List of birds of Djibouti
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Djibouti. The avifauna of Djibouti include a total of 400 species, of which one is endemic, one has been introduced by humans and three are rare or accidental. Nine species are globally threatened.
This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Djibouti.
The following tags have been used to highlight several categories, but not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring native species.
- (A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Djibouti
- (E) Endemic - a species endemic to Djibouti
- (I) Introduced - a species introduced to Djibouti as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions
The ostrich is a flightless bird native to Africa. It is the largest living species of bird. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at high speeds.
Grebes are small to medium-large freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Djibouti.
- Little grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis
Shearwaters and petrels
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary.
- Atlantic petrel, Pterodroma incerta
- Jouanin's petrel, Bulweria fallax
- Flesh-footed shearwater, Ardenna carneipes
- Wedge-tailed shearwater, Ardenna pacificus
- Persian shearwater, Puffinus persicus (A)
Austral storm petrels
The austral storm petrels are relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like.
- Wilson's storm petrel, Oceanites oceanicus
Northern storm petrels
- Swinhoe's storm petrel, Oceanodroma monorhis
Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings.
- Red-billed tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus
Boobies and gannets
Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white and a few being colourful.
Darters are often called "snake-birds" because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged. The males have black and dark-brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. The darters have completely webbed feet and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving.
- African darter, Anhinga rufa
Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black-and-white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have coloured inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week.
- Lesser frigatebird, Fregata ariel
Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes.
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills.
- Grey heron, Ardea cinerea
- Black-headed heron, Ardea melanocephala
- Goliath heron, Ardea goliath
- Purple heron, Ardea purpurea
- Great egret, Ardea alba
- Intermediate egret, Ardea intermedia
- Western reef heron, Egretta gularis
- Little egret, Egretta garzetta
- Squacco heron, Ardeola ralloides
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Striated heron, Butorides striata
- Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
The hammerkop is a medium-sized bird with a long shaggy crest. The shape of its head with a curved bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name. Its plumage is drab-brown all over.
- Hamerkop, Scopus umbretta
Ibises and spoonbills
Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers.
- Sacred ibis, Threskiornis aethiopicus
- Glossy ibis, Plegadis falcinellus
- Eurasian spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia
- African spoonbill, Platalea alba
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute, but bill-clattering is an important mode of communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are 7 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Yellow-billed stork, Mycteria ibis
- Black stork, Ciconia nigra
- Abdim's stork, Ciconia abdimii
- Woolly-necked stork, Ciconia episcopus
- White stork, Ciconia ciconia
- Saddle-billed stork, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
- Marabou stork, Leptoptilos crumenifer
Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 m) tall, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume and, uniquely, are used upside-down. There are 6 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Djibouti.
Ducks, geese and swans
Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating.
- Fulvous whistling duck, Dendrocygna bicolor
- White-faced whistling duck, Dendrocygna viduata
- White-backed duck, Thalassornis leuconotus
- Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiacus
- Knob-billed duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos
- African pygmy goose, Nettapus auritus
- Eurasian wigeon, Mareca penelope
- Eurasian teal, Anas crecca
- Cape teal, Anas capensis
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Yellow-billed duck, Anas undulata
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Red-billed duck, Anas erythrorhyncha
- Hottentot teal, Spatula hottentota
- Garganey, Spatula querquedula
- Northern shoveler, Spatula clypeata
- Southern pochard, Netta erythrophthalma
- Ferruginous pochard, Aythya nyroca
- Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula
The family Pandionidae contains only one species, the osprey. The osprey is a medium-large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.
- Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
Hawks, kites and eagles
Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight.
- European honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus
- Black-winged kite, Elanus caeruleus
- Scissor-tailed kite, Chelictinia riocourii
- Black kite, Milvus migrans
- Yellow-billed kite, Milvus aegyptius
- Hooded vulture, Necrosyrtes monachus
- Lammergeier, Gypaetus barbatus
- Egyptian vulture, Neophron percnopterus
- White-backed vulture, Gyps africanus
- Rüppell's vulture, Gyps rueppelli
- Eurasian griffon, Gyps fulvus
- Lappet-faced vulture, Torgos tracheliotos
- White-headed vulture, Trigonoceps occipitalis
- Black-breasted snake eagle, Circaetus pectoralis
- Brown snake eagle, Circaetus cinereus
- Bateleur, Terathopius ecaudatus
- Western marsh-harrier, Circus aeruginosus
- Hen harrier, Circus cyaneus
- Pallid harrier, Circus macrourus
- Montagu's harrier, Circus pygargus
- Dark chanting goshawk, Melierax metabates
- Eastern chanting goshawk, Melierax poliopterus
- Gabar goshawk, Micronisus gabar
- Shikra, Accipiter badius
- Levant sparrowhawk, Accipiter brevipes
- Eurasian sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus
- Black goshawk, Accipiter melanoleucus
- Grasshopper buzzard, Butastur rufipennis
- Eurasian buzzard, Buteo buteo
- Long-legged buzzard, Buteo rufinus
- Augur buzzard, Buteo augur
- Lesser spotted eagle, Clanga pomarina
- Greater spotted eagle, Clanga clanga
- Tawny eagle, Aquila rapax
- Steppe eagle, Aquila nipalensis
- Imperial eagle, Aquila heliaca
- Verreaux's eagle, Aquila verreauxii
- Bonelli's eagle, Aquila fasciata
- African hawk-eagle, Aquila spilogaster
- Wahlberg's eagle, Hieraaetus wahlbergi
- Booted eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus
- Martial eagle, Polemaetus bellicosus
The secretarybird is a bird of prey in the order Falconiformes but is easily distinguished from other raptors by its long crane-like legs.
- Secretarybird, Sagittarius serpentarius
Caracaras and falcons
Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons. There are 62 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni
- Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
- Greater kestrel, Falco rupicoloides (A)
- Fox kestrel, Falco alopex
- Red-footed falcon, Falco vespertinus
- Eleonora's falcon, Falco eleonorae
- Sooty falcon, Falco concolor
- Eurasian hobby, Falco subbuteo
- Lanner falcon, Falco biarmicus
- Saker falcon, Falco cherrug
- Barbary falcon, Falco pelegrinoides
- Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus
Pheasants and partridges
The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are 156 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Djibouti.
Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances". There are 15 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Djibouti.
- Common crane, Grus grus
Rails, crakes, gallinules and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers. There are 143 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Corn crake, Crex crex
- Black crake, Amaurornis flavirostris
- Little crake, Porzana parva
- Baillon's crake, Porzana pusilla
- Spotted crake, Porzana porzana
- Allen's gallinule, Porphyrio alleni
- Common moorhen, Gallinula chloropus
Bustards are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays.
- Arabian bustard, Ardeotis arabs
- Heuglin's bustard, Neotis heuglinii
- White-bellied bustard, Eupodotis senegalensis
- Buff-crested bustard, Lophotis gindiana
The buttonquails are small, drab, running birds which resemble the true quails. The female is the brighter of the sexes and initiates courtship. The male incubates the eggs and tends the young.
- Small buttonquail, Turnix sylvatica
The jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found throughout the tropics. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. There 8 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Djibouti.
- African jacana, Actophilornis africanus
The crab-plover is related to the waders. It resembles a plover but with very long grey legs and a strong heavy black bill similar to a tern. It has black-and-white plumage, a long neck, partially webbed feet and a bill designed for eating crabs.
- Crab-plover, Dromas ardeola
- Eurasian oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus
Avocets and stilts
Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 9 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Djibouti.
The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow-black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats. There are 9 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Eurasian thick-knee, Burhinus oedicnemus
- Senegal thick-knee, Burhinus senegalensis
- Spotted thick-knee, Burhinus capensis
Pratincoles and coursers
Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long, pointed bills which curve downwards. There are 4 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Cream-colored courser, Cursorius cursor
- Double-banded courser, Smutsornis africanus
- Bronze-winged courser, Rhinoptilus chalcopterus
- Collared pratincole, Glareola pratincola
Plovers and lapwings
The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. There are 66 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Spur-winged plover, Vanellus spinosus
- Black-headed lapwing, Vanellus tectus
- Pacific golden-plover, Pluvialis fulva
- Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- Common ringed plover, Charadrius hiaticula
- Little ringed plover, Charadrius dubius
- Kittlitz's plover, Charadrius pecuarius
- Three-banded plover, Charadrius tricollaris
- Snowy plover, Charadrius alexandrinus
- Lesser sandplover, Charadrius mongolus
- Greater sandplover, Charadrius leschenaultii
- Caspian plover, Charadrius asiaticus
Sandpipers and allies
Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 24 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Common snipe, Gallinago gallinago
- Black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa
- Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Slender-billed curlew, Numenius tenuirostris (A)
- Eurasian curlew, Numenius arquata
- Spotted redshank, Tringa erythropus
- Common redshank, Tringa totanus
- Marsh sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis
- Common greenshank, Tringa nebularia
- Green sandpiper, Tringa ochropus
- Wood sandpiper, Tringa glareola
- Terek sandpiper, Xenus cinereus
- Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Little stint, Calidris minuta
- Temminck's stint, Calidris temminckii
- Long-toed stint, Calidris subminuta
- Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Broad-billed sandpiper, Calidris falcinellus
- Ruff, Calidris pugnax
- Red-necked phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus
Skuas and jaegers
The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 7 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Djibouti.
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls, terns and skimmers. Gulls are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years.
- White-eyed gull, Ichthyaetus leucophthalmus
- Sooty gull, Ichthyaetus hemprichii
- Herring gull, Larus argentatus
- Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
- Caspian gull, Larus cachinnans
- Armenian gull, Larus armenicus
- Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
- Slender-billed gull, Chroicocephalus genei
- Gull-billed tern, Gelochelidon nilotica
- Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia
- Lesser crested tern, Thalasseus bengalensis
- Sandwich tern, Thalasseus sandvicensis
- Greater crested tern, Thalasseus bergii
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- White-cheeked tern, Sterna repressa
- Little tern, Sternula albifrons
- Saunders's tern, Sternula saundersi
- Bridled tern, Onychoprion anaethetus
- Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscatus
- Whiskered tern, Chlidonias hybrida
- White-winged tern, Chlidonias leucopterus
- Black tern, Chlidonias niger
- Brown noddy, Anous stolidus
Sandgrouse have small, pigeon like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. Their legs are feathered down to the toes. There are 16 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, Pterocles exustus
- Spotted sandgrouse, Pterocles senegallus
- Lichtenstein's sandgrouse, Pterocles lichtensteinii
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia (I)
- Speckled pigeon, Columba guinea
- Rameron pigeon, Columba arquatrix
- European turtle dove, Streptopelia turtur
- African collared dove, Streptopelia roseogrisea
- Mourning collared dove, Streptopelia decipiens
- Ring-necked dove, Streptopelia capicola
- Laughing dove, Spilopelia senegalensis
- Black-billed wood-dove, Turtur abyssinicus
- Namaqua dove, Oena capensis
- Bruce's green pigeon, Treron waalia
Old World parrots
- Rose-ringed parakeet, Psittacula krameri
Cuckoos and anis
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. There are 138 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Pied cuckoo, Clamator jacobinus
- Great spotted cuckoo, Clamator glandarius
- Common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus
- African cuckoo, Cuculus gularis
- Senegal coucal, Centropus senegalensis
- White-browed coucal, Centropus superciliosus
The typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 195 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Djibouti.
- African scops-owl, Otus senegalensis
- Northern white-faced owl, Ptilopsis leucotis
- Spotted eagle-owl, Bubo africanus
- Verreaux's eagle-owl, Bubo lacteus
- Pearl-spotted owlet, Glaucidium perlatum
- Little owl, Athene noctua
- Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs and very short bills. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves. There are 6 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Eurasian nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus
- Nubian nightjar, Caprimulgus nubicus
- Plain nightjar, Caprimulgus inornatus
- Star-spotted nightjar, Caprimulgus stellatus
- Slender-tailed nightjar, Caprimulgus clarus
- Standard-winged nightjar, Caprimulgus longipennis
Swifts are small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang. There are 98 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in Djibouti.
- African palm-swift, Cypsiurus parvus
- Alpine swift, Tachymarptis melba
- Common swift, Apus apus
- Pallid swift, Apus pallidus
- Little swift, Apus affinis
- White-rumped swift, Apus caffer
The mousebirds are slender greyish or brown birds with soft, hairlike body feathers and very long thin tails. They are arboreal and scurry through the leaves like rodents in search of berries, fruit and buds. They are acrobatic and can feed upside down. All species have strong claws and reversible outer toes. They also have crests and stubby bills. There are 6 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Djibouti.
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Malachite kingfisher, Corythornis cristatus
- African pygmy kingfisher, Ispidina picta
- Grey-headed kingfisher, Halcyon leucocephala
The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colourful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Little bee-eater, Merops pusillus
- White-throated bee-eater, Merops albicollis
- Blue-cheeked bee-eater, Merops persicus
- European bee-eater, Merops apiaster
Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are 12 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Djibouti.
- European roller, Coracias garrulus
- Abyssinian roller, Coracias abyssinica
- Lilac-breasted roller, Coracias caudata
Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Djibouti.
- Hoopoe, Upupa epops
The woodhoopoes are related to the kingfishers, rollers and hoopoes. They most resemble the hoopoes with their long curved bills, used to probe for insects, and short rounded wings. However, they differ in that they have metallic plumage, often blue, green or purple, and lack an erectile crest. There are 8 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Djibouti.
- Black-billed woodhoopoe, Phoeniculus somaliensis
Hornbills are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow's horn, but without a twist, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. Frequently, the bill is brightly coloured. There are 2 species which occur in Djibouti.
The barbets are plump birds, with short necks and large heads. They get their name from the bristles which fringe their heavy bills. Most species are brightly coloured.
Woodpeckers and allies
Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks.
- Eurasian wryneck, Jynx torquilla
- Nubian woodpecker, Campethera nubica
- Cardinal woodpecker, Chloropicus fuscescens
- Mountain grey woodpecker, Chloropicus spodocephalus
Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are 91 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Chestnut-backed sparrow-lark, Eremopterix leucotis
- Black-crowned sparrow-lark, Eremopterix nigriceps
- Desert lark, Ammomanes deserti
- Greater hoopoe-lark, Alaemon alaudipes
- Bimaculated lark, Melanocorypha bimaculata
- Greater short-toed lark, Calandrella brachydactyla
- Crested lark, Galerida cristata
Swallows and martins
The family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Sand martin, Riparia riparia
- Pale crag martin, Ptyonoprogne obsoleta
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
- Ethiopian swallow, Hirundo aethiopica
- Common house martin, Delichon urbicum
Wagtails and pipits
Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 54 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in Djibouti.
- White wagtail, Motacilla alba
- African pied wagtail, Motacilla aguimp
- Citrine wagtail, Motacilla citreola
- Yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava
- Grey wagtail, Motacilla cinerea
- African pipit, Anthus cinnamomeus
- Tawny pipit, Anthus campestris
- Long-billed pipit, Anthus similis
- Tree pipit, Anthus trivialis
- Red-throated pipit, Anthus cervinus
Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colourful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throats or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests. There are 130 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Djibouti.
- Common bulbul, Pycnonotus barbatus
Thrushes and allies
The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs.
- Song thrush, Turdus philomelos
Cisticolas and allies
The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub. There are 5 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Zitting cisticola, Cisticola juncidis
- Desert cisticola, Cisticola aridulus
- Graceful prinia, Prinia gracilis
- Red-fronted prinia, Prinia rufifrons
- Green-backed camaroptera, Camaroptera brachyura
- Yellow-bellied eremomela, Eremomela icteropygialis
- Northern crombec, Sylvietta brachyura
- Sedge warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
- Eurasian reed warbler, Acrocephalus scirpaceus
- Great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus
- Basra reed warbler, Acrocephalus griseldis
- Eastern olivaceous warbler, Iduna pallida
- Upcher's warbler, Hippolais languida
- Olive-tree warbler, Hippolais olivetorum
- Brown woodland warbler, Phylloscopus umbrovirens
- Willow warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus
- Common chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita
- Wood warbler, Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Old World warblers
The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. They mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs.
- Eurasian blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla
- Garden warbler, Sylvia borin
- Greater whitethroat, Sylvia communis
- Lesser whitethroat, Sylvia curruca
- African desert warbler, Sylvia deserti
- Barred warbler, Sylvia nisoria
- Western Orphean warbler, Sylvia hortensis
- Arabian warbler, Sylvia leucomelaena
- Rüppell's warbler, Sylvia ruppeli
- Subalpine warbler, Sylvia cantillans
- Menetries's warbler, Sylvia mystacea
Old World flycatchers
Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is highly varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls.
- Common rock thrush, Monticola saxatilis
- Blue rock thrush, Monticola solitarius
- Spotted flycatcher, Muscicapa striata
- Gambaga flycatcher, Muscicapa gambagae
- Thrush nightingale, Luscinia luscinia
- Common nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos
- White-throated robin, Irania gutturalis
- Red-backed scrub-robin, Cercotrichas leucophrys
- Rufous-tailed scrub robin, Cercotrichas galactotes
- Black scrub robin, Cercotrichas podobe
- Black redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros
- Common redstart, Phoenicurus phoenicurus
- Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
- African stonechat, Saxicola torquatus
- White-tailed wheatear, Oenanthe leucopyga
- Hooded wheatear, Oenanthe monacha
- Northern wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe
- Pied wheatear, Oenanthe pleschanka
- Black-eared wheatear, Oenanthe hispanica
- Kurdish wheatear, Oenanthe xanthoprymna
- Desert wheatear, Oenanthe deserti
- Isabelline wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina
- Red-breasted wheatear, Oenanthe bottae
- Heuglin's wheatear, Oenanthe heuglini (A)
- Blackstart, Cercomela melanura
The wattle-eyes, or puffback flycatchers, are small stout passerine birds of the African tropics. They get their name from the brightly coloured fleshy eye decorations found in most species in this group. There are 31 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Djibouti.
- Grey-headed batis, Batis orientalis
The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines which hunt by flycatching. There are 99 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Djibouti.
- African paradise flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis
Sunbirds and spiderhunters
The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed. There are about 130 species worldwide and 3 or 4 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Pygmy sunbird, Hedydipna platura
- Nile Valley sunbird, Hedydipna metallica
- Shining sunbird, Cinnyris habessinicus
- Toha sunbird or Djibouti sunbird, Chalcomitra sp. indet.
The white-eyes are small and mostly undistinguished, their plumage above being generally some dull colour like greenish-olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests, many species have a white ring around each eye. There is 1 species which occurs in Djibouti.
- Abyssinian white-eye, Zosterops abyssinicus
Old World orioles
The Old World orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles. There are 29 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Djibouti.
- Eurasian golden oriole, Oriolus oriolus
Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey.
- Red-backed shrike, Lanius collurio
- Isabelline shrike, Lanius isabellinus
- Red-tailed shrike, Lanius phoenicuroides
- Great grey shrike, Lanius excubitor
- Lesser grey shrike, Lanius minor
- Somali fiscal, Lanius somalicus
- Masked shrike, Lanius nubicus
Bushshrikes and allies
Bushshrikes are similar in habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush. Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be either colourful species or largely black; some species are quite secretive. There are 46 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Black-crowned tchagra, Tchagra senegala
- Red-naped bushshrike, Laniarius ruficeps
- Ethiopian boubou, Laniarius aethiopicus
- Rosy-patched bushshrike, Rhodophoneus cruentus
The drongos are mostly black or dark grey in colour, sometimes with metallic tints. They have long forked tails, and some Asian species have elaborate tail decorations. They have short legs and sit very upright when perched, like a shrike. They flycatch or take prey from the ground. There are 24 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Djibouti.
- Fork-tailed drongo, Dicrurus adsimilis
Crows, jays, ravens and magpies
The family Corvidae includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence. There are 120 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Djibouti.
- House crow, Corvus splendens
- Pied crow, Corvus albus
- Brown-necked raven, Corvus ruficollis
- Somali crow, Corvus edithae
- Fan-tailed raven, Corvus rhipidurus
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen.
- European starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Wattled starling, Creatophora cinerea
- Violet-backed starling, Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
- White-crowned starling, Lamprotornis albicapillus
- Somali starling, Onychognathus blythii
- Red-billed oxpecker, Buphagus erythrorhynchus
Weavers and allies
The weavers are small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black, some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season. There are 116 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Lesser masked weaver, Ploceus intermedius
- Rueppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
- Red-billed quelea, Quelea quelea
Waxbills and allies
The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have wide variation in plumage colours and patterns. There are 141 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Djibouti.
- Green-winged pytilia, Pytilia melba
- Red-billed firefinch, Lagonosticta senegala
- Red-cheeked cordonbleu, Uraeginthus bengalus
- Crimson-rumped waxbill, Estrilda rhodopyga
- African silverbill, Euodice cantans
The indigobirds are finch-like species which usually have black or indigo predominating in their plumage. All are brood parasites, which lay their eggs in the nests of estrildid finches. There are 20 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Djibouti.
Buntings, sparrows, seedeaters and allies
The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with distinctively shaped bills. In Europe, most species are called buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns.
- Ortolan bunting, Emberiza hortulana
- Cretzschmar's bunting, Emberiza caesia
- Striolated bunting, Emberiza striolata
- Cinnamon-breasted bunting, Emberiza tahapisi
Siskins, crossbills and allies
Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well.
- Black-throated canary, Crithagra atrogularis
- Reichenow's seedeater, Crithagra reichenowi
- Trumpeter finch, Bucanetes githaginea
Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects.
- Somali sparrow, Passer castanopterus
- Grey-headed sparrow, Passer griseus
- Arabian golden-sparrow, Passer euchlorus
- Yellow-spotted petronia, Gymnoris pyrgita
- Pale rockfinch, Carpospiza brachydactyla
- Probably a new species, but almost unknown and not yet scientifically described.