About 860 species of birds (9.5% of the world's and 39 % of Africa's bird population) live in the highlands. lowlands, river banks,wet lands, dams , lakes ,forests, shrubs and grasslands of Ethiopia.The number,diversity and colour of birds found in the country have power to interest even the nonbirders.With regards to number of species Ethiopia stands next to south Africa,but the contry possess a higher number of endemics and semi-endemics which it shares with Eritrea.
Some of the spots which could be of interest to bird watchers includeGeffersa,Debrelibanos,Abjata-shalla National Park ,Lake Zeway,Bale Mountains,Lake Awassa,Lake Chamo,Lake Chitoo,Chalaklaka wet land,Koka Dam,Wendo Genet,Awash Nationa Park,Lake Langano,Bishangari,Yabello,Negele,Soaf Omar,Lemi and Jemma Valley,Alem Ketema,Ankober,Sululta Plains,Menagesha,Akaki wet lands,and Gibe Gorge.
Bale Mountains National Park( 39o 43' East 6o 45' North) covers an area of about 247000 ha and is situated between 1500 and 4300 meters altitude. Bale Mountains National Park is on the south-east Ethiopian plateau. The zonal capital, Goba, is on the north-eastern side of the park. The park headquarters are on the northern border at Dinsho, 400 km by road from Addis Ababa.
The Bale mountains are formed of ancient volcanic rocks that are now dissected by rivers and streams that have cut deep gorges, in some places resulting in beautiful waterfalls. The mountains rise from the 2,500-m plateau to the west, north and east of the park. The Sanetti plateau, which dominates the northern section of the park, reaches 3,800–4,200 m on top of the mountain block, and is broken by several peaks including Tullu Deemtu (4,377 m), the highest mountain in southern Ethiopia and second-highest in the country.
Small lakes form in the numerous shallow depressions on the Sanetti plateau during the wet season. Larger, permanent lakes like Garba Guracha, Hora Bacha and Halla Wenz, are mostly found on the eastern side of the plateau.
The northern section of the park covers the valleys of the Web and Danka rivers. The northern highland block is separated from the Harenna forest by the spectacular Harenna escarpment that runs diagonally from west to east across the middle of the park.
Chelekleka ( 38o 58' East 8o 51' North) is situated between 1800 and 1900 meters altitude. Chelekleka is a seasonally inundated pan, the western and south-western sides of which form the periphery of Debre Zeit town. Debre Zeit is in East Shewa Zone, 50 km kms from Addis Ababa.
Chelekleka is in a shallow pan into which fresh water seeps and flows from the surrounding cultivated slopes. Water fills the muddy depression during the rainy season and persists well into the dry season. The two highland ranges of Teltele and Sofa, on the north-eastern side of the swamp, are the main catchments for Chelekleka. Because of its shallow nature, the lake’s shoreline is wide. The size of the inundated area varies dramatically from year to year, although recently the size of the swamp has been reduced through the construction of flood-control dykes in the feeder streams, and channeling run-off from the town into Bishoftu lake .
Abijatta-Shalla National Park ( 38o 30' East 7o 30' North) covers an area of about 88700 ha and is situated between 1500 and 1700 meters altitude. The National Park is a combination of Lakes Abijatta and Shalla.The park is 56 km south-west of Lake Ziway and to the west of the main Addis-Mojo–Awassa road.
Both lakes are without outlets, and the water is alkaline. Lake Abijatta is very shallow (up to 14 m), while Lake Shalla, in the crater of an extinct volcano, is very deep (up to 266 m).
Three rivers, the Gogessa, Bulbula and Hora Kelo, feed Lake Abijatta. The lake had an area of 19,600 ha, a shoreline of 60 km and was full of fish, but by 1995, it had shrunk dramatically and no fish-eating birds were seen. Water is being removed from the lake to feed a soda-ash extraction plant, and from the Bulbula river for irrigation. Fish and aquatic plants now regularly occur only around the mouth of the Bulbula and Hora Kelo rivers. The shoreline is gently sloping.The nearby Acacia woodland used to have a more or less continuous (25-m-high) canopy, but most of the trees have been felled and turned into charcoal or sold as fuelwood.
Sof Omar ( 40o 47' East 6o 54' North ) is situated between 1150 and 1450 meters altitude.Sof Omar is in the middle of Bale Zone, 120 km east of zonal capital Goba. With over 15 km of passages, Sof Omar is Ethiopia’s longest cave system. The Weyb river flows from its source in the Bale mountains, through the caves, finally joining the Genale river at Dolo on the border with Somalia.
Before entering the caves, the river passes through a valley cut into the limestone. The sides of the valley, which comprise large fossil-rich limestone blocks, are covered with a wide variety of small trees, bushes and climbers. The more level areas and border of the river are covered in fine black soil that supports some larger Acacia and fig trees.
The vegetation-type is described as Commiphora–Kirkia–Acacia woodland and bushland. Many species, such as the shrubs Commiphora monoica and Euphorbia baleënsis, and a crustacean are only known from this area (some also occurring at Shek Husein).
There are almost certainly as-yet- undescribed species in this isolated limestone area. The caves and the entrance area are a shrine named after the Muslim saint Shek Sof Omar. The shrine is well-visited by pilgrims, and is becoming increasingly popular with tourists.
Many of the trees in the area, although small, produce hardwood prized for making charcoal, or coloured woods that are carved into household items. There is some cultivation, particularly in the higher-rainfall areas towards Ginir.
The Sululta plain (38o 43' East 9o 12' North ) is situated at 2500 meters altitude.The Sululta plain is on the north-east side of Entoto mountain in North Shewa Zone. The village of Sululta is about 20 km north of Addis Ababa.
The plain is a wide, shallow valley almost completely surrounded by mountains from which many small rivers drain, feeding the Muger river that flows north-west into the Abbay (Blue Nile). Sululta plain is swampy with some quite large areas of open water in the rainy season, but it reverts to grazing land during the dry months.
The surrounding mountainsides were covered with forest dominated by Juniperus procera, and the lower slopes supported groves of Acacia spp. However, most of the hillsides around Sululta are now covered with plantations of Eucalyptus, with only odd native trees remaining, except for the groves protected by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Lake Zeway( 38o 49' East 7o 59' North) covers an area of about 65400 ha and is situated at 1636 meters altitude. Lake Zeway is a slightly alkaline lake in the central section of the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley. It lies to the east of Zeway town.
It is within a broad, down-faulted basin that to the south, and within the same drainage, includes Lakes Abijatta, Langano and Shalla. Also to the south, the landscape is dominated by Mt Aleltu (c.1,880 m). Within 10 km to the east and west of the lake are higher faulted ridges. To the north, the land rises gently to 1,670 m where it meets the watershed of the Awash river and Koka dam reservoir.
The lake is c.29 km long and 20 km wide, with a maximum depth of 8 m (mean c.2.5 m), and a seasonal variance of 0.5–1.2 m. There are several islands, some inhabited, the largest probably for 1,000 years and supporting an Orthodox Christian community. The Lake Zeway catchment is 7,025 km², fed by a number of rivers, of which the Meki and Catar are most significant.
Lake Awassa ( 38o 25' East 7o 3' North ) covers an area of about 12900 ha and is situated at 1700 meters altitude. Lake Awassa lies to the west of Awassa town-275 km south of Addis Ababa.
The Awassa basin is in an old caldera in the middle of the Ethiopian Rift Valley, between the Abijata–Shalla basin to the north and that of Lakes Abaya and Chamo to the south. The walls of the caldera form steep walls to the north and east of the basin while most of the flatter areas are intensively cultivated. Lake Awassa is in the lowest portion of the caldera, along with a previously extensive wetland, Lake Shallo and the Shallo swamp. The swamp drains into Lake Awassa through a small river called Tiqur Wuha, which means ‘black water’.
There are no outlets from the lake, but water may seep away through the underlying volcanic ash and pumice. Awassa is a freshwater lake, even though the system appears to be closed. The level of the lake varies considerably from year to year and a dyke has been built to prevent the town from flooding.
Gefersa Reservoir ( 38o 38' East 9o 3' North ) covers an area of about 5700 ha and is at an altitude of 2600 meters.It is 18 km west of Addis Ababa (by road). The reservoir is in a shallow basin about 10 km wide, stretching between the Wechacha and Entoto mountains. The Gefersa river and its feeder streams are part of the Akaki river catchment.
The reservoir formed behind a main dam built in 1938 (and modified in 1954) and a second, smaller dam, built in 1966, upstream from the main dam; the water-storage capacities are c.6,500,000 m3 and c.1,500,000 m3 respectively, and the two dams control a catchment area of c.5,700 ha.
The reservoirs supply treated water to Addis Ababa. The reservoirs themselves are virtually free of large aquatic plants, probably due to the constantly fluctuating water-level. Patches of sedge occur where permanent streams flow into the reservoirs, and on the western and southern sides of the main reservoir, long, shallow valleys with small streams support swampy vegetation. This particular reservoir can be an added bonus of Ethiopia visit for bird lover.