25 Day ‘Land of Origins’ Birding Tour
Come with us on this incredible and extensive birding tour as we discover the charm of the ‘Land of Origins’
Ethiopia is like nowhere else on the planet, a beautiful country blessed with some of Africa’s most soulful peoples, a peerless history, fabulous wildlife and truly exceptional birdlife
Let us take you to Ethiopia’s best birding locations within just under a month on this world-class birding tour. You will get to encounter the very best of Ethiopia’s birdlife, along with its unique mammals and other flora and fauna. A once in a lifetime birding experience that will leave your heart in the ‘Land of Origins’ 📸 🦜 🇪🇹
Brief Itinerary for this Ethiopia Birdwatching Tour
Day 1 – Sululta Plains & Debre Libanos
On your first day of this epic birding tour, we’ll head to the Sululta Plains just north of Addis Ababa. These high-altitude plateau grasslands provide fantastic birding, where we’ll likely see species such as the endangered White-backed Vulture, African Hobby, African Citril, Mountain Thrush, Tacazze Sunbird, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Secretarybird, Erckel’s Francolin, Red-chested Swallow, Cape Crow, Pectoral-patch Cisticola and African Quailfinch to name a few.
In the afternoon, we’ll be birding near Debre Libanos, an old monastery situated on a stunning mountain escarpment with some breath-taking views! Here we will likely find the Fan-tailed Raven, Stout Cisticola, Ethiopia Boubou, Variable Sunbird, Ruppell’s Robin-chat, Yellow-bellied Waxbill and three endemics White-winged Cliff-chat, Ruppell’s Black Chat and White-billed Starling. It’s also a good place to find Lammergeiers soaring above, and if we’re lucky a large troop of Gelada Baboons.
Day 2 & 3 – Jemma Valley & Melka Jebdu
On Day 2, we’ll be birding around the stunning Jemma River Valley. Here on the rocky valley rim, we will be looking for a number of species but the main agenda will be to find the elusive and well sought-after endemic Ankober Serin, occurring only along the spectacular Ankober escarpment. The next day we’ll be visiting Melka Jebdu to look for species such as Erckel’s Francolin, Crested Francolin, Speckled Pigeon, White-collared Pigeon, Dusky Turtle Dove, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Eastern Plantain-eater, Abyssinian Nightjar, African Grey Hornbill, Yellow-breasted Barbet, Shining Sunbird to name a few!
Day 4, 5 & 6 – Awash National Park
Over the next three days, we’ll be birding in Awash National Park. Famous for being one of the best big mammal viewing parks in Ethiopia including Besia Oryx, Hippo, Aardvark, Black-and-white Colobus Monkey and the charismatic Green Monkey, Hamadryas Baboon, Bat-eared Fox, Caracal, Black-backed Jackal, Leopard, Cheetah, Lion. It is also home to than 450 species of birds – so get your binoculars ready! 😊
Day 7 & 8 – Lake Lagano
On our seventh and eighth day of the tour, we’ll be visiting Lake Lagano for some exceptional birding. Here we’ll be looking for highlight species such as the Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, White-rumped Babbler, Hemprich’s Hornbill, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Northern White-faced Owl to name a few, along with many wetland species.
Day 9 & 10 – Bale Mountains National Park
Over the next couple of days, we’ll spend our time birding at the world-famous and simply breath-taking Bale Mountains. Famous for incredible scenery and a thriving population of the endangered and unique Ethiopian Wolf, these mountains are worth the hype. The park also holds almost 300 bird species, 6 of which are endemic species. Highlights include: Spot-breasted Lapwing, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Abyssinian Longclaw, Abyssinian Catbird, Black-headed Siskin, Ethiopian Siskin, Abyssinian Owl, African Wood Owl, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Abyssinian Oriole and Abyssinian Crimsonwing to name a few!
Day 11 & 12 – Negele & Arero Forest
South of the Bale Mountains, in the region of the southern Ethiopian town of Negele, is where you stand a very good chance of seeing one of Ethiopia’s prettiest endemic bird species, the Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco. We’ll also be on the lookout for species such as Bare-eyed Thrush, Boran Cisticola, Tiny Cisticola, Salvadori’s Seedeater, Banded Parisoma, Liben Lark (very rare), Pygmy Batis, Somali Short-toed Lark, White-crowned Starling, Shelley’s Sparrow, Scaly Chatterer, Acacia Tit, Pringle’s Puffback and Bristle-crowned Starling to name a few! A well-worth visit for any birder visiting Ethiopia.
Day 13, 14 & 15 – Yabelo Wildlife Sanctuary
Over the next three days, you’ll be treated to some of the best birding the south can offer. Beautiful landscapes and beautiful birds is probable;y the best way to describe this region. Birding highlights include the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Stresemann’s Bushcrow, Somali Ostrich, White-tailed Swallow, Short-tailed Lark, Pringle‟s Puff-back, Northern Grey Tit, Abyssinian Grosbeak Canary, Vulturine Guineafowl, Somali Sparrow, Black-capped Social Weaver, Donaldson-Smith Nightjar, Star-spotted Nightjar, Grey-headed Social Weaver and Magpie Starling to name a few.
Day 16 & 17 – Jinka region & Mago National Park
The next couple of days will see you visit the wonderful region of Jika and the rolling grasslands of Mago National Park. Situated in the Omo Valley, the park is perhaps most famous as a stop along the way to the famous resident Mursi tribe. The bare-breasted women with giant lip plates and the ritually scarred men of this tribe are an iconic feature of the Lower Omo Valley and draw thousands of would-be anthropologists from all around the world.
Big mammal numbers seem to be climbing in the region after some heavy poaching, but what is most spectacular, is the birdlife with just shy of 180 species. Just some of the highlights are the Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Black-bellied Bustard, White-cheeked Turaco, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Black Cuckoo, Donaldson-Smith’s Nightjar, Woolly-necked Stork, African Harrier-Hawk, Lappet-faced Vulture, Bateleur, Lappet-faced Vultur, Martial Eagle, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Woodland Kingfisher, Striped Kingfisher, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Little Bee-eater, White-throated Bee-eater, Madagascar bee-eater, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, African Black-headed Oriole, White Helmetshrike, D’Arnaud’s Barbet, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Black-billed Barbet and Double-toothed Barbet 😊
Day 18 & 19 – Turmi region
Going further south, we’ll get to Turmi situated in the Lower Omo Valley, where we’ll be spending the next couple of days. This vast, scenic valley is now most famous for its staggering cultural diversity. Over a dozen distinctive ethnic groups exist here, many of whom live isolated from the modern world. This is largely due to the remoteness and prior near inaccessibility of the area, forming a natural barrier to modernization and the detribalization of the Omo Valley. The Lower Omo Valley is also famous for its significant anthropological discoveries, including hominid remains of several distinctive species, going back as far as four million years, as well as the earliest known skeletons of our own species (nearly 200,000 years old).
To top it all off, it’s also a brilliant region for birding with particular highlights including the Orange-bellied Parrot, Bruce’s Green Pigeons, Abyssinian Roller, Lilac-breasted Roller. Greater Blue-eared Starling, Superb Starling, Rüppell’s Long-tailed Starling, Magpie Starling, Shelley’s Starling, Red-billed Oxpecker, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Streaky Seedeater, Purple Grenadiers, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Green-winged Pytilias, Red-billed Firefinch to name a few. 😊
Day 20 & 21 – Lake Chamo, Lake Abaya & Nechisar National Park
The next day, we’ll go exploring two of Ethiopia’s largest and arguably most beautiful lakes, Lake Abaya and Lake Chamo. Home to a huge abundance of birdlife, along with hippos and very large Nile Crocodiles – largest specimen recorded was 18 feet 7 inches long! It’s certainly worth the visit. Bird species to look forward to are the Yellow-billed Stork, Saddle-billed Stork, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Grey Crowned Crane, Goliath Heron, White-fronted Black Chat, African Cuckoo-hawk, Bat Hawk, Scissor-tailed Kite to name a few.
Then on Day 21, we’ll go to Nechisar National Park. This outstanding beauty of the neck of land between the two lakes has earned it the name, ‘Bridge of Heaven’. The equally poetic Arba Minch – meaning ‘forty springs’ – takes its name from the bubbling streams which spring up amid the undergrowth of the luxuriant groundwater forest that covers the flats beneath the town. This alluring area is considered one of Ethiopia’s last great surviving wilderness. Birds of the park include the Red-billed Hornbill, Grey Hornbill, African Fish Eagle, Kori Bustard, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Thick-billed raven, Wattled ibis, Nechisar Nightjar, African Nightjar, Lesser Flamingo, Pallid Harrier, African Darter, Pink-backed Pelican, Great White Pelican, Hammerkop, Osprey, European Honey-buzzard, Lappet-faced Vulture, White-headed Vulture, Brown Snake-Eagle, Bat Hawk, Blue-naped Mousebird, Narina Trogon, Half-collared Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Broad-billed Roller, Rufous-crowned Roller, Red-fronted Tinker Bird, Red-and-yellow Barbet among others!
Day 22, 23, 24 & 25 – Lake Awasa, Gibe Gorge & departure to Addis Abba
On Day 22, you’ll travel west of the Bale Mountains to get to the beautiful Lake Awasa. Here you’ll be greeted by traditional fishing boats, large hippo pods and huge flocks of Great White Pelicans. You’ll also come across species such, African Pygmy Kingfisher, African Jacana, Marabou Stork, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, White-browed Robin-chat, Western-banded Snake-eagle, Hottentot Teal, Black Crake, African Fish-eagle, Hadada Ibis, Purple Heron, Common Sandpiper, White-backed Duck, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Slender-billed Starling, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Hooded Vulture to name a few!
Then on Day 24, we’ll be birding around the beautiful Gibe Gorge, where we stand a good chance of seeing Egyptian Goose, Helmeted Guineafowl Number, Speckled Pigeon, Red-eyed Dove Number, Vinaceous Dove, Laughing Dove, Dideric Cuckoo, Egyptian Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Bateleur, African Grey Hornbill, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Black-billed Barbet, Western Black-headed Batis , Ethiopian Boubou, Fan-tailed Raven Number observed:1 Green-backed Camaroptera, Red-headed Weaver among others.
On our last and final day, we’ll be slowly making our way back to Addis Abba, making several birding stop-overs along the way 😊
*Black Crowned Crane
*Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
*Greater blue-eared Starling
Key Bird Species
Popular species on this tour: Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Ethiopian Siskin, Ruspoli’s Turaco, Black Crowned Crane, Egyptian Plover
Below is a list of species likely to be encountered on this tour:
Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, White-rumped Babbler, Hemprich’s Hornbill, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Northern White-faced Owl, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Abyssinian Longclaw, Abyssinian Catbird, Black-headed Siskin, Ethiopian Siskin, Abyssinian Owl, African Wood Owl, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Abyssinian Oriole, Abyssinian Crimsonwing, African Pygmy Kingfisher, African Jacana, Marabou Stork, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, White-browed Robin-chat, Western-banded Snake-eagle, Hottentot Teal, Black Crake, African Fish-eagle, Hadada Ibis, Purple Heron, Common Sandpiper, White-backed Duck, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Slender-billed Starling, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Hooded Vulture, Bare-eyed Thrush, Boran Cisticola, Tiny Cisticola, Salvadori’s Seedeater, Banded Parisoma, Liben Lark (very rare), Pygmy Batis, Somali Short-toed Lark, White-crowned Starling, Shelley’s Sparrow, Scaly Chatterer, Acacia Tit, Pringle’s Puffback and Bristle-crowned Starling, Stresemann’s Bushcrow, Somali Ostrich, White-tailed Swallow, Short-tailed Lark, Pringle‟s Puff-back, Northern Grey Tit, Abyssinian Grosbeak Canary, Vulturine Guineafowl, Somali Sparrow, Black-capped Social Weaver, Donaldson-Smith Nightjar, Star-spotted Nightjar, Grey-headed Social Weaver and Magpie Starling!
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