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ULTIMATE ETHIOPIA

Sunday 11th November - Wednesday 28th November 2018

NIK BORROW

Stresemann's Bushcrow - probably THE most iconic of all of Ethiopia's endemic birds. Fab-u-lous! (Nik Borrow)

Stresemann's Bushcrow - probably THE most iconic of all of Ethiopia's endemic birds. Fab-u-lous! (Nik Borrow)

Ethiopia is a classic sub-Saharan destination with a wide range of habitats and an impressive list of species, including more endemics than almost any other comparable region of Africa. For many years in BirdQuest’s history, the challenge of finding all the endemic Ethiopian birds on a ‘regular’ basis has been one of our main aims. One of the problems is that the taxonomy continuously evolves and more endemics and near endemics are found to confound the challenge! The exact number of actual endemics varies with the vagaries of modern taxonomy. Birds of the Horn of Africa by Nigel Redman et al. recognises 15 and lists Blue-winged Goose, Harwood’s Francolin, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Ruspoli’s Turaco,

Archer’s (Sidamo) Lark, Erlanger’s Lark, White-tailed Swallow, Abyssinian Longclaw, Abyssinian Catbird, Stresemann’s Bushcrow, Yellow-throated Seedeater, Salvadori’s Seedeater, Ethiopian Siskin, and Ankober Serin and of these we encountered them all. In addition to these there is also the virtually mythical Nechisar Nightjar (described from the remains of a single decomposing wing in 1990) that still awaits confirmation and may or may not be an endemic species. This tour added the chance to see another endemic to the list in the form of the recently split (from Chestnut-naped) Black-fronted Francolin and our success was total with great

views enjoyed. We repeated our visit to the Sarite Plains to see a recently discovered population of Masked Lark and another new addition to our previous itineraries included a trip down towards the Kenyan border where we found Heuglin’s Bustard, Somali Bee-eater and Donaldson Smith’s Sparrow-Weaver. Unfortunately, some tribal tensions affected us this year in the south and we were forced to miss out the Dawa River area which lost us a few species. However, the weather treated us well and it was generally hot, dry and sunny with bright blue skies that supported the countries claim to thirteen months of sunshine!

Arabian Bustard can still be seen quite easily in Ethiopia (Nik Borrow)

Arabian Bustard can still be seen quite easily in Ethiopia (Nik Borrow)