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We are pleased to report another highly-successful Birdfinders Ethiopia tour. Including the extension, all the true endemics were seen apart from Red-billed Pytilia together with all of the regional endemics with the exception of Abyssinian Owl, Somali Starling and Parrot-billed Sparrow. The weather was highly variable, from +40°C in the lowlands down to –4°C in the mountains, with hot sun, torrential rains, fog and strong winds to add to the variety!

A total of 509 species were seen (a new record for our Ethiopia tour). This included the endemics (to Eritrea and Ethiopia) Wattled Ibis, Blue-winged Goose, Harwood’s Francolin, Rouget’s Rail, Spot-breasted Lapwing, White-collared Pigeon, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Black-winged Lovebird, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Banded Barbet, Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco, Liben and Erlanger’s Larks, White-tailed Swallow, Abyssinian Longclaw, Abyssinian Catbird, Stresemann’s Bush-crow, Thick-billed Raven, Abyssinian Slaty-flycatcher, White-backed Black-tit, Rüppell’s Black-chat, White-winged Cliff-chat, Sombre Chat, Dark-headed Oriole, White-billed Starling, Yellow-rumped, Yellow-throated, Salvadori's and Ankober Serins and Ethiopian Siskin. Additionally, Black Sawwing (antinorii and pristoptera), Ethiopian Cisticola, Banded Parisoma, Abyssinian Wheatear (lugubris) and Fawn-breasted (Abyssinian) Waxbill (ochrogaster) were seen.

Of the other birds seen on the tour, the following were 'Horn of Africa' (including Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan) endemics and included Chestnut-naped, Erckel’s and Moorland Francolins, White-winged Collared-dove, White-cheeked Turaco, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Gillett’s and Somali Short-toed Larks, White-rumped Babbler, Ethiopian Boubou, Somali Fiscal, Swainson’s Sparrow, Salvadori’s (Juba) Weaver, African (Ethiopian) Stonechat (albofasciatus), Somali Crow, White-crowned Starling, African Citril and Brown-rumped Seedeater.

Other sightings of particular interest during the tour and sent to the African Bird Club included:

3rd November – whilst driving from Goba to Sof Omar (roughly half way) we spotted a hybrid Pied/Somali crow in the flock of half a dozen of Somali Crows feeding by the road near the crop field.

10th November – after leaving Lake Langano and driving along a rough, dusty desert road, we stopped for large owl silhouetted in the acacia tree canopy. It turned out to be a Cape Eagle-owl, which was totally unexpected as according the literature they are an 'uncommon resident in North and Central Ethiopia at 2400–4200m in rocky moorland and montane country'. The elevation of Langano Lake is only 1585 metres and it is surrounded with desert so was very unusual place for this bird.

All records were supported by photographic evidence.

Despite having run this very popular tour for a number of years, we added a number of other interesting species to the Birdfinders tour list including Little Bittern, Basra Reed Warbler, Icterine and Olive-tree Warblers, Black-bellied Sunbird and Familiar Chat.

Birdfinders will be running this extremely popular tour again 29 November–15/20 November 2013 and places are filling fast so don’t leave it too late to book!

Svetlana Ashby

Blue-winged Goose Erckel's Francolin
Harwood's Francolin Chestnut-naped Francolin
Rouget's Rail Wattled Crane
Spot-breasted Lapwing Somali Courser
White-collared Pigeon White-cheeked Turaco
Prince Ruspoli's Turaco Greyish Eagle-owl
Cape Eagle-owl Verreaux's Eagle-owl
Slender-tailed Nightjar Narina Trogon
Banded Barbet Rufous-necked Wryneck
Abyssinian Woodpecker Black-winged Lovebird
Brown-throated Wattle-eye Red-naped Bushshrike
Grey-headed Bushshrike Dark-headed Oriole
Stresemann's Bush-crow Somali Crow/Pied Crow hybrid
Liben Lark Erlanger's Lark
Somali Short-toed Lark Short-tailed Lark
White-tailed Swallow White-backed Black-tit
Somali Tit Somali Crombec
Abyssinian Catbird Abyssinian White-eye
White-rumped Babbler Rüppell's Chat
White-winged Cliff-chat Sombre Chat
White-billed Starling
Ankober Serin Abyssinian Siskin
Yellow-rumped Serin Salvadori's Serin
Brown-rumped Seedeater Speckle-fronted Weaver
Salvadori's Weaver Fawn-breasted (Abyssinian) Waxbill
Stresemann's Bush Crow

Stresemann's Bush Crow