More than 800 bird species are found in Ethiopia, of which 16 are endemic. A further 14 species are shared with Eritrea, which was part of Ethiopia until 1991. Ethiopia’s diverse habitats, highlands, lowlands, forests, lakes, wetlands and riverine systems provide sites for wintering or passage birds.
Important Bird Areas of Ethiopia, published by the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, provides a list of 69 sites, spread throughout the country, with much work in identifying and classifying new sites still to be done.
Most bird watching itineraries are in the south of the country – an itinerary in search of all of Ethiopia’s endemic birds would take in Debre Libanos, north of Addis Ababa, the Jemma River valley, the escarpment north west of Addis Ababa, around Debre Berhan and Ankober and the descent to Melka Jedbu, the Awash National Park, the Rift Valley Lakes, Wondo Genet, Bale and the road south through the Harenna forest to Negele, west from there to Yabello, Konso and Fejej and Nech Sar National Park. This would take a minimum of 3 weeks, but shorter tours of about 10 days which would guarantee seeing most of the endemics and several hundred other species could be set up covering Awash National Park, the Rift Valley Lakes and the Bale Mountains.
Village Ethiopia can tailor make itineraries to meet clients’ special needs or interests, and mix bird watching with other itineraries – such as the Historic Route or the Simien Mountains and can also organize short birding extensions as part of a longer trip, or for people passing through Addis Ababa with a few days to spare. On both long and short trips, you will be accompanied by a trained ornithologist.