Trip Report: Ethiopia (including Eritrea and Djibouti),
March 18 - April 13, 1998
Mike Rogerson, Luanda, Angola;
The following trip report covers a 4 week period in "Abyssinia" (3 weeks in
Ethiopia, 1 week in Eritrea and 24 hours in Djibouti). The trip was done
alone, and for reasons of expense (hire car rates, especially 4WD vehicles,
being very expensive in Ethiopia), apart from some cheap internal flights
inside Ethiopia, public land transport was used throughout with the odd bit
of hitch hiking. The trip, although primarily aimed at birding, did include
several days heavily biased towards visits of Ethiopia's outstanding
historical sites specifically around Gonder and Lalibela which can to some
extent be combined with birding.
The reference used was Ber van Perlo's Collins Illustrated Checklist:
Birds of Eastern Africa which covers all birds in the area and was found
to be just about sufficient though at times the illustrations were maybe a
little far from the truth. Also carried was Richard Webb et al's excellent
report on their bird trip to Ethiopia in December/January 1995/96 and the
relevant photocopied pages from Nigel Wheatley's Where to Watch Birds in
Africa. Other useful books rejected because of their weight would have
been Dale Zimmerman et al's
Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania and the
old standard for the area, William and Arlott's A Field Guide to the Birds
of East Africa. There is too Urban and Brown's A Checklist of the Birds
With regard to travel guides the two separate Bradt guides to Ethiopia
and Eritrea take a lot of beating and are especially helpful to budget
travelers/birders in need of finding good, cheap accommodation and food
and also in giving useful information on bus schedules, as well as being
very interesting to read in their own right.
Apart from car hire and the expense of getting to and from Ethiopia, the
area is an extremely affordable one with plenty of perfectly reasonable,
clean though fairly basic hotels for $2-5 (there are a good sprinkling of
government hotels which go for ten times these prices for those who don't
wish to go completely downmarket). Land transport is by bus and minibus and
is reliable and cheap with prices around $1-2 per 100 kilometres which on
most roads is about 3 hours driving. The one disadvantage about land
transport is that for the smaller towns most transport dries up after about
8 or 9 in the morning which cuts into prime birding time if one has to get
back to the bus station. Having said that the two times when no public
transport was available it was easy enough to hitch hike. The other expense
of food is very well catered for in almost all towns and villages and is
very cheap -- usually about $0.50 for a huge bread-like mat (injera) covered
in various very spicy stews (wat) most likely to be either vegetarian or of
mutton. Western food can be found in larger towns, especially at government
Visa details and costs obviously vary for different nationalities, and where
and how they are arranged, but should be in the following approximate range:
Ethiopia $45 for a single entry valid for a month (if flying to Ethiopia by
Ethiopian Airlines they will arrange for you to pick up a visa on arrival
at the airport if coming from a country that does not have an Ethiopian
embassy) -- please note that if you are only transiting Ethiopia (most
likely at Addis Ababa) free transit visas are issued at the airport which
are valid for up to 72 hours but you do have to leave your passport at the
airport and can thus not obtain visas for neighbouring countries during
this time. Eritrea $30 for a single entry valid for a month (visa takes 36
hours to issue in Addis Ababa -- give passport in early morning and pick it
up the following afternoon). Djibouti visas are issued by French embassies
for $40 for a single entry valid for whatever period you can convince them
that you need there unless there is specifically a Djibouti embassy. There
is a Djibouti embassy in Addis Ababa.
Rates of exchange against the dollar (April 1998): Ethiopia 6.9 Birr (must
change in a bank or a government hotel -- there is a black market but this
will only give you about half a Birr extra). Eritrea 7.0 Nakfa (can change
for this rate or very slightly more quite openly on the street and totally
legally at most hotels, otherwise at banks). Djibouti
175 Djibouti Francs (again can change on the street, mostly with women
dealers, or at hotels, otherwise at banks).
International airport departure taxes are $20 for Ethiopia, $12 for Eritrea
and Dfr3000 for Djibouti. Internal airport tax in Ethiopia is 10 Birr.
There is an international train connecting Addis Ababa and Djibouti (no
details apart from the fact it is running, it is open for use by
foreigners, it takes about 24 hours, it runs more than once a week and most
likely is very cheap, overcrowded and uncomfortable).
Weather in the Ethiopian highlands (mostly 1,700-2,500m) is dry October
through May though rain storms can occur at any time in the higher parts
such as the Bale and Simien mountains. June through September is the wet
season. As a general rule the further north you go or the lower down you go
the drier it gets.
Depending on whom you read there are approximately 30 Ethiopian endemics
and quite a few more birds which are seen more easily here than in any
other country. Eritrea does not have any endemics. Djibouti surprisingly
for such a small country has one -- notably the Djibouti Francolin.
Any further more detailed information please feel free to e-mail me at
Itinerary of trip:
Fly Ethiopian Airlines (ET) from Luanda to Addis Ababa arriving midday.
19.3.98 - 20.3.98
In Addis Ababa sorting out visas and confirming flights.
Half day bird in hills close to Addis (7 kilometre taxi ride away - $3) on
Fly ET to Djibouti midday.
Afternoon bird, Djibouti Port.
Morning bird mudflats close to Djibouti.
Return flight with ET to Addis Ababa late morning.
Fly ET to Goba (Bale Mountains) but due to bad weather plane is first
diverted to Dire Dawe where the wait is five hours before continuing on to
Goba arriving there late afternoon.
3 hours midday birding close to Dire Dawe airport.
All day birding around the south of Goba (towards the Sanetti Plateau).
Bird whilst hitch hiking.
Travel (hitch hike) to Dinsho, headquarters of Bale Mountains National Park.
Late afternoon bird, Dinsho.
All day birding around Dinsho.
Buses (3) to Wondo Genet via Shashemene.
Afternoon bird, Wondo Genet.
Morning bird, Wondo Genet.
Buses (2) to Awasa Lake via Shashemene.
Afternoon bird, Lake Awasa.
Morning bird, Lake Awasa.
Buses (2) to Sodo via Shashemene.
Bus to Arba Minch.
Afternoon bird on walk to "Crocodile Farm", Arba Minch.
Morning bird on walk to "Hot Springs", Arba Minch.
Fly ET to Addis Ababa.
One hour morning bird close to Addis Ababa airport.
Fly ET to Bahir Dar.
Midday bird along shore of Lake Tana towards the bridge across the Blue Nile.
Afternoon bird along shore of Lake Tana in the other direction.
Bus to Tis Abay waterfalls on the Blue Nile southeast of Bahir Dar.
Morning bird on walk to the falls and back.
Return by bus to Bahir Dar.
Fly ET to Gonder.
Morning bird around historical sites (medieval castles) Gonder.
Afternoon bird around the same sites.
Morning bird close to Gonder airport.
Fly ET to Lalibela.
Afternoon visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
Finish visiting rock-hewn churches.
Afternoon bird walking north from Lalibela.
Fly ET to Axum
Midday bird around the Stelae Field, Axum.
Bus to Adwa.
Late afternoon bird in wadi close to Adwa.
Bird whilst hitch hiking.
Travel (hitch hike) to Asmara (Eritrea).
Bus to Massawa.
1 hour bird en route to Massawa when bus breaks down half an hour out of
Afternoon bird, Massawa Port.
Full morning birding salt pans and adjacent wadi, Massawa.
Full morning bird again at the productive pans and wadi, Massawa.
Buses (2) to Keren via Asmara.
Full morning bird in main wadi and surrounding countryside south of Keren.
Afternoon bird in hill country to the north of Keren.
Morning bird in main wadi close to Keren.
Bus to Asmara.
Morning bird around lake very close to Asmara airport.
Flight ET to London.
- Urban, E. K. and Brown, L. H. A Checklist of the Birds of Ethiopia.
Ethiopian WNHS. 1994.
- Van Perlo, B. Collins Illustrated Checklist: Birds of Eastern Africa.
Harper Collins. 1995.
- Webb, R. et al. Ethiopia Trip Report: 16 December 1995 to 16 January 1996.
- Wheatley, N. Where to Watch Birds in Africa. Christopher Helm. 1995.
- Williams, J.G. and Arlott, N. A Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa.
- Zimmerman, D., Turner, D., Pearson, D., Willis, I. and Pratt, D. Birds of
Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Christopher Helm. 1996.
In the following bird list for the trip names in both English and Latin and
reference numbers are taken from Ber van Perlo's Collins Illustrated
Checklist: Birds of Eastern Africa which anyone going to Ethiopia will
almost certainly have. Initials after a bird refer to localities where seen
in chronological order unless it was seen in more than five localities in
which case the comment widespread has been used. The key to these initials
follows. Numbers following the initials refer to numbers seen where the
bird in question was for one reason or another only seen a small number of
times or just once. If no number follows the initials then that particular
bird was seen regularly in either small or large numbers in one or more
locations. Ethiopian endemics are noted.
All locations are in Ethiopia except Djibouti (in Djibouti) and Asmara,
Massawa and Keren which are all in Eritrea.
AA Addis Ababa
TA Tis Abay
DD Dire Dawe
WG Wondo Genet
LA Lake Awasa
AM Arba Minch
LT Lake Tana
- 4.11 Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) --
LA (2), LT
- 4.12 Black-necked Grebe (Tachybaptus nigricollis) --
LA (4), LT
- 5.2 Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) --
- 5.5 Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) --
- 5.6 Long-tailed Cormorant (Phalacrocorax africanus) --
LA, LT, TA
- 6.4 Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) --
- 6.5 Pink-backed Pelican (Pelecanus rufescens) --
LA (1), LT, MS
- 6.6 African Darter (Anhinga rufa) --
- 7.1 Western Reef-Egret (Egretta gularis) --
DJ (1), MS
- 7.2 Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) --
- 7.4 Great White Egret (Egretta alba) --
LA, LT, MS
- 7.7 Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) --
- 7.8 Green-backed Heron (Butorides striatus) --
- 7.14 Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) --
- 8.1 Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath) --
- 8.2 Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) --
LA, AM, LT, AS, MS
- 8.3 Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala) --
TA (2), MS
- 8.7 Abdim's Stork (Ciconia abdimii) --
- 8.9 Hammerkop (Scopus umbretta) --
GB, DI, LA
- 8.10 Marabou (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) --
- 9.1 Wattled Ibis (Bostrychia carunculata) --
GB, DI, WG, LA - Endemic
- 9.3 Hadada (Bostrychia hagedash) --
- 9.6 Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopica) --
AA, LA, TA, MS, KR
- 9.9 Greater Flamingo (Phoenicoptera ruber) --
- 9.12 Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) --
- 10.2 White-faced Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) --
- 10.3 Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) --
LA, AM, AS
- 10.5 Spur-winged Goose (Plectropterus gambensis) --
LT (1), TA
- 10.6 Blue-winged Goose (Cyanochen cyanopterus) --
DI - Endemic
- 10.9 African Pygmy Goose (Nettapus auritus) --
- 11.6 Yellow-billed Duck (Anas undulata) --
- 11.7 African Black Duck (Anas sparsa) --
- 11.11 Garganey (Anas querquedula) --
- 11.12 Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) --
DI (2), LA, AS
- 12.5 Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) --
- 12.7 Black Kite (Milvus migrans) --
- 13.1 African Fish-Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) --
- 13.5 Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus) --
- 13.7 African Harrier-Hawk (Polyboroides typus) --
- 15.1 African White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) --
WG (3), AM
- 15.5 Lappet-faced Vulture (Aegypius occipitalis) --
- 16.2 Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus) --
- 16.4 Eurasian Marsh-Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) --
- 18.3 Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) --
- 18.7 Augur Buzzard (Buteo rufofuscus) --
GB, DI, WG
- 19.3 Tawny (& Steppe) Eagle (Aquila rapax) --
- 21.1 Long-crested Eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis) --
- 22.3 Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) --
DI (1), AM (1), LL, AS, MS
- 23.5 Lanner (Falco biarmicus) --
- 23.7 Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) --
- 24.6 Crested Francolin (Francolinus sephaena) --
- 24.16 Chestnut-naped Francolin (Francolinus castaneicollis) --
- 25.8 Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix) --
- 26.5 Rouget's Rail (Rougetius rougetii) --
DI (5) - Endemic
- 26.11 Black Crake (Amaurornis flavirostris) --
- 26.12 Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) --
- 26.16 Red-knobbed Coot (Fulica cristata) --
- 28.2 African Jacana (Actophilornis africana) --
LA, AM, LT
- 28.4 Crab-Plover (Dromas ardeola) --
DJ (2), MS
- 28.6 Common Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) --
- 28.7 Eurasian Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) --
- 29.8 Common Pratincole (Glareola pratincola) --
- 30.2 Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) --
- 30.4 Three-banded Plover (Charadrius tricollaris) --
- 30.6 Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) --
- 30.9 Lesser Sandplover (Charadrius mongolus) --
- 30.12 Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) --
- 31.6 Spur-winged Plover (Vanellus spinosus) --
LA, AM, AS
- 32.4 Little Stint (Calidris minuta) --
- 32.9 Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) --
- 32.12 Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) --
- 33.1 Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) --
- 33.2 Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) --
- 33.4 Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) --
- 33.5 Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) --
- 33.6 African Snipe (Gallinago nigripennis) --
- 34.1 Redshank (Tringa totanus) --
- 34.3 Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) --
- 34.4 Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) --
DI, LA, MS
- 34.6 Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) --
- 34.7 Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinerius) --
- 34.8 Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) --
- 34.9 Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) --
- 35.1 Sooty Gull (Larus hemprichii) --
- 35.7 Grey-headed Gull (Larus cirrocephalus) --
- 35.8 Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) --
- 35.9 Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei) --
- 35.11 Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) --
- 35.12 Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) --
DJ (1), LT
- 36.7 White-winged Black Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus) --
- 37.1 Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia) --
- 37.2 Swift Tern (Sterna bergii) --
- 37.12 Little Tern (Sterna albifrons) --
- 38.7 Speckled Pigeon (Columba guinea) --
- 38.8 White-collared Pigeon (Columba albitorques) --
DI (1), TA - Endemic
- 38.9 Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) --
- 38.10 Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus) --
- 39.3 Bruce's Green Pigeon (Treron waalia) --
- 39.4 Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis) --
DJ, LT, MS
- 39.7 Black-billed Wood Dove (Turtur abyssinicus) --
- 39.8 Emerald-spotted Wood Dove (Turtur chalcospilos) --
- 39.11 Red-eyed Dove (Streptopelia semitorquata) --
LA, LT, GD, AD, KR
- 39.12 African Mourning Dove (Streptopelia decipiens) --
- 39.17 Ring-necked Dove (Streptopelia capicola) --
- 39.19 Dusky Turtle-Dove (Streptopelia lugens) --
- 39.20 Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis) --
- 40.6 Black-winged Lovebird (Agapornis taranta) --
Widespread - Endemic
- 40.12 African Orange-bellied Parrot (Poicephalus rufiventris) --
- 40.15 Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) --
- 41.1 Eastern Grey Plantain-eater (Crinifer zonurus) --
LT, TA, KR
- 41.12 White-cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leucotis) --
- 42.9 Senegal Coucal (Centropus senegalensis) --
- 45.6 African Palm Swift (Cypsiurus parvus) --
- 46.8 Little Swift (Apus affinis) --
- 47.3 Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus) --
- 47.9 Woodland Kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis) --
- 47.11 Striped Kingfisher (Halcyon chelicuti) --
AM (1), TA(1)
- 47.17 Malachite Kingfisher (Corythornis cristata) --
LA, AM, LT
- 47.19 Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) --
DI (1), LA, AM, LT
- 47.20 Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima) --
- 48.5 Little Bee-eater (Merops pusillus) --
AM, AD, KR
- 48.6 Blue-breasted Bee-eater (Merops variegatus) --
AA, WG, TA, LL
- 48.9 Carmine Bee-eater (Merops rubicus) --
- 48.13 White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis) --
- 48.14 Little Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis) --
- 49.5 Abyssinian Roller (Coracias abyssinica) --
- 49.7 Broad-billed Roller (Eurystomus glaucurus) --
- 49.10 Black-billed Wood-Hoopoe (Phoeniculus somaliensis) --
AD (8), KR
- 49.16 Hoopoe (Upupa epops) --
DD, AX (1), AD, KR
- 50.3 Silvery-cheeked Hornbill (Ceratogymna brevis) --
WG, LA, AM
- 50.13 African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus) --
- 50.17 Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus) --
- 50.18 Hemprich's Hornbill (Tockus hemprichii) --
- 50.20 Abyssinian Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus) --
- 51.16 Yellow-breasted Barbet (Trachyphonus margaritatus) --
AS (1), KR
- 51.20 Red-and-Yellow Barbet (Trachyphonus erythrocephalus) --
- 52.6 Banded Barbet (Lybius undatus) --
WG (1) - Endemic
- 52.10 Black-billed Barbet (Lybius guifsobalito) --
AM (1), GD, KR
- 54.3 Nubian Woodpecker (Campethera nubica) --
LA (1), LT (2)
- 55.6 Abyssinian Woodpecker (Dendropicos abyssinicus) --
GB (1), DI (1) - Endemic
- 55.8 Grey Woodpecker (Dendropicos goertae) --
WG (1), GD (1)
- 56.17 Crested Lark (Galerida cristata) --
- 56.18 Thekla Lark (Galerida malabarica) --
- 56.21 Black-crowned Sparrowlark (Eremopterix nigriceps) --
- 58.2 Ethiopian Swallow (Hirundo aethiopica) --
- 58.5 Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) --
- 58.6 Wire-tailed Swallow (Hirundo smithii) --
- 58.11 Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica) --
- 58.12 Lesser Striped Swallow (Hirundo abyssinica) --
- 59.2 Brown-throated Sand-Martin (Riparia paludicola) --
DI, LA, LT, TA
- 59.3 Common Sand-Martin (Riparia riparia) --
- 59.5 Rock Martin (Hirundo fuligula) --
AA, DI, GD
- 60.1 Richard's Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae) --
- 60.4 Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) --
- 60.7 Long-billed Pipit (Anthus similis) --
- 61.3 Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) --
- 61.4 African Pied Wagtail (Motacilla aguimp) --
- 61.7 Mountain Wagtail (Motacilla clara) --
- 61.8 Black Cuckooshrike (Campephaga flava) --
- 61.9 Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike (Campephaga phoenicea) --
- 62.11 Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus) --
- 64.2 Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) --
AS (2), MS, KR
- 64.3 Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica) --
- 64.5 Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka) --
- 64.9 Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens) --
- 64.17 Mocking Cliff Chat (Myrmecocichla cinnamomeiventris) --
GD, LL, AD
- 64.18 White-winged Cliff Chat (Myrmecocichla semirufa) --
AD (4) - Endemic
- 65.3 Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) --
- 65.5 Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) --
- 65.7 Common Rock-Thrush (Monticola saxatilis) --
- 65.11 Brown-tailed Chat (Cercomela scotocerca) --
- 65.14 Alpine Chat (Cercomela sordida) --
- 65.15 Eurasian Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) --
- 65.21 Rufous Scrub-Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes) --
- 65.23 White-browed Scrub-Robin (Cercotrichas leucophrys) --
- 65.24 Black Scrub-Robin (Cercomela podobe) --
- 67.1 African Thrush (Turdus pelios) --
AD (3), KR
- 67.2 Olive Thrush (Turdus olivaceus) --
- 67.4 Groundscraper Thrush (Psophocichla litsitsirupa) --
GB, DI, LL
- 67.10 Abyssinian Ground-Thrush (Zoothera piaggiae) --
- 67.18 Rueppell's Robin-Chat (Cossypha semirufa) --
AA (1), GB (3), WG, LA
- 68.24 Olivaceous Warbler (Hippolais pallida) --
- 69.8 Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) --
- 69.9 Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) --
AA, LA, MS
- 69.21 Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis) --
- 70.8 Stout Cisticola (Cisticola robustus) --
- 71.1 Red-faced Cisticola (Cisticola erythrops) --
- 71.7 Winding Cisticola (Cisticola galactotes) --
- 71.12 Graceful Warbler (Prinia gracilis) --
- 71.13 Tawny-flanked Prinia (Prinia subflava) --
GB, AM, MS, KR
- 72.23 Common Camaroptera (Camaroptera brachyura) --
WG, AM, AD
- 73.5 Northern Sylvietta (Sylvietta brachyura) --
LA (1), AM
- 74.4 African Dusky Flycatcher (Muscicapa adusta) --
- 74.17 Northern Black Flycatcher (Melaenornis edolioides) --
- 74.20 Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher (Melaenornis chocolatina) --
- 75.9 Grey-headed Batis (Batis orientalis) --
WG (2), LA
- 76.2 African Paradise Monarch (Terpsiphone viridis) --
- 77.7 Abyssinian Catbird (Parophasma galinieri) --
GB (4) - Endemic
- 77.10 Rufous Chatterer (Turdoides rubiginosus) --
- 77.17 White-rumped Babbler (Turdoides leucopygius) --
- 77.19 White-headed Babbler (Turdoides leucocephalus) --
- 78.8 White-backed Black Tit (Parus leuconotus) --
GB (3), DI (3) - Endemic
- 78.17 Montane White-eye (Zosterops poliogaster) --
AA, DI, GD, AD
- 79.1 Variable Sunbird (Nectarinia venusta) --
- 79.5 Shining Sunbird (Nectarinia habessinica) --
- 79.10 Collared Sunbird (Anthreptes collaris) --
- 79.11 Northern Pygmy Sunbird (Anthreptes metallicus) --
- 80.13 Beautiful Sunbird (Nectarinia pulchella) --
- 80.15 Olive Sunbird (Nectarinia olivacea) --
- 81.2 Tacazze Sunbird (Nectarinia tacazze) --
GB, DI, WG, LT, GD
- 82.3 African Black-headed Oriole (Oriolus larvata) --
- 82.5 Black-headed Forest Oriole (Oriolus monacha) --
WG (2), GD (1) - Endemic
- 82.10 Brubru (Nilaus afer) --
- 82.12 Northern Puffback (Dryoscopus gambensis) --
WG, TA (1)
- 82.18 Black-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra senegala) --
AM (2), AS (1), KR
- 83.4 Sulphur-breasted Bush-Shrike (Malaconotus sulfureopectus) --
- 83.16 Tropical Boubou (Laniarius ferrugineus) --
- 84.2 Red-tailed Shrike (Lanius isabellinus) --
- 84.3 Nubian Shrike (Lanius nubicus) --
GD (1), MS, KR
- 84.8 Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) --
- 84.13 Grey-backed Fiscal (Lanius excubitoroides) --
- 84.17 Common Fiscal (Lanius collaris) --
- 85.12 Pied Crow (Corvus albus) --
- 85.13 House Crow (Corvus splendens) --
- 85.15 Thick-billed Raven (Corvus crassirostris) --
DI (2), LA(3), AM - Endemic
- 85.16 Fan-tailed Raven (Corvus rhipidurus) --
DI (1), AM, LL, MS
- 85.17 African Rook (Corvus capensis) --
- 86.5 Slender-billed Starling (Onychognathus tenuirostris) --
- 86.6 Red-winged Starling (Onychognathus morio) --
- 86.14 Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling (Lamprotornis chalybeus) --
- 86.17 Rueppell's Long-tailed Starling (Lamprotornis purpuropterus) --
LA, AM, KR
- 87.1 African Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis) --
DD, LA, AM, TA
- 87.8 Superb Starling (Spreo superbus) --
- 87.15 Violet-backed Starling (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) --
- 88.1 Grey-headed Sparrow (Passer griseus) --
- 88.2 House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) --
- 88.6 Sudan Golden Sparrow (Passer luteus) --
- 88.13 Speckle-fronted Weaver (Sporopipes frontalis) --
- 88.14 White-browed Sparrow-Weaver (Plocepasser mahali) --
- 88.22 White-headed Buffalo-Weaver (Dinemellia dinemelli) --
- 89.1 Black-headed Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus) --
- 89.17 Vitelline Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus) --
- 89.22 Little Weaver (Ploceus luteolus) --
- 90.9 Baglafecht Weaver (Ploceus baglafecht) --
- 91.10 Northern Red Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus) --
- 91.16 Yellow Bishop (Euplectes capensis) --
- 93.5 Red-billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala) --
- 94.2 Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus bengalus) --
LA, AM, AD, KR
- 94.4 Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild) --
- 94.13 Yellow-bellied Waxbill (Estrilda melanotis) --
AA, GB, DI
- 94.16 Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua hypocherina) --
- 95.5 Bronze Mannikin (Lonchura cucullata) --
- 95.8 African Silverbill (Lonchura cantans) --
- 95.10 Cut-throat (Amadina fasciata) --
DD, LT, MS
- 95.12 Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting (Emberiza tahapisi) --
LL (1), KR
- 96.17 Brown-rumped Bunting (Emberiza forbesi) --
- 96.1 Yellow-crowned Canary (Serinus canicollis) --
- 96.2 Black-headed Siskin (Serinus nigriceps) --
DI - Endemic
- 96.3 African Citril (Serinus citrinelloides) --
WG (2), LA, LT, LL
- 96.18 Brown-rumped Serin (Serinus tristriatus) --
- 96.21 Streaky Serin (Serinus striolatus) --
For what it's worth my three favourite places (in no particular order) were
Dinsho, Lalibela and Massawa.
Stayed at the Bale Mountains National Park headquarters in Dinsho which is
about a kilometre from Dinsho village. As well as seeing eight endemics
there the whole area is superb for day hikes in all directions (you can
hire horses very cheaply here too). The countryside goes from lightly
wooded hilly areas, to marshy and boggy ground, grazed pasture land and
agricultural land up to beautiful alpine spots and desolate mountain tops
(for those inclined). As well as a surfeit of birds there are many animals
both large and small to keep an eye out for. Overall a peaceful and
Lalibela is not great for birds (though still quite a few) and is (in
Ethiopian terms) getting a bit touristy. That said the rock-hewn churches
should not be missed if at all possible. Described in much of the tourist
blurb as the eighth "Wonder of the World" they really are very close. Also
even with fair numbers of visitors the people are still incredibly
welcoming and undemanding which, considering their poverty, is quite
remarkable. In the surrounding area there are plenty of good long walks in
very hilly terrain to some smaller and less well known churches and
monasteries which I'm sure too would produce some good birds. If you go try
some "honey houses" -- small places where the locals drink the local brew
made from -- yes you guessed -- honey. It's called tej and comes in three
Massawa apart from being (well the old part anyway) an archetypal ageless
Arab port is less than auspicious at first glance. However the salt pans
behind and north of the port with the adjacent wadi area are worth every
minute you can spend there though do make as early a start as you can as
the heat does get pretty vicious towards midday. A rather expensive
possibility when in Massawa is to arrange a trip to the fairly nearby
Dahlak Islands which would produce some very interesting seabirds. Should
Massawa not grab you then it's only a three hour bus ride back to Asmara
and its (at well over 2,000 metres) balmy climate.
Return to trip reports.
This page served with permission of the author
by Urs Geiser; email@example.com;
May 20, 1998