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Ethiopia's Endemic Birds Said Endangered

The Monitor (Addis Ababa)
October 30, 1999
By Lullit G. Michael

Addis Ababa - The Ethiopian Wildlife Society and Natural History says Ethiopia's endemic birds are being threatened with extinction. The Society says that among Ethiopia's bird fauna, 2 species are critically threatened and 5-of which 4 of them are endemic to, Ethiopia are endangered. Moreover, 12 bird species are now categorized vulnerable.

And among the 14 species that have been named near threatened globally 2 are found only in Ethiopia. The five threatened bird species that are endemic to Ethiopia are the Nechisar nightjar (caprimulgus solala), Sidamo Lark (heteromirafra sidamoensis), Yellow-throated Serin (Serinus flavigula), Prince Ruspoli's Turaco (Tauraco ruspolii) and Ankober Serin (Serinus ankoberensis).

From the vulnerable bird species, the Harwood's Francolin or locally known as Sorene, and the Abysssinian Bush Crow (Zavattariornis stresemanni) are endemic to Ethiopia. Many species traditionally viewed as common are also showing dramatic falls in their numbers and their habitats have shrunk, says the Society, established in 1966.

Professor Shibiru Tedla, chairman of the Society said, "In Ethiopia, the various ecosystems of high biological importance are threatened and need strong conservation action supported by legislation." The threats he cited include destruction of habitat, encroachment by undesirable plant species following flooding, shrinkage of lakes and wetlands due to industrial and agricultural development, burning of forest and negative attitudes of people especially to cranes and geese for the damage they cause to crops. The Sorene, another threatened endemic bird, for instance, is one of the most widely hunted birds in Ethiopia.

Located in a small range in Central Ethiopia's highlands, little is known about its life, habitat requirement and range. The Society engaged in reporting, surveying and advocating for the protection of Ethiopia's birds has taken part in a world conference held in Malaysia this month.

The conference held between 13-17th October, was attended by 500 delegates from around the world. It was organized by BirdLife International.

In terms of avifauna (birds), says the Society, Ethiopia is one of the most significant countries in mainland Africa. The country's diverse habitat, contribute to its diverse avifauna; over 861 bird species including 16 endemic have been recorded from Ethiopia.

At present 69 important bird areas have been identified by the Society but not all of them are protected.

Copyright (c) 1999 The Monitor - Addis Ababa. Distributed via Africa News Online ( For information about the content or for permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the publisher.

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