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ULTIMATE ETHIOPIA

Sunday 15th November - Thursday 3rd December 2015

János Oláh

The lovely Spot-breasted Lapwing is always one of the highlights of this tour (János Oláh).

The lovely Spot-breasted Lapwing is always one of the highlights of this tour (János Oláh).

Ethiopia is an amzing country with fantastic scenery and many exciting endemic birds! It is simply a destination where everybody should go if interested in African birds or in birds at all. The ‘Roof of Africa’ as this special country is often labelled offers great birding adventure despite habitat changes and population growth. Moreover it offers a great experience for photographers too, as a lot of special birds and mammals are surprisingly tame. We have been operating tours to Ethiopia since the 1980s and our latest visit was again a memorable one. This year we faced rather unexpected and strange weather conditions, however, it is almost not worth mentioning this nowadays, with an extremely dry north and a very wet south. In the Awash region there has not been substantional rain for over a year and this was reflected by the birdlife in this area. However the plains around Negele and the bush country of the south was remarkable alive and colourful. Although our triplist was not the highest at 518 species it included all the regional endemics and almost all the available specialities, which included no fewer than 106 diamond (?) species and a total of 35 globally threatened birds! For such a long established tour it was also interesting to get three birds, which had not been recorded before, such as White-fronted Plover, Eastern Orphean Warbler and Exclamatory Paradise Whydah. We saw all the Ethiopian/Eritrean endemics (except for the near-mythical Nechisar Nightjar), which included the prehistoric-looking Wattled Ibis, the enigmatic Blue-winged Goose, the highly localised Harwood’s Francolin, the strangely tame Rouget’s Rail or Bale Chicken, the elegant Spot-breasted Lapwing, the handsome White-collared Pigeon, the localised Yellow-fronted Parrot, the tiny Black-winged Lovebird, the charismatic Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco, the variable Banded Barbet, the elusive Abyssinian Woodpecker, the rare Archer’s Lark, Erlanger’s Lark, the little-known White-tailed Swallow, the grassland-loving Abyssinian Longclaw, the rock-loving Rüppell’s Black Chat, the handsome White-winged Cliff Chat, the recently split Ethiopian Cisticola, the easy-to-see Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, the vocal Abyssinian Catbird, the shy White-backed Black Tit, the cryptic Abyssinian Oriole, the very special Stresemann’s Bush Crow, the impressive Thick-billed Raven, the subtle White-billed Starling, and a full set of localised endemic seedeaters, namely Yellow-rumped (White-throated), Yellow-throated and Salvadori’s Seedeaters, Ethiopian Siskin, the recently discovered Ankober Serin and the Ethiopian (Red-billed) Pytilia which has just been elevated to endemic status!

We enjoyed a particularly nice view of White-faced Scops Owl this year (János Oláh).

We enjoyed a particularly nice view of White-faced Scops Owl this year (János Oláh).