Ethiopia is undoubtedly one of the finest birding nations in Africa, boasting the second highest endemic bird list on the continent – an impressive 29 species! Our comprehensive Ethiopian Endemics birding tour loops through the central and southern regions of Ethiopia as we seek out almost every possible endemic and near-endemic that this fantastic country has to offer. We typically rake up an incredible bird list of up to 500 species in the process, including our November image of the month, the remarkable Thick-billed Raven.
Along with the Common Raven, this bird shares the distinction of being the largest of all Passeriformes (the perching bird order that makes up approximately 50% of all bird species), measuring 60+ cm (24+ in) in length and weighing up to 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs). Its massive bill is laterally compressed and deeply curved in profile, giving it a very distinctive and unique appearance, clearly displayed in this great shot of two birds by tour leader Markus Lilje.
Restricted to Eritrea and Ethiopia, the Thick-billed Raven is found in a wide variety of habitats ranging from high plateau montane grassland to open forest and city parks. As with most Corvids, it is an omnivorous species, feeding on grubs, carrion, discarded human food and beetle larvae from animal dung, for which it uses a characteristic scything movement with its huge bill to scatter the dung and thereby extract the hidden grubs.
Our January and February 2012 tours to Ethiopia (now discounted by 5%) still have a few spaces remaining, so if you would like the opportunity to spot this and a whole host of other
fantastic birds, including the fabled Ruspoli’s Turaco, Stresemann’s Bush Crow, Blue-winged Goose, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Rouget’s Rail, and star mammals such as Ethiopian Wolf and the amazing Gelada Baboon, then please don’t hesitate to contact our office for further details.