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BIRDING ITINERARY

Of the 835 species of birds known to occur in Ethiopia, 23 are found exclusively within the country's boundaries. Most of these 23 endemic birds are widely distributed, chiefly on the western and southern highland plateau.
Many of the endemic birds of Ethiopia Thick-Billed Raven, Wattled Ibis, Black Winged Love bird and White Collared Pigeon- are notably common over extensive areas of the plateau, and, because they are big readily identified and not especially shy, they are consequently easy to see and observe. Even in the highland forests which support comparatively few endemic species of birds, the endemics are nevertheless obvious and common. The song of one- the Abyssinian cat bird - is considered to be one of the most beautiful of any bird in Africa. Three Ethiopian endemics are confined to the southern edge of Ethiopian plateau: they are the strese Mann’s Bush-Crow, the white Tailed Swallow and Prince Ruspoli's Turaco. Another endemic Ethiopian bird, The Blue- Winged Goose, is a very isolated species: its closest relative is a Goose which occurs in South America.

It is surprising that the biology of obvious and common endemic birds of Ethiopia remains poorly known, for the Scientist, they provide a great number of interesting problems of investigation: for the tourist, they provide a very enjoyable opportunity of seeing something new and unique: for the bird watcher, they provide the experience of observing 23 birds found nowhere else in the world.

Abyssinian Catbird (Parophasna Galinieri)….. Wing 83 – 91 mm
The Abyssinian Catbird – one of the finest, if not the finest singer of all the birds of Africa – is frequent to common in the western and southern highland between 1800 and 3500 meters in giant heath, St. John's wort, highland bamboo, juniper, podocarpus and olive forests. It lives singly, in pair or in group up to eight often in thickets and vines that fringe these forests. It is found as far north as the Semien Mountains; the Catbird is a resident garden bird of plateau cities.  

One usually first notice the Catbird when it sings. The birds, which appear to be territorial, are intense singers in the rains when a male and a female often duet persistently. The male, stretching his neck skyward and holding his wings out at the bend, vigorously produces a long clear ringing song; the female answers with a churring and purring note. Because the little – known Catbird lives in dense parts thickets, it is sometimes difficult to see .The distinguishing features are its general grayish, color, dirty white forehead and chestnut belly and under tail coverts.
 
This endemic in known to feed own juniper berries, but other items in its diet are not known. It certainly nests in May and July; it probably nests from February through July. The nest is a small, frail, thin, cup-like structure of plant stems placed loosely in tangle of vines; one was discovered 5 meters up in a St. John’s Wort tree. The eggs, two in number, are pale flesh – colored and uniformly covered with fine flesh marks and a few dark chestnut spots.

Wattled Ibis (Bostrychia Carunculata) ……Wing 325 – 380 mm
Because of its loud, raucous call, the wattled Ibis is clearly recognized even from some distance away. The Wattled Ibis occurs throughout the Ethiopian plateau from about 1500 meter to the highest moorland, it is most common highland river courses with rocky, cliff-like edges but it is found also in open country and in olive, juniper, podocarpus, hagenia, St. John Wort and giant heath forest and occasionally in Eucalyptus stands. The Ibis is gregarious, often flocking in groups of 50 to 100, rarely it is found alone. Small folks of Ibis can be seen in Addis Ababa. The birds normally roost on cliff edges. Only little known about the Ibis's breeding habits. The pre-nuptial behavior including the establishment of pairs and preparation of nesting sites as well as length of incubation and breeding behavior are not known.
    

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