Ethiopia Birding Tours
Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia), along with Djibouti, Eritrea, the Yemeni island of Socotra, and Somalia make up the north-eastern corner of Africa, often referred to as the ‘Horn of Africa’. Ethiopia has had a long, rich, and at times difficult history which has shaped it into the unique and culturally rich country it is today. Despite many tough years for Ethiopians over the last century the people are incredibly friendly and welcoming and are always willing to help you explore the beauty of this vast and incredibly varied country.
Ethiopia, ‘the Roof of Africa’, is an absolutely unique and spectacular birding destination. It is one of Africa’s most scenically beautiful countries, boasting some of the continent’s highest mountains and plateaus (but also contains a depression that reaches below sea level), impressive escarpments, Great Rift Valley lakes, and volcanos. It also hosts highly varied vegetation types from juniper forests to arid savanna dotted with monstrous red termite mounds and the unforgiving Danakil Desert. Descending from the highlands to deep valleys far below can seem like entering a completely different world, all within the same day!
Ethiopia has 19 endemic and many near-endemic bird species, which make it a particularly important destination for world birders. Many of these species occur in the unique Afro-alpine moorlands, where one can expect to find Spot-breasted Lapwing, Blue-winged Goose, Rouget’s Rail, and Ankober Serin, as well as the only known sub-Saharan breeding populations of Golden Eagle, Red-billed Chough, and Ruddy Shelduck. Forest and forest patches support further key bird species such as Abyssinian Woodpecker, Abyssinian Catbird, White-backed Black Tit, and, best of all, Ruspoli’s Turaco. The Acacia savanna in the south of the country hosts desirable species such as White-tailed Swallow, Stresemann’s Bushcrow, and Salvadori’s Seedeater. Birding in the escarpment to the north of Addis Ababa can produce more top birds, such as Rüppell’s Black Chat, Erlanger’s Lark, White-billed Starling, and Wattled Ibis.
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Another huge drawing card for wildlife enthusiasts is the large diversity of mammals found throughout Ethiopia. These include such iconic species as Ethiopian Wolf (the rarest canid on earth) in the Bale Mountains National Park, Gelada (“bleeding-heart baboon”) in the escarpment areas, a large diversity of antelope and other game in Awash National Park, and the bizarre Naked Mole-rat with their intriguingly advanced social system. Perhaps we will even get lucky with the forest-dwelling populations of African Wild Dog and Lion in Harenna Forest, part of the Bale Mountains National Park, as well as the endemic Bale Monkey.
A historical or cultural tour should be considered when planning a birding or wildlife holiday to Ethiopia. Some of the historical and cultural highlights of Ethiopia include the monolithic rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Axum with its Northern Stelae Park (the supposed site of the Ark of the Covenant), and the churches of Gondar. Ethiopia is also considered to be the first place to cultivate coffee plants, and the daily coffee ritual is certainly something to enjoy!
Please consider joining our trips, which are designed to yield all the Ethiopian bird endemics as well as provide the incredible sights and sounds of Lalibela. We look forward to exploring this fascinating and biodiversity-rich country with you!
Download Ethiopia Itineraries
Ethiopia: Complete Abyssinia March 2024
Ethiopia: Lalibela Historical Extension April 2024
Testimonials from our Ethiopia birding tours
Our birding trip to Ethiopia was fantastic. The country is so rich in history and interesting people and customs. The birding was great! Needless to say Dominic is an expert birder. He is a warm and gracious person and we all really enjoyed his company. Our Ethiopian driver and guide, Tesfaw, was also very good. He was an experienced guide and driver. His contacts were good as were his day to day decisions. He kept our group on time and on schedule but was also flexible to our requests and needs. We rate our trip excellent (A,10/10). Thank you for all your work in arranging the trip. We appreciate all your prompt correspondences. We certainly will be using Birding Ecotours in the future. We hope to meet you in person some day.Laurie and Steve - On Dominic and Ethiopia