Saving threatened endemic birds of Southern Ethiopia



Project duration: 1st January - 31st December

Implemented by: Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (EWNHS, BirdLife Partner in Ethiopia).

The South Ethiopian Highlands region covers approximately 37,000 km2 and is one of Africa’s 21 Endemic Bird Areas (EBA 114). It is  one of the most unique and interesting ornithological regions in Ethiopia. The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful but quite remote and the people are poor. The threats to the habitats include conversion to dry land arable agriculture, forest encroachment, increased grazing pressure, and charcoal production.

The goal of the current project is that the current IUCN threat categories of six threatened endemic birds in the Southern Ethiopian EBA may be scaled one step down through protecting critical habitats and working with local communities and other stakeholders. The flagship species include Liben Lark (Heteromirafra sidamoensis), Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco (Tauraco ruspolii), Ethiopian Bush-crow (Zavatarriornis stresemanni), White-tailed Swallow (Hirundo megaensis), Salvadori’s Serin(Serinus xantholaemus)  and Nechisar Nightjar (Caprimulgus solala). Restoration of habitats for the threatened endemics will also be positive for the livelihoods of the traditionally pastoral Borena and Guji communities.

Project Objectives

  1. Undertake intensive targeted research to determine the conservation status, actual and potential threats, population sizes, habitat requirements and ranges of distribution of all the six threatened endemic birds within the Southern Ethiopian EBA.
  2. Develop Species Action Plans for four threatened endemic flagship species within the EBA, namely: Liben Lark, Ethiopian Bush-crow, White-tailed Swallow and Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco.
  3. Secure substantial  funds for implementation of the four Species Action Plans that will be developed during the life of the project  to implement the plans in the following years and increase the scale of the proposed project activities.
  4. Conduct sensitization campaigns on the importance of the Southern Ethiopian Highlands EBA as critical habitat for six globally threatened endemic Ethiopian species  and as a destination for avitourism.
  5. Promote direct conservation measures on the ground to protect and restore critical habitats within the South Ethiopian Highlands EBA to protect the threatened endemic species.
  6. Build the capacity and capability of the national BirdLife Partner in Ethiopia (EWNHS) and other key stakeholders, like Yabello Sanctuary, in biodiversity research and conservation through formal and experiential training, while at the same time promoting the livelihoods of the local communities in the region.