Birding

Boasting some 818 bird species spanning a huge diversity of habitats, Ethiopia is one of Africa's key birding destinations.

  • Ethiopia has 17 endemic breeding species including Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco, Stresemann’s Bush Crow and White-tailed Swallow.  There are also a further 15 species shared only with Eritrea.
  • Ethiopia is also the best place in the world to see many regional endemics whose range only otherwise extends into Eritrea, Somalia or South Sudan. This list includes highland birds such as White-winged Cliff-chat, Black-winged Lovebird and Rouget’s Rail.
  • The highlands of northern Ethiopia are the best place in the world to see the mighty Lammergeyer, which is regularly observed soaring above the Simien Mountains displaying its 2-metre wingspan.
  • Highland grasslands and moorlands hold unusual species such as Blue-winged Goose, and Spot-breasted Lapwing, whilst rocky areas are home to Rueppell’s Black Chat and White-billed Starling.
  • Bale Mountains National Park has been listed as one of the continent’s top five birding hotspots by the African Bird Club. Its checklist of 310 bird species includes 6 national endemics, 11 species shared only with Eritrea and the only known sub-Saharan breeding populations of Golden Eagle, Ruddy Shelduck and Red-billed Chough.
  • Forest patches in the central highlands are home to White-cheeked Turaco, Ethiopian Oriole, Abyssinian Catbird, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Black-winged Lovebird, Abyssinian Woodpecker and White-backed Tit.
  • The Rift Valley lakes are renowned for their waterbirds, especially flamingos and pelicans and also support many species of ducks, rails, weavers and waders, whilst the arid savannas of the Rift Valley hold a good diversity of Bustards.
  • The Nechisar Nightjar, known only from a single wing salvaged from a road corpse on the Nechisar Plains in 1990 is possibly one the world’s most elusive birds.
  • Finally, if Ethiopia's resident birds aren't quite enough you, between September to March, there are also opportunities to spot some of the 273 Palaearctic migrant species which travel from Europe and central Asia to overwinter in Ethiopia.

Birding Itineraries