The Kafa Biosphere Reserve provides important protected territory for birds in wetlands, grasslands, and forests. Around 300 bird species inhabit Kafa, which constitutes approximately 25% of the country’s total bird species, including 11 endemic ones. Kafa supports birds of prey, warblers, thrushes, weavers, swallows, and many other birds. As a result of this vast array of birds, the Biosphere Reserve is listed as an Important Bird Area.

The wetlands in Kafa are an important habitat for the dignified Wattled Crane and the Black Crowned Crane. Ground-dwelling endemic Abyssinian Longclaws are striking with their bright yellow throat and chest surrounded by a black necklace. Rouget’s Rail, also endemic, often flicks its tail in clumps of grass near water or in meadows.

Kafa’s intact forests provide an excellent habitat for tree-dwelling birds. Over 20 birds of prey species exist here, including the impressive Crowned Eagle. Abundant dove species, small and hook-beaked Olive Sunbirds and endemic Yellow-Fronted Parrots can also be spotted here. Kafa supports Black-Headed Forest Orioles, which have a distinctive call and a brilliant yellow colour, as well as many Silvery-cheeked Hornbills which bear impressive beaks. The brightly green-coloured Black-Winged Lovebird is endemic to Ethiopia.

The forests serve also as resting and feeding stages for 24 Palearctic migrants, which winter in Ethiopia but breed in Europe, Russia, Northern Africa, or the Middle East. Kafa also shelters 10 intra-African migrants with resident breeding populations in Ethiopia.


For more information on birds in Ethiopia please refer to:

Download a list of bird species in Kafa here from Berhan, L. A. (2008). Status and Distribution of Faunal Diversity in Kafa Report. Presented to PPP Project. For the full Faunal Diversity Report, please refer to the Download section.

Spottiswoode, C., Gabremichael, M., Francis, J. (2010). Where to watch birds in Ethiopia. A&C Black Publishers.

Redman, N., Stevenson, T. and Fanshawe, J., (2009). Birds of the Horn of Africa. Princeton University Press.

Vivero Pol, J. L. (2006). A Guide to Endemic Birds of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Shama Books.

Sinclair, I. and Ryan, P. (2003). Birds of Africa: South of the Sahara. Princeton University Press.

Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (1996). Important Birds Areas of Ethiopia. Semayata Press.