The Ruspoli’s were an aristocratic Roman family who had intermarried with the Bonapartes in the 19th century and their wealth and status allowed Prince Eugenio Ruspoli to fulfill his dream of becoming a gentleman African explorer. He spent the years 1891 to 1893 traversing the little known kingdom of Abyssinia, modern day Ethiopia. His adventures were however brought to an abrupt halt when he was killed in “an encounter” with an elephant that he had wounded. Sometime before this unfortunate incident, the Prince had discovered a very beautiful new bird to science, a striking green turaco with a unique white crest and red nape. It was later named in his honor by a fellow Italian ornithologist, Salvadori. However one problem remained, no-one knew where the Prince had collected the specimen, and it was only well into the 20th century, after much effort, that it was rediscovered. We now know that Ruspoli’s Turaco is endemic to a small area of south-eastern Ethiopia, not far from the Kenya-Somali borders, where it favors fruiting fig trees that flourish along the wadis (dry riverbeds) of this arid landscape. This species is one of the many star birds of Rockjumper’s Ethiopian tour and this image was taken by Matthew Matthiessen, one of the participants on our February 2010 Ethiopian tour.
We invite you to join us to explore this fascinating nation, the only country in Africa not to have been colonized. Ethiopia boasts the 2nd highest total of endemic birds in Africa and our comprehensive tours record in excess of 500 bird species as well as many exciting mammals including the world’s rarest canid, the Ethiopian Wolf and the unique Gelada Baboon.