii 1
139 White-bellied Go-away-bird Corythaixoides leucogaster 10
140 Eastern Plantain-eater Crinifer zonurus 1
141 Klaas' Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas 1
142 Dideric Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius 1
143 Blue-headed Coucal  Centropus monachus 1
144 White-browed Coucal  Centropus superciliosus 1
145 Cape Eagle-owl  Bubo capensis 1
146 Grayish Eagle-owl Bubo cinerascens 3
147 African Wood-owl  Strix woodfordii 1
148 African Long-eared Owl  Asio abyssinicus 1
149 Abyssinian Nightjar Caprimulgus poliocephalus 1
150 Slender-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus clarus 2
151 Nyanza Swift  Apus niansae 3
152 African Palm-swift  Cypsiurus parvus 3
153 Speckled Mousebird  Colius striatus 11
154 Blue-naped Mousebird  Urocolius macrourus 2
155 Narina Trogon  Apaloderma narina 1
156 Eurasian Hoopoe  Upupa epops 9
157 Black-billed Woodhoopoe  Phoeniculus somaliensis 1
158 Black Scimitar-bill  Rhinopomastus aterrimus 1
159 Abyssinian Scimitar-bill  Rhinopomastus minor 5
160 Abyssinian Ground-hornbill Bucorvus abyssinicus 5
161 Hemprich's Hornbill Lophoceros hemprichii 1
162 African Gray Hornbill  Lophoceros nasutus 2
163 Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill Tockus flavirostris 2
164 Von Der Decken's Hornbill Tockus deckeni 4
165 Northern Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus 7
166 Silvery-cheeked Hornbill Bycanistes brevis 10
167 Half-collared Kingfisher  Alcedo semitorquata 2
168 Malachite Kingfisher  Corythornis cristatus 3
169 African Pygmy-kingfisher  Ispidina picta 1
170 Gray-headed Kingfisher  Halcyon leucocephala 2
171 Woodland Kingfisher  Halcyon senegalensis 4
172 Striped Kingfisher  Halcyon chelicuti 2
173 Pied Kingfisher  Ceryle rudis 7
174 Little Bee-eater  Merops pusillus 5
175 Blue-breasted Bee-eater  Merops variegatus 1
176 Madagascar Bee-eater  Merops superciliosus 1
177 Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus 4
178 Abyssinian Roller Coracias abyssinicus 5
179 Lilac-breasted Roller  Coracias caudatus 6
180 Rufous-crowned Roller  Coracias naevius 4
181 Red-and-yellow Barbet  Trachyphonus erythrocephalus 2
182 Yellow-breasted Barbet  Trachyphonus margaritatus 1
183 D'arnaud's Barbet  Trachyphonus darnaudii 2
184 Red-fronted Tinkerbird  Pogoniulus pusillus 1
185 Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird  Pogoniulus chrysoconus 1
186 Red-fronted Barbet  Tricholaema diademata 1
187 Black-throated Barbet  Tricholaema melanocephala 2
188 Banded Barbet  Lybius undatus 1
189 Black-billed Barbet Lybius guifsobalito 3
190 Double-toothed Barbet  Lybius bidentatus 1
191 Green-backed Honeyguide  Prodotiscus zambesiae 1
192 Eurasian Wryneck  Jynx torquilla 1
193 Rufous-necked Wryneck  Jynx ruficollis 1
194 Nubian Woodpecker  Campethera nubica 3
195 Abyssinian Woodpecker Dendropicos abyssinicus 1
196 Bearded Woodpecker  Dendropicos namaquus 3
197 African Gray-headed Woodpecker  Dendropicos spodocephalus 3
198 Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus 1
199 Eurasian Kestrel Falco  tinnunculus/rupicolus 8
200 Grey Kestrel Falco ardosiaceus 1
201 Amur Falcon Falco amurensis 1
202 Lanner Falcon  Falco biarmicus 6
203 Peregrine Falcon  Falco peregrinus 2
204 Black-winged Lovebird Agapornis taranta 3
205 Red-bellied Parrot  Poicephalus rufiventris 6
206 Yellow-fronted Parrot Poicephalus flavifrons 1
207 Brown-throated Wattle-eye  Platysteira cyanea 3
208 Gray-headed Batis  Batis orientalis 2
209 Brubru  Nilaus afer 2
210 Northern Puffback  Dryoscopus gambensis 4
211 Black-crowned Tchagra  Tchagra senegalus 1
212 Three-streaked Tchagra  Tchagra jamesi 1
213 Red-naped Bushshrike  Laniarius ruficeps 1
214 Tropical Boubou Laniarius aethiopicus 4
215 Slate-colored Boubou  Laniarius funebris 2
216 Rosy-patched Bushshrike  Rhodophoneus cruentus 1
217 Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike  Telophorus sulfureopectus 1
218 Gray-headed Bushshrike  Malaconotus blanchoti 1
219 Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike Campephaga phoenicea 1
220 Isabelline Shrike  Lanius isabellinus 2
221 Southern Gray Shrike  Lanius meridionalis 1
222 Gray-backed Fiscal  Lanius excubitorius 2
223 Somali Fiscal Lanius somalicus 2
224 Northern Fiscal  Lanius humeralis 11
225 White-rumped Shrike Eurocephalus rueppelli 4
226 African Golden Oriole  Oriolus auratus 1
227 African Black-headed Oriole  Oriolus larvatus 4
228 Fork-tailed Drongo  Dicrurus adsimilis 9
229 African Paradise-flycatcher  Terpsiphone viridis 6
230 Stresemann's Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni 2
231 Red-billed Chough  Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 1
232 Cape Crow  Corvus capensis 8
233 Pied Crow Corvus albus 16
234 Somali Crow Corvus edithae 3
235 Fan-tailed Raven Corvus rhipidurus 14
236 Thick-billed Raven Corvus crassirostris 9
237 Sidamo Lark Heteromirafra sidamoensis 1
238 Foxy Lark  Calendulauda alopex 2
239 Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark  Eremopterix leucotis 1
240 Somali Short-toed Lark  Calandrella somalica 1
241 Thekla Lark  Galerida theklae 3
242 Plain Martin  Riparia paludicola 3
243 Sand Martin  Riparia riparia 3
244 Banded Martin  Riparia cincta 4
245 Rock Martin  Ptyonoprogne fuligula 5
246 Barn Swallow  Hirundo rustica 17
247 Ethiopian Swallow  Hirundo aethiopica 5
248 White-tailed Swallow Hirundo megaensis 1
249 Red-rumped Swallow  Cecropis daurica 2
250 Lesser Striped-swallow  Cecropis abyssinica 3
251 Black Sawwing  Psalidoprocne pristoptera 6
252 Somali Tit  Melaniparus thruppi 2
253 White-backed Black-tit Melaniparus leuconotus 1
254 African Spotted Creeper  Salpornis salvadori 2
255 Common Bulbul  Pycnonotus barbatus 3
256 Northern Crombec  Sylvietta brachyura 1
257 Red-faced Crombec  Sylvietta whytii 2
258 Willow Warbler  Phylloscopus trochilus 6
259 Common Chiffchaff  Phylloscopus collybita 3
260 Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus 1
261 Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris 1
262 Cinnamon Bracken-warbler  Bradypterus cinnamomeus 1
263 Yellow-breasted Apalis  Apalis flavida 2
264 Grey-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brachyura 5
265 Red-fronted Warbler  Urorhipis rufifrons 1
266 Gray Wren-warbler Calamonastes simplex 3
267 Singing Cisticola  Cisticola cantans 1
268 Boran Cisticola  Cisticola bodessa 2
269 Rattling Cisticola  Cisticola chiniana 2
270 Pectoral-patch Cisticola  Cisticola brunnescens 2
271 Tawny-flanked Prinia  Prinia subflava 3
272 Pale Prinia  Prinia somalica 1
273 Yellow-bellied Eremomela  Eremomela icteropygialis 2
274 Abyssinian Catbird Parophasma galinieri 1
275 African Hill-babbler  Sylvia abyssinica 1
276 Blackcap  Sylvia atricapilla 4
277 Banded Warbler  Sylvia boehmi 1
278 Brown Warbler (Parisoma) Sylvia lugens 2
279 Greater Whitethroat  Sylvia communis 1
280 Broad-ringed White-eye  Zosterops poliogastrus 4
281 White-breasted White-eye  Zosterops abyssinicus 1
282 Rufous Chatterer  Turdoides rubiginosa 1
283 White-rumped Babbler  Turdoides leucopygia 3
284 African Gray Flycatcher  Bradornis microrhynchus 6
285 Abyssinian Slaty-flycatcher  Melaenornis chocolatinus 4
286 Northern Black-flycatcher  Melaenornis edolioides 1
287 African Dusky Flycatcher  Muscicapa adusta 1
288 Rueppell's Robin-chat  Cossypha semirufa 5
289 White-browed Robin-chat  Cossypha heuglini 1
290 Spotted Morning-thrush  Cichladusa guttata 1
291 Common Nightingale  Luscinia megarhynchos 2
292 Common Redstart  Phoenicurus phoenicurus 5
293 Little Rock-thrush  Monticola rufocinereus 2
294 Rufous-tailed Rock-thrush Monticola saxatilis 1
295 Blue Rock-thrush  Monticola solitarius 2
296 Rueppell's Chat Myrmecocichla melaena 1
297 Mocking Cliff-chat  Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris 3
298 White-winged Cliff-chat Thamnolaea semirufa 1
299 Moorland Chat  Cercomela sordida 9
300 Abyssian Black Wheatear  Oenanthe lugubris 2
301 Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka 10
302 Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina 18
303 Red-breasted Wheatear  Oenanthe bottae 3
304 Abyssinian Ground Thrush  Geokichla piaggiae 1
305 Groundscraper Thrush  Psophocichla litsitsirupa 6
306 Abyssinian Thrush  Turdus abyssinicus 10
307 African Thrush  Turdus pelios 4
308 African Bare-eyed Thrush Turdus tephronotus 1
309 Rosy Starling Pastor roseus 1
310 Red-winged Starling  Onychognathus morio 9
311 Bristle-crowned Starling Onychognathus salvadorii 1
312 Magpie Starling Speculipastor bicolor 1
313 Shelley's Starling Lamprotornis shelleyi 3
314 Rueppell's Glossy-starling  Lamprotornis purpuroptera 5
315 Golden-breasted Starling Lamprotornis regius 3
316 Superb Starling Lamprotornis superbus 23
317 White-crowned Starling  Lamprotornis albicapillus 8
318 Greater Blue-eared Glossy-starling  Lamprotornis chalybaeus 18
319 Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynchus 1
320 Scarlet-chested Sunbird  Chalcomitra senegalensis 3
321 Hunter's Sunbird  Chalcomitra hunteri 1
322 Tacazze Sunbird  Nectarinia tacazze 9
323 Beautiful Sunbird  Cinnyris pulchellus 4
324 Mariqua Sunbird  Cinnyris mariquensis 2
325 Variable Sunbird  Cinnyris venustus 10
326 Western Yellow Wagtail  Motacilla flava 10
327 Gray Wagtail  Motacilla cinerea 2
328 Mountain Wagtail  Motacilla clara 3
329 White Wagtail  Motacilla alba 2
330 African Pied Wagtail  Motacilla aguimp 1
331 Plain-backed Pipit  Anthus leucophrys 2
332 Tree Pipit  Anthus trivialis 1
333 Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus 3
334 Abyssinian Longclaw Macronyx flavicollis 1
335 Golden-breasted Bunting  Emberiza flaviventris 1
336 Somali Bunting Emberiza poliopleura 1
337 Yellow-crowned Canary  Serinus flavivertex 1
338 Abyssinian Siskin Serinus nigriceps 4
339 African Citril  Serinus citrinelloides 10
340 Reichenow's Seedeater Serinus reichenowi 2
341 Streaky Seedeater  Serinus striolatus 9
342 Brown-rumped Seedeater Serinus tristriatus 6
343 Shelley's Rufous-sparrow Passer shelleyi 1
344 Swainson's Sparrow Passer swainsonii 16
345 Yellow-spotted Petronia  Petronia pyrgita 4
346 Red-billed Buffalo-weaver  Bubalornis niger 4
347 White-headed Buffalo-weaver  Dinemellia dinemelli 14
348 White-browed Sparrow-weaver  Plocepasser mahali 12
349 Gray-headed Social-weaver  Pseudonigrita arnaudi 2
350 Black-capped Social-weaver Pseudonigrita cabanisi 3
351 Red-headed Weaver  Anaplectes rubriceps 1
352 Baglafecht Weaver  Ploceus baglafecht 9
353 Little Weaver Ploceus luteolus 1
354 Spectacled Weaver  Ploceus ocularis 1
355 Vitelline Masked Weaver Ploceus vitellinus 1
356 Rueppell's Weaver Ploceus galbula 1
357 Village Weaver  Ploceus cucullatus 3
358 Chestnut Weaver  Ploceus rubiginosus 2
359 Red-billed Quelea  Quelea quelea 4
360 Yellow Bishop  Euplectes capensis 3
361 White-winged Widowbird  Euplectes albonotatus 1
362 Red-collared Widowbird  Euplectes ardens 2
363 Grosbeak Weaver  Amblyospiza albifrons 1
364 Yellow-bellied Waxbill  Coccopygia quartinia 4
365 Green-backed Twinspot  Mandingoa nitidula 1
366 Crimson-rumped Waxbill  Estrilda rhodopyga 1
367 Common Waxbill  Estrilda astrild 6
368 Red-cheeked Cordonbleu  Uraeginthus bengalus 5
369 Purple Grenadier Granatina ianthinogaster 2
370 Green-winged Pytilia  Pytilia melba 2
371 Red-billed Firefinch  Lagonosticta senegala 6
372 African Firefinch  Lagonosticta rubricata 1
373 Cut-throat  Amadina fasciata 3
374 Bronze Mannikin  Spermestes cucullata 4
375 Black-and-white Mannikin  Spermestes bicolor 1
376 Pin-tailed Whydah Vidua macroura 4
377 Straw-tailed Whydah Vidua fischeri 1
378 Village Indigobird  Vidua chalybeata 2

 

 On this trip we saw 27 mammal species, though for my four visits to Ethiopia my mammal list stands at 41.

  SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME SIGHTINGS
1 Cape Hyrax  Procavia capensis 1
2 Vervet Monkey  Chlorocebus pygerythrus 5
3 Olive Baboon Papio anubis 14
4 Hamadryas Baboon Papio hamadryas 1
5 Gelada Baboon  Theropithecus gelada 1
6 White-mantled Black Colobus  Colobus guereza 6
7 Geoffroy's Ground Squirrel  Xerus erythropus 1
8 Unstriped Ground Squirrel  Xerus rutilus 4
9 Giant Ethiopian Root rat Tachyoryctes macrocephalus 1
10 Ethiopian Narrow-headed Rat Stenocephalemys albocaudata 1
11 Stenocephalemys griselcauda Stenocephalemys griseicauda 1
12 Common Genet  Genetta genetta 1
13 Spotted Hyena Crocuta crocuta 1
14 Golden Jackal  Canis aureus 1
15 Black-backed Jackal  Canis mesomelas 1
16 Ethiopian Wolf Canis simensis 2
17 Common Warthog  Phacochoerus africanus 4
18 Gerenuk  Litocranius walleri 1
19 Salt's Dikdik  Madoqua saltiana 6
20 Grant's Gazelle  Nanger granti 2
21 Soemmerring's Gazelle  Nanger soemmerringii 2
22 Klipspringer  Oreotragus oreotragus 1
23 Mountain Nyala Tragelaphus buxtoni 2
24 Lesser Kudu Tragelaphus imberbis 2
25 Bushbuck  Tragelaphus scriptus 1
26 Common Duiker  Sylvicapra grimmia 1
27 Beisa Oryx  Oryx beisa 3