Ever since we moved to Ethiopia I have become a bird enthusiast. Lately I learned that a lion’s share of all tourists that enter the country are either ornitologists or bird lovers. I don’t question that notion at all. There are so many beautiful, endemic birds in Ethiopia.
Out of the 835 bird species known in Ethiopia 23 are endemic, meaning these birds cannot be found outside the borders of this country.
A bird called ruppell’s robin chat resides outside our bedroom window and consistently starts its beautiful, melodic singing around 5:30 in the morning. No exceptions. This beautiful bird competes with the local church singers who also start at that time or earlier.
Why does the ruppell’s robin chat, or in general birds sing in the morning?
According to scientists the dawn chorus of birds, often taking place as early as 4 am, is louder and livelier than birdsong at any other time of the day.
The dawn singers are usually males luring mates or desperately singing their enemies away; here’s my song, do take note that this is my territory, la la la laaa.
One theory is that dawn is a perfect time to sing since it is too dark for birds to do any foraging.
Another theory is that since singing is such an essential part of a bird’s life, singing as a first act in the morning signals to others that this bird one is a strong one, this one is a keeper!
The early singing is like communicating to other birds: Look at me! I survived the night! I am a good companion! I am still aware that this is my territory!
Research shows that birdsong in the morning is clearer and more consistent than during other times.
So there you go.
There is always a reason for everything in nature.
Here are some bird personalities I’ve gotten to know in Ethiopia.