17 Days Bird Watching Tour to Ethiopia

  • 17 Days


Focus: Bird Watching, Nature, Wildlife, Scenery, Site Seeing

Destination: Addis Ababa, Debre Brihan, Ankober, Awash, Langano, Bale Mountains, Negele, Yabelo, Hawassa, Wendo Genet

Mode of transport: Flight + Surface


17 Days 16 Nights


Day 1 - Arrival Addis Ababa, City Tours

Up on your arrival, greet by our guide at airport, transfer to hotel. You will have a breakfast at the hotel and free time at your hotel. In the afternoon, begin discovering the city and visit of the National Museum, the home of the famous complete hominid fossil remains of Lucy dates 3.2 million years back, Mount Entoto, panoramic view point at the highest peak in Addis with an altitude of 3200 meter above sea level, and visit the Zoological Natural  Natural History Museum. In the city, many of Ethiopia’s more common endemics and near-endemics are found, such as the oddly proportioned Thickbilled Raven, White-collared Pigeon, Banded Barbet, Wattled Ibis, Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, Black-winged Lovebird, Brown-rumped Seedeater, Montane Nightjar and others.Overnight in hotel.

Day 2 - Birding around Jemma Valley

In the early morning, depart to Debre Libanos, northern of Addis Ababa, to Jemma Valley. Walk to the edge of the valley to look for some of Ethiopia’s localized endemics and near-endemics, such as Harwood’s and Erckel’s Spurfowls, Rüppell’s Black Chat and others. Then descend to the Jemma River and look for a very different species of birds. Here, we will look for species such as Speckle-fronted Weaver, Fox Kestrel, Foxy and Short-winged Cisticolas, Abyssinian Wheatear, Senegal Thick-knee, Black-billed Barbet, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, and many others. Later in the day, drive to Debre Brihan. Overnight in Hotel.

Day 3 - Drive to Gemasa Gedel - Ankober

In the early morning, drive to Gemassa Gedel and Ankober escarpments to search for an endemic bird,  Ankober Serin. Other avian targets to look out for in the area include White-billed Starling, Blanford’s Lark, Abyssinian Longclaw, Ethiopian Siskin, and large impressive predators like Verreaux’s Eagle or Bearded Vulture. We also have a chance to see the endemic mamal, Gelada baboon. Then, continue birding the highlands and escarpment, where we might encounter Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Somali Crow, Hemprich’s Hornbill, Nyanza and Mottled Swifts, Rüppell’s Black and Moorland Chats, White-rumped Babbler, Abyssinian and Rusty-breasted Wheatears, Yellow-crowned Canary, and many other exciting species. Overnight in Ankober Palace Lodge.

Day 4 - Awash National Park, birding Melka Ghebdu

Today, we depart to Awash National Park. Enroute, we will halt around Melka Ghebdu, a dry river bed where the Ethiopian endemic Yellow-throated Seedeater can be observed. We may also find White-bellied Go-away-bird, Abyssinian Roller, Common Rock Thrush, White-throated Robin, Beautiful Sunbird, Sahel Bush Sparrow, Crimsonrumped Waxbill, and many other dry-country species. After reaching we will bird the amazing Afar Plains, where a rich diversity of birds will likely make an appearance. We could see Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Kori Bustard, Black-headed Lapwing, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Red-bellied Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue-naped Mousebird, Olive Bee-eater, Abyssinian Roller, Black-billed Wood Hoopoe, Abyssinian and Black Scimitarbills, various hornbill species including Abyssinian Ground and Von der Decken’s Hornbills, Black-throated and Yellow-breasted Barbets, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Grey Wren-Warbler, Grey-headed Batis, Slate-colored Boubou, Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Chestnut Weaver, and White-crested Helmetshrike, among many others. Overnight in Doho Lodge.

Day 5 - Birding Awash National Park

Full day birding in Awash National Park. Awash is one of Ethiopia’s premier national parks, which has a rich diversity of birds as well as mammals. We’ll look for Scissor-tailed Kite, a host of bustards including Arabian, Buffcrested, Hartlaub’s, Black-bellied, and White-bellied Bustards, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, and many more. During our time here we also hope to find Somali Ostrich, African Collared Dove, Horsfield’s Bush Lark, Gillett’s Lark, Chestnut-backed and Chestnut-headed SparrowLarks, Boran and Ashy Cisticolas, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Pale and African Grey Flycatchers, Mouse-colored Penduline Tit, four of Africa’s most lovely sunbirds, namely Eastern Violet-backed, Nile Valley, Beautiful, and Shining Sunbirds, Somali Fiscal, Woodchat Shrike, Northern Masked Weaver, Cut-throat Finch, and many others. At this time of year we might also enjoy migrant Common Whitethroat and White-throated Robin. In the evening, a night drive, where we hope to find several nightjar and owl species, including Star-spotted, Slender-tailed, Plain, and Nubian Nightjars and perhaps Greyish Eagle-Owl and Northern White-faced Owl. Overnignt in Doho Lodge.

Day 6 - Birding Awash National Park and the Alideghe National Park

On this day, drive hot plains of Alideghe Plains, and we may observe Arabian and Kori Bustards, Somali Ostrich, and Secretarybird, with large numbers of Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse. We’ll keep a lookout for raptors, including Scissor-tailed Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Grasshopper and Long-legged Buzzards, as well as migrant eagles. Larger mammals such as Grevy’s Zebra, Beisa Oryx, Soemmerring’s Gazelle, African Golden Wolf, and Gerenuk in are found in the area. In the surrounding bush we will search for African Collared Dove, Isabelline Shrike, Rosy-patched Bushshrike and many others. Overnight in Doho Lodge.


Day 7 - Birding the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley

After breakfast, drive to Lake Ziway and surrounding plain to observe birds like Black Crowned Crane, Collared Pratincole, African Snipe and several other shorebird species, various tern species including Gull-billed Tern, Lesser and African Jacanas, Fulvous Whistling Duck, African Pygmy Goose, Western Marsh Harrier, and many others. Other highlights today might include Greater Spotted Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, White-headed Vulture, Clapperton’s Spurfowl, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, Buff-bellied Warbler, Blackstart, Western Black-headed and Pygmy Batises, the striking Masked Shrike, Green-winged Pytilia, and Red-fronted Prinia, as well as many others. Then Proceed to Langano. Overnight in Sabana Beach Resort.

Day 8 - Birding around Lake Langano

In the eearly morining, look for some of the species we might find today are Black-winged Lovebird, Banded and Red-fronted Barbets, Little Weaver, and Little Rock Thrush. The rocky escarpment above the hotel holds Ethiopian Bee-eater, Mocking Cliff Chat, Abyssinian Wheatear, Fan-tailed Raven, and groups of cute Rock Hyrax. Furthermore, walk in the adjacent dry acacia woodland might yield Black-billed Wood Hoopoe, Bearded Woodpecker, Von der Decken’s Hornbill, BoranvCisticola, Buff-bellied Warbler, Mouse-colored Penduline Tit, White-winged Black Tit, White-rumped Babbler, Grey-headed Batis, and Rüppell’s Weaver. Later on we may visit the grounds of another hotel for roosting Slender-tailed Nightjar and Verreaux’s and Greyish Eagle-Owls, as well as Clapperton’s Spurfowl.  In the afternoon, explore the forest in the southern shore of the lake and the acacia woodland along the road could produce Western Banded Snake Eagle, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, and Red-throated Wryneck, among others. This area is a home to several endemic and special birds, including Scaly Spurfowl, Lemon Dove, Narina Trogon, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Parrot, White-cheeked Turaco, Abyssinian Woodpecker, and Ethiopian Oriole. Noisy groups of Grey-backed Fiscals inhabits in open areas, and Guereza can be found in tall fig trees. Overnight in Sabana Beach Resort.

Day 9 - Birding in Bale Mountains National Park

In the morning, we drive to Dinsho, the gateway to the fabled Bale Mountains, which reaches an  altitude of around 14,000 feet (4,500 meters). Birding varied habitats such as Abyssinian Owl, Cape (Mackinder’s) Eagle-Owl (the largest of three subspecies), African Wood Owl, Wattled Ibis, Chestnut-naped Spurfowl, Moorland Francolin, Wattled Crane, Red-billed Chough, White-backed Black Tit, Abyssinian Catbird, African Emerald Cuckoo, Abyssinian Crimsonwing, and, with luck, Golden Eagle, as well as a long list of other birds. Interesting mammals here include Mountain Nyala, Klipspringer, Menelik’s Bushbuck, Bohor Reedbuck, and others. As we leave Goba, the Juniper-Hagenia forest that are home to the  endemic Abyssinian Woodpecker, White-backed Black Tit, Abyssinian Catbird, and Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, plus Abyssinian Ground Thrush. Then proceed to Harena Forest to spot some star birds like Brown Parisoma, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, African Emerald Cuckoo, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Rüppell’s and White-browed Robin-Chats, Abyssinian Crimsonwing, and Slender-billed Starling, or even a flock of migrating European Bee-eaters. Overnight in Bale Mountain Lodge

Day 10 - Birding around Sanetti Plateau

On the morning, driving around Harena Forest, stands of Hypericum trees host the endemic griseiventris subspecies of Brown Parisoma. Moorland Francolin, Chestnut-naped Spurfowl, and Cinnamon Bracken Warbler frequent dense shrubbery, while Ethiopian Cisticola prefers the more open areas. Then drive further to Sanetti Plateau, an island of tundra in the tropics, the habitat is classified as “Afro-alpine moorland. In this area we observe Steppe and Golden Eagles, Augur Buzzard, and the elegant Pallid Harrier circling over this verdant floral sea. They share this abundant food source with the plateau’s most celebrated endemic, the Ethiopian Wolf, crowned with the unenviable title of “the world’s rarest canid”. Watching these vibrantly colored animals exhibiting their hunting prowess while pouncing on Giant Mole Rats is surely among Africa’s greatest wildlife experiences. The plateau also holds the Afrotropical breeding populations of Ruddy Shelduck, Golden Eagle, and Red-billed Chough. We will also search for Black Stork, Wattled Ibis, Rouget’s Rail (particularly common and confiding here), the endemic Blue-winged Goose, Spotbreasted Lapwing, Wattled Crane, Thekla’s Lark, migratory flocks of Red-throated Pipit, Abyssinian Longclaw, Rusty-breasted Wheatear, the dumpy Moorland Chat, and flocks of the endemic Ethiopian Siskin. Overnight in Bale Mountain Lodge.

Day 11 - Birding the Genale Valley

Today we head south for the Negele area through the interesting, dry Genale Valley. Negele is one of Ethiopia’s great endemic hotspots, and this entire area is brimming with great birds such as Brown Snake Eagle, Northern Brownbul, Yellowbreasted Apalis, Grey Tit-Flycatcher, Red-and-yellow Barbet, Upcher’s Warbler, Redcapped Robin-Chat, and Golden-breasted, Superb, Shelley’s, and Violet-backed Starlings. Furthermore, look for Ruspoli’s Turaco around the Genale River. Overnight in Hotel or Guest House in Negele.

Day 12 - Birding the Negele area and the Liben Plains

On this day, spend a full day in the Negele area seeking endemics and dry-land birds. We look for Archer's Lark, also known as Liben Lark. We also yield a vast number of other desirable species such as Foxy Lark, Somali Short-toed Lark, White-crowned Starling, Shelley’s Sparrow, Reichenow’s Seedeater, the incredibly localized Ethiopian endemic White-tailed Swallow, the handsome Bare-eyed Thrush, Spotted Palm Thrush, Pale Prinia, and Boran Cisticola. Interesting ground birds like Temminck’s Courser, White-bellied Bustard, and Black-faced Sandgrouse might also be encountered. Overnight in Hotel or Guest House in Negele.

Day 13 - Drive to Yabello

In the morning, drive to Yabello expecting to see new birds to our burgeoning list, such as Gabar Goshawk, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, and Grey Kestrel, as well as Pearl-spotted Owlet, Blackthroated Barbet, D’Arnaud’s Barbet, and Nubian Woodpecker. We encounter Stresemann’s Bushcrow. Among others, we might encounter Banded Parisoma, Scaly Chatterer, Acacia Tit, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, Hunter’s Sunbird, the striking Magpie Starling, Juba Weaver, White-bellied Canary, Golden-breasted Bunting, the beautifully colored Purple Grenadier, and Grey-capped as well as Black-capped Social Weavers. Overnight in Yabello Motel.

Day 14 - Birding the Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary

On this day, we’ll look for tons of other birds, such as Somali Courser, Somali Fiscal, Taita Fiscal, Short-tailed Lark, and Red-naped Bushshrike, and also for many less range-restricted species like Speke’s Weaver, Black-faced Waxbill, Black-chested Snake Eagle, Eurasian Hobby, Black Cuckoo, and Steel-blue and Strawtailed Whydahs. We will also head to an area to look for the localized endemic Salvadori’s  Seedeater. As always throughout this epic tour, we should stumble across a plethora of Eurasian migrants, which could include warblers, buntings, and many others. Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary also contains the improbably long-necked Gerenuk, an antelope that feeds high up in trees and  bushes while standing on its hind legs. A night drive might yield yet another mammalian treat, the Somali Bushbaby. Overnight in Yabello Motel

Day 15 - Drive to Hawassa

In the morning, drive to Hawassa to encounter incredible plethora of Hamerkop, Marabou Stork, and Great White Pelicans. On the lake we may find our second pelican species, Pink-backed Pelican, and migrant Lesser Black-backed Gulls. We also look for woodland birds here, such as both Eurasian and Red-throated Wrynecks, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Blue-headed Coucal, Red-faced Cisticola, Red-headed Weaver, the beautiful white form of African Paradise Flycatcher, Northern White-faced Owl, and others. Overnight in Haile Resort.

Day 16 - Drive to Wondo Genet

In the early morning, drive to the hot springs of Wondo Genet. En route, encounter White-winged Black Tit, Grey-backed Fiscal, and migrant Common Nightingale. In Wendo Genet forest, look for awesome forest and woodland birds such as Yellow-fronted Parrot, Banded Barbet, Black-winged Lovebird, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Ethiopian Boubou, Brown Woodland Warbler, Narina Trogon, and Scaly-throated Honeyguide, the massive Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, dainty Mountain Wagtail, and the beautiful Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike. After visit, drive to back to Hawassa. Overnight in Haile Resort.

Day 17 - Flight back to Addis – End of the trip

After break fast visit the Fish Market at the shore of lake Hawassa, then drive back to Addis Ababa. In the late afternoon, you will have leisure and shopping time. In the evening, farewell traditional dinner in one of the best restaurants in Addis followed by folkloric dance of different Ethiopian nations. Then transfer to your destination. End of the trip.


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17 Days Bird Watching Tour to Ethiopia

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17 Days Bird Watching Tour to Ethiopia