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  • Photograph of Stresemann's Bushcrow

    The endemic Stresemann's Bushcrow by David Beadle.

    ETHIOPIA

    Photograph of Gelada Baboon

    Gelada Baboons by Lars Petersson.


    Best Wildlife in Ethiopia

    Mammals
    Gelada and Sacred (Hamadryas) Baboons, Ethiopian Wolf, Serval, Beisa Oryx, Gerenuk, Soemmering's Gazelle, Walia Ibex, Olive Baboon, Bale, Black-and-white Colobus and Grivet Monkeys, Common Warthog, Lesser and Greater Kudus, Mountain Nyala, Klipspringer, (Swayne's) Hartebeest and Giant Root Rat. Also a chance of Lion, Leopard, Caracal, African Wild Cat, Spotted and Striped Hyaenas, Grevy's Zebra, Aardwolf, Aardvark, Bat-eared Fox, Crested Porcupine, Grant's Gazelle and Impala, and an outside chance of (Somali) Wild Ass.

    Most classic African plains mammals are not likely to be seen on the main circuit in Ethiopia, including Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African Elephant, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Spotted Hyaena, Burchell's Zebra, African Buffalo and Blue Wildebeest, most of which do occur in the remote Omo NP in the far southwest though.

    Birds

    Endemics (30, including Eritrea)
    Blue-winged Goose, Wattled Ibis, Harwood's Francolin, Rouget's Rail, Spot-breasted Plover, White-collared Pigeon, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Black-winged Lovebird, Prince Ruspoli's Turaco, Banded Barbet, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Stresemann's Bushcrow, Thick-billed Raven, Dark-headed Oriole, White-billed Starling, Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, Ruppell's Chat, White-winged Cliff Chat, White-tailed Swallow, Brown (Black) Sawwing, Abyssinian Catbird, White-backed Black Tit, Archer's (Liben/Sidamo) and Erlanger's Larks, Lineated (Red-billed) Pytilia, Abyssinian Longclaw, Abyssinian Siskin, and Ankober, Salvadori's and Yellow-throated Serins.

    Other Specialities (about 100 restricted-range/difficult-to-see-elsewhere species)
    Vulturine Guineafowl, Chestnut-naped and Erckel's Francolins, African Swallow-tailed Kite, Arabian Bustard, African White-winged Dove, White-cheeked Turaco, Abyssinian (Long-eared) Owl, Black-billed Woodhoopoe, Hemprich’s Hornbill, Yellow-breasted Barbet, Gillett's, Masked and Somali Short-toed Larks, Abyssinian and Red-breasted Wheatears, Sombre Rock Chat, Little Rock Thrush, Abyssinian Ground and Bare-eyed Thrushes, White-headed and White-rumped Babblers, Somali Crombec, Grey-headed Batis, Abyssinian and Montane White-eyes, Somali and Taita Fiscals, Red-naped Bushshrike, Ethiopian Boubou, Bristle-crowned, Golden-breasted, Sharpe's, Shelley’s and White-crowned Starlings, Nile Valley and Shining Sunbirds, Swainson's Sparrow, Juba Weaver, Abyssinian Waxbill, Northern Grosbeak Canary, Brown-rumped Seedeater and Abyssinian Crimsonwing. Also a chance of Black Crowned Crane, Wattled Crane, Somali (Cream-coloured) Courser and Somali Bee-eater. In the rarely visited western lowlands Egyptian Plover (and Red-throated Bee-eater) occur on the Baro River at Gambela.

    Others
    (Somali) Ostrich, francolins, Ruddy Shelduck, African Pygmy Goose, Lesser and Greater Flamingos, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Black and Goliath Herons, Saddle-billed Stork, Hamerkop, African Darter, Lammergeier and other vultures, Bateleur, African Fish Eagle, African Crowned, Steppe, Tawny and Verreaux's Eagles, Pygmy Falcon, Kori and other bustards, African Jacana, Black-winged Stilt, (Pied) Avocet, Temminck's and Heuglin's Coursers, sandgrouse, Bruce's Green Pigeon, Orange-bellied Parrot, turacos, owls including Verreaux's Eagle Owl, nightjars including Donaldson-Smith's and Freckled, mousebirds, Narina Trogon, kingfishers, bee-eaters including Blue-breasted and (Northern) Carmine Bee-eater, Abyssinian and Lilac-breasted Rollers, Hoopoe, woodhoopoes, hornbills, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, barbets including Red-and-yellow, batises, White-crested Helmetshrike, Grey-headed and Sulphur-breasted Bushshrikes, shrikes, African Paradise Flycatcher, (Red-billed) Chough, larks, Spotted Creeper, chats including Blackstart, Groundscraper Thrush, starlings including Superb, Red-billed Oxpecker, sunbirds, Mountain Wagtail, weavers, bishops, waxbills and whydahs. Also a chance of Golden, (Eastern) Imperial and Martial Eagles, Secretary Bird, Great Black-headed Gull, Egyptian Nightjar, Giant Kingfisher, Black Scrub Robin and Golden Pipit.

    Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
    Nile Crocodile.

    Plants
    The Afro-Alpine vegetation includes the impressive Giant Lobelia.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Ethiopia

    Best Times for Wildlife in Ethiopia

    The driest time of the year is usually October to March. This is the best time to visit, especially October-November when it is usually sunny but relatively cool and many flowers bloom in the highlands. The peak rainy season is normally July to September.

    Recommended Books etc. for Ethiopia

    Birds of the Horn of Africa by N Redman et al. Helm, 2016 (Revised and Expanded Edition).

    Birds of Africa south of the Sahara by I Sinclair and P Ryan. C Struik, 2011 (Second Edition).

    Where to Watch Birds in Ethiopia by C Spottiswoode, M Gabremichael and J Francis. Helm, 2010.

    Birding Ethiopia by K Behrens et al. Lynx Edicions, 2010.

    The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2015 (Second Revised Edition).

    The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2016 (Second Edition).


    Apps etc.

    The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals.

    Audubon African Wildlife.

    eGuide to Birds of East Africa.

    Where to watch birds in Africa by N Wheatley. Helm, 1995.

    Don’t know which country/countries to visit in Africa? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Ethiopia

    Many trip reports, some for Ethiopia, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Ethiopia. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Ethiopia' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Ethiopia

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Ethiopia

    Some Organized Tours to Ethiopia

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Ethiopia include the following.