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Ethiopia Birding Tour - 14 Days

Ethiopia Birding Tour

Birdwatching Tour in Ethiopia

This 14-day Ethiopia Birding tour is leisurely paced available on request which will take you to the ‘Roof of Africa’, is a rugged and ancient land that is home to around 16 endemic and more than 15 near-endemic bird species (many shared with Eritrea, and the precise number depending on which taxonomic treatments you prefer and on whether or not one believes that ‘Nechisar Nightjar’, known only from a wing, is valid or not).

Ethiopia is one of the most fascinating African countries for birding, with new and exciting discoveries being made every year, and is surely also one of the most enjoyable, with its wonderful light, diverse habitats, amazing scenery, and very rich and often colorful avifauna.

Indeed Ethiopia is an absolutely ‘core’ birding destination for anyone wanting to see the birds of Africa, having two major advantages over many other destinations on the continent.

In the first place it has a much greater concentration of regional specialties than almost any other part of Africa (only South Africa and Tanzania offer serious competition in this regard), and in the second place birding here is simply wonderful. Habitats are mostly open and there is no need to stay in the vehicles anywhere on the tour, so one can walk at will and follow any of the more secretive species.

Our Ethiopia birding tour is the most comprehensive bird tour of Ethiopia available. The primary aim of this special tour is to find the complete set of the country’s endemic bird species. The trip starts from the capital, Addis Ababa, spotting the endemic Wattled Ibis. In Addis Ababa, thick-billed raven, White-collared Pigeon, the beautiful Abyssinian Longclaw, and more can also be seen. 211km from Addis is Awash National Park. The park preserves Beisa oryx, Kudu, Soemmerring's gazelle, Swayne’s hartebeest, Olive and hamadryas baboons, colobus, and grivet monkeys, and Dik-dik.

This Ethiopia Birdwatching tour will also take us to the hot springs of Doho. We will also encounter endemic birds such as Blue-winged Goose, Spot-breasted lapwing, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Abyssinian longclaw, Abyssinian catbird, and Black-headed Siskin. Ethiopian Wolf, Mountain Nyala, Bale Monkey, Menelik’s Bushbuck, and Starck’s Hare can also be seen in Bale Mountain.

The enigmatic Stresemann’s bush crow and glistening White-tailed swallow are seen in Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary.  Birding at the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley lakes is also part of this package. 

Ethiopia Birding Tour Highlight Include:

  • Awash National Park: home to a diverse range of plains wildlife and offers tremendous birdwatching opportunities, with over 400 species recorded here.
  • Bale Mountains National Park: one of Ethiopia's most beautiful wilderness destinations. A verdant, jungle environment packed with endemic wildlife, staggering vistas, boutique lodges, and awesome hiking routes. Rising over 4,000 meters, the Afro-Alpine plateau of the Bale Mountains is the highest mountainous area in southern Ethiopia.
  • Lake Langano: one of a series running south down the Ethiopian Rift Valley and then on into Kenya. The forests around are mainly podocarpus and wild fig trees, full of Colobus Monkeys and over 300 species of birds, 7 of which are endemic to Ethiopia. There are also numerous wild mammals recorded, although in low populations due to seasonal traditional hunting of the forest by local communities.
  • Abijatta Shalla National Park: Over 400 species have been recorded from the park. The park is at one of the narrowest parts of the Great Rift Valley, a major flyway for both Palearctic and African migrants, particularly raptors, flamingos, and other waterbirds.
Alternative Tour Name: Birding in Ethiopia
Day 1
Day 1 - Arrival in Addis Ababa and touring

The tour starts with a pick up from the airport/hotel and then, drive up to the Entoto Mountains, the best location to observe the panoramic view of the capital. It is also a historical place where Menelik II resided and built his palace.

It is notable as the location of a number of celebrated churches, including Saint Raguel and Saint Mary (Maryam Church). After a relaxed lunch, you will have Birding in the ground of Ghion Hotel and find wide enchanting gardens filled with indigenous flora and a stunning collection of birds including the endemic Wattled Ibis.

Overnight stay at Swiss Inn Nexus Hotel or similar, Addis Ababa.

Day 2
Day 2 - Excursion to Debre Libanos

Before reaching Debre Libanos, we cross the famed Sululta Plains, which are a brilliant place to find beautiful Spot-breasted Lapwing, the taxonomically strange Blue-winged Goose, and other endemics. We also hope to find our first gelada baboon (nicknamed bleeding-heart baboon) – these ferocious-looking but vegetarian baboons have huge vocabularies and a complex social system.

We’ll eventually reach our well-placed accommodation, from where we will look for Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Bearded Vulture, and other raptors as they gracefully sail by, as well as Little Rock Thrush and many other mountain birds.

Overnight stay at Swiss Inn Nexus Hotel or similar, Addis Ababa.

Day 3
Day 3 - Transfer to Awash National Park

Morning, we will drive to Awash National Park, birding the amazing Afar Plains, where a rich diversity of birds hopefully will make their appearance. We could see Abdim’s Stork, Yellow-necked Francolin, Kori Bustard, Black-headed Lapwing (arguably the most spectacular plover species), Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Red-bellied Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Blue-naped Mousebird, Olive Bee-eater, Abyssinian Roller, Black-billed Wood Hoopoe, Abyssinian and Black Scimitar Bills, various Hornbill species including

Abyssinian Ground and Von-der-Decken’s, Black-throated and Yellow-breasted Barbets, Greater Honeyguide, 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.

In the late afternoon, we will arrive at Doho Lodge.

Overnight stay at Awash Falls Lodge, Awash National Park.

Day 4
Day 4 - Birding Awash National Park

Awash is one of Ethiopia’s premier national parks, which has a rich diversity of birds as well as mammals such as Golden Jackal, Caracal but rare chance, hyena cave for spotted hyena, Beisa Oryx, and Soemmerring's Gazelle.

We’ll look for African Swallow-tailed Kite, a host of Bustards including Arabian, Buff-crested, Hartlaub’s, Black-bellied, and White-bellied, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, and tons more.

During our time here we also hope to find Somali Ostrich, African Collared Dove, Singing Bush Lark, Gillett’s Lark, Chestnut-backed and Chestnut-headed Sparrow-Larks, 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, Southern Grey Shrike, 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. As always, raptor-watching will be spectacular – we can easily find 40-50 species on our three-week tour, and many of these are in Awash National Park.

Overnight stay at Awash Falls Lodge, Awash National park.

Day 5
Day 5 - Birding around the Ali Dege Plains

We continue birding Doho lodge area and drive to the Ali Dege Plains. We will encounter Gravy Zebra, Gerenuk, and Soemmering’s Gazelle.

There is also a rare chance to see Wild ass. Here you will have a game drive and scan the vast plain for Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk, Beisa Oryx, Simmering Gazelle, Grant’s Gazelle, Somali Ostrich and for some rare birds. Then drive to Doha Lodge for lunch and enjoy the natural hot spring under the vast palm trees.

Overnight stay at Doho Lodge, Awash National park.

Day 6
Day 6 - Drive to Bale Mountains National park

We drive to Dinsho, which is the gateway to the fabled Bale Mountains, which reach an altitude of around 4 500 meters (more than 14 000 feet). Here we spend the next two days birding varied habitats for such sought-after species as Abyssinian Owl, Cape (Mackinder’s) Eagle-Owl (the most massive of three subspecies), African Wood Owl, Wattled Ibis, Chestnut-naped Francolin, 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 are mountain nyala, klipspringer, Menelik’s bushbuck, Bohor reedbuck, and others.

The days in this area are also a botanical treat, with vegetation ranging from Hagenia-dominated forest to giant Erica woods to high-altitude moorlands, sometimes with fabulous giant lobelias. In the adjacent Harenna Forest, it might be possible to spot some star birds like Brown Parisoma, Ayers’s Hawk-Eagle, African Emerald Cuckoo, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Rüppell’s Robin-Chat, White-browed Robin-Chat, Abyssinian Crimsonwing, and Slender-billed Starling, or even a flock of migrating European Bee-eaters.

Overnight stay in Wabe Shebelle Hotel, Goba. Extra USD 300.00 per pax-per night to upgrade to the luxury Bale Mountain Lodge.

Day 7
Day 7 - Drive to the Sanetti Plateau

As we leave, we soon reach nice stands of Juniper-Hagenia forest that is home to the endemic Abyssinian Woodpecker, White-backed Black Tit, Abyssinian Catbird, and Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, plus Abyssinian Ground Thrush. Driving further, stands of Hypericum trees host the endemic griseiventris subspecies of Brown Parisoma. Moorland and Chestnut-naped Francolins and Cinnamon Bracken Warbler frequent dense shrubbery, and Ethiopian Cisticola prefer the more open areas.

Then we will be driving on Africa’s highest road, passing close to the summit of Ethiopia’s second-highest mountain. Here on the Sanetti Plateau, an island of tundra in the tropics, the habitat is classified as “Afro-alpine moorland”, characterized by a fascinating range of unique plants, including giant lobelias, which tower like monolithic giants over the rich tussock grasslands, and extensive cushions of yellow everlasting flowers. The grasslands are estimated to support incredible biomass of 8,800 pounds of rodents per hectare. Amazing! This obviously attracts a rich array of raptors, and we should see 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 resident, the Ethiopian wolf, crowned with the unenviable title of “the world’s rarest canid.” Watching these vibrantly colored animals, most closely related to the European Timber Wolf, exhibiting their hunting prowess while bouncing on giant mole-rats (another endemic to the Sanetti Plateau) is surely among Africa’s greatest wildlife experiences.

The plateau also holds the only 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, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Wattled Crane, Thekla Lark, migratory flocks of Red-throated Pipit, Abyssinian Longclaw, Red-breasted Wheatear,the dumpy Moorland Chat, and flocks of the endemic Black-headed Siskins.

Overnight stay in Wabe Shebelle Hotel, Goba. Extra USD 300.00 per pax-per night to upgrade to the luxury Bale Mountain Lodge.

Day 8
Day 8 - Harenna Forest

To the south of the Park lies a 1200m (3700 ft) escarpment, below which is one of the largest and most extensive forests remaining in Ethiopia, the Harenna Forest.

The slope of the southern escarpment falls rapidly from the tree line at 3200m to around 2000m within a distance of only 8 km, producing a rapid and spectacular change in landscape, habitat, and species composition. The Bale Mountain Lodge is located beside a clear mountain stream, within a natural forest clearing beneath the escarpment, and enjoys breathtaking views of the mountains and the surrounding forest. Here rare Bale Monkeys inhabit the trees and the birdlife is spectacular.

Wild coffee is harvested to the south of the lodge and delicious Bale honey is obtained by the local people from hives placed high within the canopy. Here is also found 3% of Africa’s remaining bamboo forest. Harenna is truly a magical place in which to relax or to explore.

Overnight stay in Wabe Shebelle Hotel, Goba. Extra USD 300.00 per pax-per night to upgrade to the luxury Bale Mountain Lodge.

Day 9
Day 9 - Bale Mountains National Park - Negele Borena

Drive to Negeli 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 stay at Mareg guest house, Negele Borena.

Day 10
Day 10 - Negele Borena - Yabello

Drive along another long and seldom-traveled road, which takes you near to the Kenya border and finally to the Yabello region, home to two of Ethiopia’s most sought-after endemic birds, both listed as globally threatened: the enigmatic Stresemann’s bush crow and glistening White-tailed swallow.

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 stay at Yabello motel, Yabello.

Day 11
Day 11 - Yabello –Lake Hawassa

Morning, drive to Lake Hawassa, which is on the edge of Abaro Mountains and Rift valley, rich with the habitat of edge effect species, includes Spotted Creeper, Banded Barbet, Black-winged Lovebird, Grey-backed Fiscal, Double-toothed Barbet, Beautiful Sunbird, woodland and Pygmy Kingfisher, Blue-headed Coucal, Abyssinian Waxbill, Red-throated Wryneck and White-rumped Babbler. Among shorebirds, African Pygmy Goose, White-backed Duck, Black Crake, Lesser and African Jacana, Goliath Heron, Purple Heron, Fulvous and White-faced whistling Ducks, Grosbeaks Weaver, Common Waxbill, Bronze Manikin, Pied and Malachite Kingfishers, Marabou Stork, Great White Pelican, Reed and Great Cormorant, Egrets, Hottentot Teal, Spur-winged Goose, Squacco Heron, Grey-headed Gull, Whiskered and White-winged Terns are some to mention.

Overnight stay at Haile Resort Hawassa or similar, Hawassa.

Day 12
Day 12 - Drive to the Great Rift Valley Lakes

On this day, we will drive to Lake Langano, where we will spend the night. We will bird this and other lakes, among them, beautiful Lake Ziway, and wetland sites of the Great Rift Valley, looking for Black Crowned Crane, Collared Pratincole,

African Snipe and several other shorebird species, various Tern species including Gull-billed, Lesser and African Jacanas, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, African Pygmy Goose, Western Marsh Harrier, and many others. Other highlights today might be Greater Spotted Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, White-headed Vulture, Clapperton’s Francolin, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, Buff-bellied Warbler, Northern Black Flycatcher, Blackstar, Black-headed and Pygmy Batises, the striking Masked Shrike, Green-winged Pytilia, and Red-fronted Warbler, as well as many others.

Overnight stay at Sabana Beach resort or similar, Langano.

Day 13
Day 13 - Langano and area

We will explore the forest around the lodge and the lake shores - here will find again good numbers of species. The endemic Yellow-fronted Parrot and the Black-Winged Lovebird are found around the lodge, also Broad-billed Roller, Narina Trogon, Red-shouldered and Emerald Cuckoos, Lemon, Blue-spotted, and Tambourine Doves, different woodpeckers, Sharpe's Starling, Double-toothed Barbet, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Red-breasted Wryneck, Masked Weavers, Beautiful Sunbird and many more.

It is home to a few mammals including the Bushbuck, Vervet and Black Colobus Monkeys, Olive Baboon and Golden-backed Jackal. Afternoon, After a relaxed Lunch, touring around Langano, visit the villages of the Oromo people, interact with locals and learn their real ways of life.

Overnight stay at Sabana Beach resort or similar, Langano.

Day 14
Day 14 - Abijatta Shalla National Park and Drive back to Addis Ababa

Over 300 species can be seen around Lake Abijata and Shalla lakes National park 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. After lunch, start driving back to Addis Ababa. The tour ends with a transfer to Bole international Airport.


Wildlife species expected see:

Endemic Birds: Blue-winged Goose, Spot-breasted lapwing, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Abyssinian longclaw, Abyssinian catbird, and Black-headed Siskin

Near-Endemic Birds: Wattled ibis, Rouget’s rail, White-collared pigeon, Abyssinian slaty flycatcher, White-backed black tit, Abyssinian black-headed oriole, Thick-billed raven, Black-winged lovebird, Banded Barbet, Gold-mantled Woodpecker, White-billed Starling.

Mammals: Ethiopian Wolf, Mountain Nyala, Bale Monkey, Menelik’s Bushbuck, Giant Molerat, and Starck’s.

What is included?

  • 13 nights Accommodations on a shared room basis as per itinerary; Extra USD 197.00 per person for Single Room Supplement;
  • Private Land Transport by an air conditioned Land Cruiser Hard tops;
  • Professional wildlife and Birding Guide;
  • From and To Airport Transfers;
  • Porter fees;
  • All fuel costs as required by itinerary;
  • All Scout and local guide Fees;
  • Bottled mineral water in the vehicle (2 ltr per day);
  • Government tax associated with the trip.

What is not included?

  • Any accommodation on day 14th;
  • All meals from lunch day 1 to dinner day 14 (OPTIONAL);
  • International Airfare;
  • Alcoholic Expenses;
  • Gratuities and Personal Natures;
  • Tips for Service Providers;
  • Anything that is not included in "What is included"

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Why should I book with FKLM Eithiopia Tours?

Eco Friendly and Socially Responsible, Ethics and Professional Conducts are Guaranteed, Trusted Track Record in the Industry, Provide Multi-Country African Travel Service, Careful Design and Presentation of Our Tour Programs, Proud member of travel industry leaders across the globe such as ETOA, ASTA, SKAL, TIES.

What are the Group sizes?

A minimum of 2 pax is needed to run this tour. The maximum group size for this tour would be 12 Pax.

Do you provide Airport Pick up/drop off?

Transfers to and from Bole International Airport are included in this tour.

Is Full board option available?

Full Board Meals can be arranged as per the request.

When is the best time for this tour?

October to March is the best month to come and have a look at various species of birds in Ethiopia.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

14 Days

Price & Availability

USD2,255 / per person
Single Supplement USD 197
This tour is operated by: FKLM Ethiopia Tours

Quick Enquiry Form

Tour Facts

  • Ethiopia
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Wildlife
  • 2 to 12 Pax
  • 14 Days
  • October to March
  • +6 Years
  • Leisurely
  • No
  • English, Germany, French, Italian
  • Bole International Airport
  • Bole International Airport