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Ethiopia Tour Report 6-27 Nov 2010

To the world at large; despite its ancient history, culture and natural beauty, Ethiopia is known for its wars, droughts and famines. However, for birdwatchers it is much more; it is a land with an amazing variety of species of birds, including many, that are found nowhere else in the world. Our tour to Ethiopia was a very memorable and enjoyable tour, in which we saw almost all of our target birds and also a good selection of African mammals. Ethiopia is one of the world's oldest countries, it is a mountainous country and the Great Rift Valley is the most prominent geographical feature. Birding highlights of the tour included the prehistoric-looking Wattled Ibis, the declining Blue-winged Goose, the highly localised Rouget's Rail, the elegant Spot-breasted Lapwing, huge flocks of White-collared Pigeons, small flocks of Yellow-fronted Parrots, very close Black-winged Lovebirds, many good looks at the enigmatic Prince Ruspoli's Turaco, great scope views of Banded Barbet, we managed to find the rare Abyssinian Woodpecker, the extremely rare Sidamo Lark, the charming Erlanger's Lark, the range restricted Somali long-toed Lark, the little-known White-tailed Swallow, the beautiful Abyssinian Longclaw, the highly localised Ruppell's Black Chat, the very handsome White-winged Cliff Chaff, the recently split Ethiopian Cisticola, the ubiquitous Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher, the shy Abyssinian Catbird, the stunningly beautiful White-backed Black Tit, the dazzling Abyssinian Oriole, the very special Stresemann's Bush-Crow, the range restricted White-billed Starling, the endangered Yellow-throated Seedeater, the gorgeous Black-headed Siskin and the endangered Ankober Serin. Mammalian highlights included the endemic Ethiopian Highland Hare, the magnificent and endemic Ethiopian Wolf, the endangered and endemic Mountain Nyala, the very range restricted Salt's Dikdik and also the endangered and near endemic Sommering's Gazelle.
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