18 Days Birding Trip
Duration: 18 Days
Destination: Debrelibanos, Jemma Valley, Ankober, Awash Region, Bale Mountain National Park, Negele Region, Yabello Region, Awassa, Wendogenet, Langano
Day 01: AROUND ADDIS ABABA SIGHTSEEINGS
Birding around Addis Ababa, is the third highest-altitude capital in the world, whilst acclimatize the weather and altitude.
Gefersa reservoir is situated in the west of Addis, its grassy western edge and the way to Menagesha Suba forest as well as small valleys are good sitting for Wattled Ibis, Red-breasted Wheatear, Abyssinian Longclaw, Thick-billed Raven, White-collared Pigeon, Brown-rumped Seedeater, grey-rumped Swallow, Black-headed Siskin, Ground Scrapper Thrush, Grassland Pipit, Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, Ruppel’s Robin Chat, Tacazze Sunbird, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, and migrant bird species include Ortolan Bunting, African Snipe, African Hobby, and residents are Augur Buzzard, Hooded Vulture, White-backed Vulture, African Dusky Flycatcher, Common Fiscal, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Beglafecht Weaver, Mocking Cliff Chat, Red-cheeked Cordonbleu and Red-billed Firefinch.
Day 02: ADDIS ABABA-DEBRELIBANOS
Addis Ababa to Debre Libanos via Sululta, north of Addis undulating plateau grassland stretches on either side of the main road. Common species of open moist grassland include Blue-winged Goose, Wattled Ibis, Abyssinian Longclaw, Erlanger’s Lark, White-collared Pigeon, Red-chested Swallow, Plain Martin, Cape Rook, Red-breasted Wheatear, Moorland Chat, Ethiopian Siskin, Black-winged Plover, Spur-Winged Plover, Yellow-billed Duck, Ground Scrapper Thrush, African Stone Chat and Dusky Turtle Dove. Palearctic migrant species are Isabelline, Pied and Northern wheatears, Red-throated Pipit, Ortolan Bunting and Barn Swallows.
Among birds of prey, Lammergeyer, Tawny Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Lanner Falcon, Lappet-faced, White-backed, Hooded, Egyptian, White-headed, Griffon Vulture and Augur Buzzard.
Day 03: EXCURSSION IN DEBRELIBANOS
Debre Libanos is an Ethiopian Orthodox Monastery on the precipitous edge of the Jemma valley, built in the 13th century, destroyed during the Italian occupation, rebuilt in the 1950s by King Haile Selassie, is worth to visit too, with its historical treasury museum.
The Debre Libanos Olive-Juniper forest refuges excellent montane forest species, includes Nyanza Swift, White-winged Starling, White-winged Cliff Chat, White-backed Black Tit, White-cheeked Turaco, Ruppell’s Black Chat, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Black-winged Lovebird, Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, Abyssinian Catbird, Banded Barbet, White-rumped Babbler, Brown-rumped Seedeater, Little Rock Thrush, Erckel’s Francolin, Stout Cisticola, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Variable Sunbird, Tacazze Sunbird, Ruppell’s Robin hat, Mocking Cliff Chat, Rock Martin, Red-rumped Swallow and Paradise flycatcher.
A troop of Gelada baboons, endemic to Ethiopia, is mostly certain to be seen around Debre Libanos surroundings.
Day 04: DEBRELIBANOS-JEMMA VALLEY
The Jemma River is created a vast and spectacular valley; winding towards the upper reaches of the Blue Nile Valley, in the east of Debre Libanos is crossed by a steep pass which has become the important site for the much localized Harwood’s Francolin. General birding is also extremely good here, it include the White-throated Seedeater, Red-billed Pytilia, Fox Kestrel, Foxy Cisticola, White-winged Cliff Chat, Abyssinian Black Wheatear, Erckel’s Francolin, Long-billed Pipit, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Speckle-fronted Weaver, Village Indigobird, Black-faced Firefinch and Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver. Along Jemma river itself, Wooly-necked Stork, Goliath Heron, Senegal Thick-knee, Hamerkop, Giant Kingfisher, African Pied Wagtail, Wire-tailed Swallow and Sand Pipers. In the afternoon, continue to Gemassa Gedel (meaning broken cliff) is an important site to spot the Ankober Serin, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Moorland Chat, White-billed Starling, Lammergeyer, Augur Buzzard, Black-headed Siskin and Streaky Seedeater.
Day 05: DEBREBIRHAN-ANKOBER
Explore the Melka Ghebdu river that drain to the Awash River, in the Rift Valley, from the top view of the Ankober backdrop and Aliyu Amba village (of the Argoba Tribe) at the lower altitude landscape is important site to find the endemic Yellow-throated Seedeater, and Reichenow’s Seedeater, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver, Black Scrub Robin, Ruppell’s Weaver and Red-billed Pytilia. The stream often holds half-collared kingfisher, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Banded Barbet and Yellow-breasted Barbet to mention.
Note that Ankober has long been a site of strategic importance and was the seat of government of Emperor of Menelik II during the nineteenth century, shivers on the lip of a spectacular escarpment of the Awash Valley; while possible to stop and have a look to the palace and Museum.
Day 06: DEBREBIRHAN-AWASH REGION
Drive to Awash region situated in the centre of Great Rift Valley, whilst detour to Debre Zeit Crater lakes, includes lake Hora and Bushoftu are fill volcanic craters and have steep, rocky and often wooded sides. Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Black-winged Lovebird, Black-billed Barbet, Speckled Mousebird, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Banded Barbet, Ruppell’s and Northern Masked Weaver, Blue-breasted Bee-eater and Ruppell’s Robin Chats inhabit the acacia and fig trees along the lakes. Lake Cheleleka is a shallow ephemeral pan with a broad shoreline, and resident species include Southern Pochard, Knob-billed Duck, Red-billed Duck and White-backed Duck. Migratory species include Northern Shoveler, Black-tailed Godwit, Gull-billed Tern, Ruff, Pintail, Garganey, Common Crane, Cape Teal, Pink-backed Pelican and Great Cormorant.
Day 07: SIGHTSEEINGS IN AWASH REGION
Awash Park habitat can be categorised in to three types; the open acacia-studded grassland of the Ilala Sala plains, denser acacia thornbush, and the Awash River bank forest. Somali Fiscal, White-headed Buffalo Weaver, Rosy-patched Bush-shrike, Swallow-tailed Kite, Abyssinian Roller, Gillett’s Lark, Red-winged Lark, Pygmy Falcon, Southern Grey Shrike, Black-headed Plover, Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers, White-crested Helmetshrike, Eastern Paradise and straw-tailed Whydah, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Red-and-yellow Barbet, D’Aroud’s Barbet, Chestnut-backed and Chestnut-headed Sparrow-larks, Kori, Buff-crested, White-bellied Bustards, Somali Bunting, Ashy Cisticola, Dark and Eastern Chanting Goshawks, White-backed, Ruppell’s, Hooded, Egyptian and Lappet-faced Vultures, Lesser Spotted, Steppe and Tawny Eagles are among Awash region bird species.
Animals including Oryx, Gazelle, Warthog, lesser Kudu, Dick-dick, Vervet Monkey, Anubis and Sacred /Hammadryas/baboons could be seen.
Day 08: AWASH-BALE MOUNTAINS
Awash to Bale Mountains via Nazareth, Asella and Dinsho region, the residing sit of Blue-winged Goose, Wattled Ibis, Rouget’s Rail, Red-breasted wheatear and Ethiopian Stone Chat. Animal species are Mountain Nyala, Bohor Reedbuck, Grey Duiker and Warthog, some to mention.
Day 09: EXPLORING TO BALE MOUNTAINS
Beyond Goba is the stand of Hagenia Abyssinica and Juniper (juniperus procera) which together make up some of the most distinctive and trees of highland forest, favoured by the endemic Abyssinian Catbird, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, Black-winged Lovebird, White-cheeked Turaco and White-backed Black Tit.
The Sanatti plateau is an extraordinary landscape that the rare and endangered Ethiopian Wolf and the only known sub-Saharan breeding populations of three Palearctic species, Red-billed Chough, Ruddy Shelduck and Golden Eagle. Other endemics include the Spot-breasted Plover, Wattled Crane, Chestnut Francolin, Moorland Francolin, Black-headed Siskin, Moorland Chat and Brown Parisoma. Mammal species includes Ethiopian Wolf, Mountain Nyala, Klipspringer, Starck’s Hare and Giant Mole rat.
Day 10: BALE MOUNTAINS- NEGELE REGION
Bale Mountains to Negele is in the Genale river drainage covered by arid, camel and cattle-infested Acacia-commiphora thornbush and savannahs, with some patches of Juniper and fig trees, good for Buff-crested Bustard, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, D’Arnoud’s Barbet, Ethiopian Boubou, Rufous Chatterer, Scimitarbills, Black-billed Woodhoopoe, Sheley’s Starling, and many more.
Day 11: NEGELE REGION-LIBEN PLAINS & WADERA AREA
Today is much important to search and study the range restricted bird species, Ruspoli’s Turaco, Liben Lark, Salvadori’s Seedeater, Somali Crow, Somali Short-toed Lark and White-crowned Starling, Pectoral-patch Cisticola, Plain-backed Pipit, Temmink’s Courser, Kori Bustard.
Day 12: NEGELE-YABELLO REGION
Negele to Yabello via Melka Ghuba, Dawa-wachile region, passes through some excellent arid Acacia-commiphora country with red soil built tall termite mounds. Expect birds including Vulturine Guineafowl, Bare-eye Thrush, African White-winged Dove, Black-bellied Sunbird, Pygmy Batis and Juba Weaver, Red-napped Bush-shrike, Scaly Chatterer and Somali Crombec.
Day 13: YABELLO & MEGA REGION
Explore the Yabello-Mega region; mainly host the two much localized species, Stresemann’s Bush-crow and the White-tailed Swallow. In sparely vegetated thickets, Scrub and grass, search for Heuglin’s Courser, Foxy Lark, Tiny Cisticola, Black-capped and Grey-capped Social Weavers, Pygmy Falcon, Somali Bunting, Hunters and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds, Red-fronted and Black-throated Barbets.
Day 14: YABELLO –LAKE HAWASSA
Yabello to Lake Hawassa, 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 shore birds, 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.
Day 15: WENDOGENET
Wendo Genet spa is in some wooded hillside of the rift valley, offering birds including Yellow-fronted Parrot, Black-winged Lovebird, Half-collared Kingfisher, African Crowned Eagle, Narina Trogon, Spotted Creeper, Ethiopian Oriole, Banded and double-toothed Barbet, African Hill Babbler, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Green-backed Twinspot, Lesser Honey Guide, White-cheeked Turaco, Montane white-eye, African Firefinch, African Citril, Nyanza Swift and Black Saw-wing.
Day 16: LANGANO
Lake Langano region, particularly the western shores including Lake Abiata and Shala are situated close together dry, open acacia savannahs, inhabits species include Clapperton’s Francolin, Hemprich’s Hornbill, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Banded Barbet, Double-toothed Barbet, Black-billed Barbet, Blue-Napped Mousebird, Little Rock Thrush, Abyssinian Black Wheatear, White-winged Black Tit, White-bellied Go-Away-Bird, Bearded and Cardinal Woodpeckers.
Day 17: EXPLORING RIFT VALLEY LAKES
The south-eastern shore of lake Langano is also an excellent birding habitat within tall fig trees, shelters species, including Yellow-fronted Parrot, Eastern Red-breasted Parrot, Narina Trogon, White-cheeked Turaco, Black-winged Lovebird, Scaly Francolin, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Grey-backed Fiscal, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Blue-Breasted and Northern Carmine Bee-eater.
Day 18: LANGANO-ADDIS ABABA
Langano to Addis with detour to Lake Ziway and Koka Dam, important to look for wetland species, including Hamerkop, Black Heron, Black Crake, African Darter, African Pygmy Goose, Spur-winged Plover, White-backed Duck, Fulvous and White-faced Whistling Duck, African Spoonbill, Lesser and African Jacana, Saddle-billed Stork, Hottentot Teal, Eastern White Pelican, Sacred Ibis, Marabou Stork, Long-tailed Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Yellow-billed Stork, Spur-winged Goose, Red-knobbed Coot, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Village Weavers, Malachite, Pied, Giant and Woodland Kingfishers, Moorhens and African Fish-Eagle. The resident Grey-headed Gulls are joined by the Palearctic migrants such as Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Wood sandpiper, Green Shank, common Red-shank and Three-banded Plover.