Bird Watching1. Birds of Awash National Park and adjacent areas
With bird diversity, Awash is the richest National Park in Ethiopia with more than 453 species recorded. The diversity in habitats, aquatic (Metehara/Beseka Lake, Filwuha hot springs and Awash River) and terrestrial lands are convenient for watching variety of migrant and resident birds. One can see species of herons, egrets, ibises, storks, ducks, vultures, francolins, bustards, plovers, doves, bee-eaters, hornbills, nightjars, barbets, woodpeckers, larks and pipits, rock chats and wheatears, sunbirds, starlings, weavers, seedeaters and others. The Lodge can arrange professional guides in bird identification, bird ecology, biology and habitats preferences by species.
Bird watching and study tours are arranged all over Ethiopia including in the Rift Valley Lakes, National Parks and other hotspots for bird watchers, researchers and amateurs too.
2. Birds of Ethiopia
Birds are flagships of biodiversity and bio- indicators of habitat conditions as a whole. During the past 4 decades, a large number of publications were produced on the status of the birds of Ethiopia. Urban and Brown (1971) were the first to prepare the bird checklist for Ethiopia. Since 1995, the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society has made unreserved efforts in compiling data on Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Ethiopia.
IBAs are places of international significance for the conservation of birds at global, regional and national levels. The research project culminated with the publication of a book entitled 'Important Bird Areas of Ethiopia: A First Inventory', the first of its kind in Africa. Recently, a more comprehensive bird book entitled Birds of Ethiopia and Eritrea an atlas of distribution was published which can be used by bird watchers especiallywill motivate ornithologists and tourists to visit and explore this fascinating part of Africa.
Ethiopia is a country rich in avifauna, with more than 862 species (39.14 percent of the total for the main Africa continent and associated islands). These are contained in 24 Orders and 87 Families. As the checklist is being reviewed currently, the total for the country could be greater. There are 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 Palearctic 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 Palearctic Migrants - breed in Europe and/or Asia and winter in Africa, only passing through Ethiopia to its wintering grounds (e.g. European Bee-eater).
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. Even though the main population of the endemic birds still remains within the Ethiopian political boundary, it is necessary to define the birds, which were formerly Ethiopian and are, now found in Eritrea and those still restricted in Ethiopia.
Notwithstanding the fact that there are important world populations present and that there may be new ones to be discovered. Bird watching tour will be arranged all over Ethiopia especially within the Rift Valley Lakes, National Parks and other hotspots for bird watchers, researchers and amateurs too.