Birding Tours

Ethiopia is one of the great birding destinations for both the serious and recreational ornithologists. Over 850 species of birds, many extremely beautiful and exotic, reside in Ethiopia.  Of these, 16 are endemic to Ethiopia, 14 other species are shared only with Eritrea. There are 214 species of pal arctic migrants in Ethiopia; 45 of these have been found in the country during the summer months.  A large number of species have breeding populations in Ethiopia.

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Tour Code: AT 029
Program: Birding Tour
Duration:  8 Days & 7 Nights
Transportation: Surface drive 

Day 01  Addis Ababa.

Arrive Addis Ababa and meet at Bole international air port and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon city tour you will visit either the Ethnographic Museum or the National Museum, home of the 3.18 million year old skeleton "Lucy." And Merkato-the largest open air market in East Africa. Overnight hotel

Day 02  Addis Ababa - Awash National Park.

Drive to Awash National Park.  Stop for birding at the crater lakes near Debre Zeit and at Lake Beseka. Overnight Hotel.  

Day 03  Awash National Park.

Birding in Awash National Park, located in the Great Rift Valley.  Many species of birds are found here: African Orange-bellied Parrots, Bustards, Weavers, Hoopoe, Yellow-throated Serine, Red-fronted Barbet, Pygmy Batis, Lesser-striped Swallow, and the House Martin.  The park also boasts a variety of mammals: the Anubis Baboon, Colobus Monkey, Black-backed Jackal, Bat-eared Fox, Egyptian Mongoose, Warthog, Beisa Oryx, Soemmering’s Gazelle, Lesser Kudu, Salt’s Dik-dik, etc. Overnight Hotel.

Day 04  Awash National Park - Langano.

Drive to Langano via Mojo. En route, birding at Lake Ziway, truly a birder's paradise and at Koka Dam. Spot bird species such as; the African Pygmy Goose, Black-billed Woodhoopoe, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Northern Black Tit, Little Weaver, etc.  Later we'll bird at Abiyata—Shalla  National Park. Over 300 species can be seen around Lake Abiyata, such as: Yellow Wagtails, Ibis, Cormorant, Pelicans, Ducks, Egrets, Herons, Flamingos, Storks, Swallows, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Rollers, Wheatear, African Marsh Harrier, etc. Overnight Lodge.

Day 05  Langano - Bale Mountains.

Drive to the Bale Mountains National Park to spot some of the endemics such as Blue-winged Goose, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Abyssinian Longclaw, Wattled Ibis, Black-headed Siskin, Rouget’s Rail, Banded Barbet and other species.Overnight Hotel.  

Day 06  Bale Mountains - Wondo Genet.

Drive to Wondo Genet, a green and lush area, inhabited with numerous Grivet Monkeys, Colobus Monkeys, and many species of birds. Its also an excellent place with plenty of fresh fruit trees and hot springs.Overnight Hotel

Day 07  Wondo Genet - Awassa.

En route to Awassa spot numerous species: Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill, Abysinnian Ground Hornbill, Roget's Rail, Marabou Stork, Black and White Egrets, African Pygmy Goose, Spur-winged Goose, Swallows, Ibis, African Fish Egret, Woodland Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, etc.Overnight hotel.

Day 08  Awassa - Langano - Addis Ababa.  

Return to Addis, birding along the Great Rift Valley looking for additional species. Farewell dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant featuring dancers and musicians representing some of the country's many ethnic groups.

Tour Code: AT 030
Program: Birding Tour
Duration:  11 Days & 10 Nights
Transportation: Surface drive 

Day 01  Addis Ababa.

Arrive Addis Ababa, and check into hotel.  After lunch drive for Geferssa Reservoir, about 20 kilometers to the west, to see the Blue-winged Goose, Black-headed Siskin, Abyssinian Long Claw and Wattled Ibis. Return to Addis Ababa in the early evening.Overnight Hotel.

Day 02  Addis Ababa - Langano.  

Drive to Langano with birding stops at Koka Dam, the Awash River, and Lake Ziway. Water birds: African Pygmy geese, Yellow-billed storks, Collared Pratincole, Lesser Jacana, African Jacana, White Pelicans, Fish Eagles, and crowned and common cranes are seen here in impressive numbers. Overnight Hotel

Day 03 Langano - Bale Mountains.

Drive to the Bale Mountains National Park to spot some of the endemics such as Blue-winged Goose, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Abyssinian Longclaw, Wattled Ibis, Black-headed Siskin, Rouget’s Rail, Banded Barbet and other species.Overnight Hotel.

Day 04   Bale Mountains.  

Sport Simien Red Wolves and other endemic mammals. Begin trekking into the Park spotting birds such as Chestnut-naped Francolin, Ground Thrush (of the distinctive, endemic race Simensis), the secretive Abyssinian Ground-thrush, vocal Abyssinian Catbird, and the endemic White-backed Black-Tit in the high moorlands. If we are very fortunate, we will see a pair of the endangered Wattled Crane in the moist grasslands or spot a Cape Eagle-Owl sunning on a rocky perch. We will also search for Moorland Francolin, the endemic Spot-breasted Lapwing, Thekla Lark,  Red-breasted Wheatear and dumpy Moorland Chats.Overnight Camping.

Day 05   Bale Mountains - Negele.  

Drive to Negelle via Harena Forest. En route look for the Turaco and outstanding Golden-breasted Starling.  We will also seek the endemic Sidamo Lark and the Somali Short-toed Lark and possibly Heuglin’s Bustard on the Negele Plains. The Sidamo lark is quite secretive and like many Ethiopian endemics inhabits a very small area. Overnight Hotel.

Day 06   Negele - Bogol Myno.   

Take a long drive to a little known area of great importance because of the wealth of endemic plants. We will be searching for the Degodi Lark,  Pygmy Batis, Short-billed Crombec, and Somali Crombec. Overnight Camping.

Day 07   Bogol Myno - Negele.  

Spend the morning seeking the Degodi Lark if not yet sighted.  We'll also search for the White-winged Dove and Juba Weaver, two prized sightings in the area, plus Black-faced Sandgrouse, Chestnut-headed Sparrow-lark, and the Scaly Chatterer.  Return to Negele, birding along the way. Overnight Hotel.

Day 08   Negele - Yabelo.  

Search for the endemic White-tailed Swallow and Stresemann’s Bushcrow.   You should spot the Swallow threading its way through the termite chimneys and groups of Bushcrows in the thorn bushes.  For the entire day explore the Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve; species to look for include: Somalian Ostrich, Secretary Bird, Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture, Martial Eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, African Pygmy Falcon, Vulturine Guineafowl, Kori Bustard, Donaldson Smith’s Nightjar, Star-spotted Nightjar, Yellow-billed Hornbill, Lilac-breasted Roller, Rufous-crowned Roller, D’Arnaud’s Barbet, Red and Yellow Barbet, Short-tailed Lark, Northern Grey Tit, Shelley’s and White-crowned Starlings, Abyssinian Grosbeak Canary, Somali Sparrow, Black-capped Social Weaver, Grey-headed Silverbill, Taita Fiscal, and Somali Golden-breasted Bunting.  Other possibilities include: Coqui Francolin, Somali Courser, African Bare-eyed Thrush, Little Spotted Woodpecker, Pringle’s Puffback, Little Tawny Pipit, Fawn-coloured Lark.  Mammals that inhabit the park include: Burchell’s Zebra, Aardvark, Grant’s Gazelle, Thompson’s Gazelle, and Lesser-spotted Genet. Overnight Motel.

Day 09   Yabelo.  

Continue birding in the Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve.Overnight Motel.

Day 10   Yabelo - Awassa.  

Depart for Awassa, driving through the Yirga Alem coffee plantations and making occasional stops for birding. Overnight Hotel.

Day 11   Awassa - Addis Ababa

Return to Addis, birding along the Great Rift Valley looking for additional species. Farewell dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant featuring dancers and musicians representing some of the country's many ethnic groups.

When to Visit:

The rains are more frequent in June, July, and August, but most roads are passable year round.  Accessibility depends on your birding destinations.