Endemic Birds of Ethiopia

Harwood's Francolin ( Francolinus Harwood)

Wing 180 – 190 mm

Harwood's Francolin has been reported from only three localities along about 160 Km. valleys and gorges Harwood's Francolin ( Francolinus Harwood)with in the upper Blue Nile system extending to the east and north of Addis Ababa – Debre Markos. This Francolin is a very poorly known Ethiopian endemic. It was first recorded in 1898 at Ahiyafej (10° 13”N, 39° 18”E) and again in 1927 at Bichena (10 26'N, 38 13'E) and in 1930 at Kalo Ford along the banks of the Blue Nile “below Zemie” (10° 09'N, 38° 22'E). No other records of this species have been published although recent reports suggest that it is more widely distributed than previously thought.

Very little can be said about the biology of this Francolin. The male can be recognized by a distinctive U-shaped pattern on the black and white feathers of the breast, the female is unknown to science. Its referred surroundings are unknown, its egg, nest, time of nesting, food, call and general behavior are not described. Since the local people at least in the late 1920's and 1930's were familiar with the Harwood's Francolin, it seems reasonable to assume that it may have been more common than thought at that time and may still be so today. Two species very closely related to the Harwood's Francolin occur in central and southern Africa . The two, the Hildebrandt's Francolin (Francolinus hildebrandti) and the Natal Francolin (F. natalensis) are specially found in dense bush along stream beds and rocky hills covered with long grass or bush. It again seems very reasonable to assume that the Harwood's Francolin lives in similar habitat in the Blue Nile Valley system.

Prince Ruspoli's Turaco

(Turaco ruspollii ) Wing 180 – 184 mm

Prince Ruspoli's Turaco is known in the literature from two areas in southern Ethiopia in juniper forests with dense evergreen undergrowth, one is at Arero (4° 48'N, 38° 50'E) and the other 80 km north of Negelle (5° 50'N, 39° 20'E) both localities are 1800 meters in elevation. This Turaco was first introduced to science when prince Ruspoli collected it in either 1892 or 1893. Since prince Ruspoli an Italian explorer was killed in an “encounter with an Elephant” in the lake Abaya area and unfortunately did not leave any notes about his travels, the localityPrince Ruspoli's Turaco and date of collection of the first specimen of this Turaco remain unknown. His collection was studied by T. Savadori in 1896 who named the new Turaco in honor of Prince Ruspoli. In subsequent years several other explorers searched for the Turaco; none was successful until the early 1940 ‘s when several specimens were obtained in the Arero forest. After these specimens were obtained the Turaco was not reported again until very recently, in the last five years, when several have been seen and for collected at the locality north of Negelle. This Turaco is considered to be an endangered species and is included in the “Red Book” of endangered animals of the world.

There are no breeding records nor any recorded observations on the nesting activities of Prince Ruspoli's Turaco; its nets and eggs are unknown. It has been reported to feed on fruits of Teclea and Adina. Its call has been described as a low “chirr cha” and short “et”.

White – tailed Swallow

(Hirundo megaensis ) Wing 100 – 105 mm

White – tailed SwallowThe White – tailed Swallow was first introduced to science in 1942 when C.W. Benson reported it in southern Ethiopia from Yabelo to Mega in short grass savanna with small acacia thorn bush. This endemic related to the Pied – winged Swallow ( Hirundo leucosoma ) of western Africa and the pearl – breasted Swallow ( H. dimidiata ) of Southern Africa, is common but restricted to an area of about 4850 square kilometers between 1200 and 1350 meters. This restriction has baffled scientists because there is no obvious explanation, particularly no natural barrier or boundaries which mark off the area, for such a limited distribution. In recent years there have been reports of the Swallow in the Addis Ababa area. Studies of this species in the future may show that its distribution is not so limited as thought.

The species is unique among swallows in having the greater part of the tail white; the white is very conspicuous in flight. The White – tailed Swallow is thought to be a sedentary species, remaining mainly in its home range. It is not associated with human habitation. C.W. Benson suggested that this swallow may build its nest in January and February in holes in the tall chimney – shaped ant hills common in the area; the nest however, has not been discovered.

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