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  • Where to watch BIRDS and

  • other wildlife in the world
  • Photograph of Ethiopian or Stresemann's Bushcrow

    The handsome endemic Ethiopian or Stresemann's Bushcrow by David Beadle.

  • Where to watch birds and wildlife in

    Photograph of Gelada Baboon

    Gelada Baboons by Lars Petersson.

    Best Birds and other wildlife in Ethiopia


    Photograph of Ethiopian Bee-eater

    The superb Ethiopian Bee-eater in the Jemma Valley by David Beadle.

    Endemics 18 (35 including Eritrea)
    Harwood’s Francolin, Moorland Francolin, Blue-winged Goose, Brown-faced (Bare-faced) Go-away-bird, Ruspoli’s Turaco (around Arero, Negele and Wadera in the south), Spot-breasted Lapwing, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Ethiopian (Stresemann’s) Bushcrow (around Mega and Yabelo in the south), White-tailed Swallow (around Mega and Yabelo in the south), Abyssinian Catbird, Kaffa (Heuglin’s) White-eye, Sombre Rockchat, Red-billed Pytilia (formerly in east Sudan), Abyssinian Longclaw, Yellow-throated Seedeater (Serin) (small range), Salvadori’s Seedeater (Serin), Ankober Serin and Ethiopian Siskin.

    (Nechisar Nightjar is known only from a single wing found on the Nechisar Plains in the southwest in 1990. Liben Lark has not been recorded in Somalia since 1922)


    Ethiopia and Eritrea 17
    White-collared Pigeon, Rouget’s Rail, Wattled Ibis, Banded Barbet, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Black-winged Lovebird, Ethiopian Black-headed Oriole, White-backed Black Tit, Blanford’s Lark, Ethiopian Cisticola, White-billed Starling, Ethiopian (Groundscraper) Thrush, Abyssinian Slaty-flycatcher, White-winged Cliff-chat, Ruppell’s Chat, Rusty-breasted (Red-breasted) Wheatear and Yellow-rumped Seedeater.

    Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan 1
    Ethiopian (Black-faced) Firefinch.

    Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia 1
    White-rumped Babbler.

    Ethiopia and South Sudan 1
    Abyssinian (Fawn-breasted) Waxbill.

    Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan 2
    Erckel’s Francolin and White-headed (Cretzschmar’s) Babbler.

    Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Sudan 3
    White-cheeked Turaco, Ethiopian (Blue-breasted) Bee-eater and Ethiopian (Heuglin’s) White-eye.

    Ethiopia and Somalia 5
    Chestnut-naped Francolin, White-winged Collared-dove, Little Brown Bustard, Philippa’s (Short-billed) Crombec and Somali Wheatear.

    Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia 1
    Brown-rumped Seedeater.

    Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti 1
    Somali (Common) Bulbul.

    Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan 1
    Thick-billed Raven.

    Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya 1
    Abyssinian (African) Citril.

    Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya 12
    Somali Bee-eater, Red-naped Bushshrike, Collared Lark, Gillett’s Lark, Somali Short-toed Lark, Dodson’s (Common) Bulbul, Scaly Babbler, White-crowned Starling, Donaldson-Smith’s Sparrow-weaver, Golden Palm Weaver, Juba (Salvadori’s) Weaver and Northern Grosbeak-canary.

    Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti 1
    Somali Sparrow.

    Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan 1
    Chestnut-headed Sparrow-lark.

    Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda 3
    Yellow-vented Eremomela, Pale Prinia and Bristle-crowned Starling.

    Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania 9
    Vulturine Guineafowl, Red-bellied (Orange-bellied) Parrot, Short-tailed Lark, Somali Crombec, Kenya (Pale) White-eye, Golden-breasted Starling, Fischer’s Starling, Bare-eyed Thrush and Black-bellied Sunbird.

    Ethiopia and Kenya 3
    Black-fronted Francolin, Grant’s (Violet) Woodhoopoe and Masked Lark.

    Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan 1
    Star-spotted Nightjar.

    Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan 1
    Jackson’s Hornbill.

    Ethiopia, Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 1
    African (Abyssinian) Long-eared Owl.

    Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania 2
    Friedmann’s Lark and Black-capped Social-weaver.

    Other specialities
    Somali Ostrich, African Swallow-tailed Kite, Arabian Bustard, Hemprich’s Hornbill, Black-billed Woodhoopoe, Yellow-breasted Barbet, Ethiopian Boubou, Taita and Somali Fiscals, Abyssinian White-eye, Sharpe's and Shelley’s Starlings, Abyssinian Ground-thrush, Little Rock-thrush, Abyssinian Wheatear, Nile Valley and Shining Sunbirds, Abyssinian Crimsonwing and Swainson's Sparrow. Also a chance of Black Crowned Crane, Wattled Crane, Somali (Cream-coloured) Courser and, in the rarely visited western lowlands it is possible to see Egyptian Plover and Red-throated Bee-eater on the Baro River at Gambela.

    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, Temminck's and Heuglin's Coursers, sandgrouse, Bruce's Green-pigeon, turacos, owls including Verreaux's Eagle-owl, nightjars, mousebirds, Narina Trogon, kingfishers, bee-eaters including Northern Carmine, Abyssinian and Lilac-breasted Rollers, 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, African 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.

    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.

    Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
    Nile Crocodile.

    The Afro-Alpine vegetation includes the impressive Giant Lobelia.

    Best Sites for Birds and other wildlife in Ethiopia

    Best Times for Birds and other 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 Bird 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.

    Birds of Ethiopia & Eritrea: An Atlas of Distribution by J Ash and J Atkins. Helm, 2009.

    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.

    Birding and Wildlife 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 bird and wildlife guides 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 for birders in Ethiopia

    Some Organized Tours for birds and other wildlife 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.