Bird watching in Ethiopia
Bird watching is the most pleasant and enjoyable activity in Ethiopia. Bird watchers observe, study and classify birds in their natural habitats. More than 860 species of birds (9.5% of the world's and 39% of Africa's bird species) both residents and migrants were recorded from lowlands, highlands including afro alpine environments and wetlands of Ethiopia. The country's birds are grouped in 24 Orders and 87 Families. As the checklist is being reviewed currently, the total for the country could be greater.
There are probably 665 resident species, occurring in Ethiopia as well as in other geographical areas of Africa (e.g. Sacred Ibis), Arabia, and occasionally in other areas of Asia and/or Europe (Red-ramped Swallow). Moreover, there are 119 Pale arctic Migrants - birds in Asia and/or Europe spending the Northern winter in Ethiopia (e.g. Shoveler), 47 Intra-African Migrants - leaving Ethiopia for part of the year and spent the rest of the year in other areas of Africa (e.g. Abdim’s Stork) and 21 Passage Pale arctic Migrants - breed in Europe and/or Asia and winter in Africa, only passing through Ethiopia to its wintering grounds (e.g. European Bee-eater).
Avian diversity is very high in Ethiopia. Of the total former 29 endemic species (3.4 percent of the total for the country), 16 are exclusively restricted to the geographical boundary of Ethiopia and 13 are shared with Eritrea. Ethiopia is also well known for having many near endemic and range restricted species. The diversity and abundance of birds in the country have power to attract interest even the non-birders.
There are many interesting spots which could be of curiosity to researchers and bird watchers, and these include over 27 wetland areas such as , (Gefersa Reservoir, Abjata-Shalla Lakes National Park, Lake Zeway, Lake Awassa, Lake Chamo, Lake Abaya, Lake Chitu, Chalaklaka, Koka Dam, Lake Langano, Lake Ardibu, Borkena, Lake Hareket, Boyo, Gambela area wetlands, Lake Tana and nearby wetlands, Beseka, Green Lake, Lake Ashenge, and Akaki Wetlands), many of the National Parks (Awash NP, Omo NP,
Nech Sar NP, Bale Mountains NP, Yangudi-Rasa NP, and Semien Mountains NP) and Wildlife Sanctuaries and Reserves, State Forest areas, other nature and landscapes, like Jibat Montane Forest, Debre Libanos Monastery, Wendo Genet, Bishangari, Yabello, Negele, Sof Omar, Lemi and Jimma Valley, Alem Ketema, Ankober, Sululta Plains, southwest forest (Bonga, Mizan Teferi, Tepi and Metu areas), Menagesha-Suba Forest, Gibe Gorge, Babille Elephant Sanctuary and Wabi Shebele Valley. Ethiopia, therefore, is truly an ornithological paradise, that never disappoints bird lovers that traveled thousands of kilometers.