If the words ‘exploratory,’ ‘intrepid,’ ‘adventure’ and ‘discovery’ get your blood flowing when it comes to birding, then Somaliland surely ranks high on your list of target destinations. For years this region has been marred by internal conflict; however, Somaliland (Northern Somalia) has recently become safe for travel, allowing access to a remarkable number of endemics that were, until recently, impossible to see. These tantalising endemics and near-endemics include the likes of Little Brown Bustard, Archer’s Buzzard, little known Somali Pigeon, Somali & Collared Larks, Lesser Hoopoe-Lark, Somali Wheatear, Philippa’s Crombec, Somali Thrush, Somali Starling, Somali Golden-winged Grosbeak and the endangered Warsangli Linnet.
Our tour will visit all of the very best sites in Somaliland and while the focus will be on securing good views of the endemics mentioned above we will also be searching for many of the special and range-restricted species that also occur. One of the highlights will be birding the Daallo Forest area which still holds a fair amount of beautiful juniper forest. It is here that smart endemics such as Somali Thrush, Somali Golden-winged Grosbeak, Archer’s Buzzard and Warsangli Linnet occur while also being an excellent place to find the localised Somali Starling. The Ban Cade Plains are also on the agenda and give us an excellent opportunity of finding Somali Lark, Somali Wheatear, Little Brown and Heuglin’s Bustards, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Somali Courser and Spotted Sandgrouse. Another key location will be the thorn scrub and bush in the Burco area. Here range-restricted species such as Yellow-vented Eremomela, Red-naped Bushshrike, Scaly Chatterer, Somali Crombec, Arabian Warbler and the endemic Collared Lark can all be found while time will also be spent at a site near Berbera for Somali Pigeon and the extremely localised Sombre Rock Chat that favours lava-covered areas. Additional quality species include White-cheeked Tern, Blanford’s, Somali Short-toed and Short-tailed Larks, Greater Hoopoe-Lark, Yellow-breasted Barbet, Nile Valley Sunbird, White-crowned, Shelley’s and Magpie Starlings, Somali Bee-eater, Somali Sparrow and Northern Grosbeak-Canary.
This is also a country that has been little explored from an ornithological point of view and every trip seems to produce something unusual, unexpected or new and reports of a possible unique species of cisticola and an interesting scops owl from the Daallo Forest show just how much there is yet to still discover. This is pioneering birding at its very best and, when combined with the influx of Palaearctic migrants, should make for a superb bird-filled adventure!
Little Brown Bustard, Archer’s Buzzard, Somali Pigeon, Somali, Collared, Blanford’s, Somali Short-toed & Short-tailed Larks, Greater & Lesser Hoopoe-Larks, Somali Wheatear, Somali Thrush, Somali Starling, Somali Golden-winged Grosbeak, Warsangli Linnet, Heuglin’s Bustards, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Somali Courser, Spotted Sandgrouse, Yellow-vented Eremomela, Red-naped Bushshrike, Scaly Chatterer, Philippa’s and Somali Crombecs, Arabian Warbler, Sombre Rock Chat, White-cheeked Tern, Yellow-breasted Barbet, Nile Valley Sunbird, White-crowned, Shelley’s & Magpie Starlings, Somali Bee-eater, Somali Sparrow, Northern Grosbeak-Canary.
Beira, Speke’s, Soemmering’s & Dorcas Gazelle, Speke’s Pectinator, Caracal, Desert Warthog, Somali Elephant Shrew
dry acacia scrub and woodland, semi-desert, juniper forest, rocky gorges, coastal areas
warm to hot in the lowlands, cool to mild in the highlands. Chances of rain exist.
Golis Escarpment, Ban Cade Plains, Taba’a Escarpment, Daallo Mountain