In a survey of adult ticks infesting livestock in Ethiopia, 33 species and subspecies were identified. The distribution and abundance of each are discussed in relation to ecology (altitude, climate and vegetation). Amblyomma variegatum (F.) is the most widespread and abundant tick parasitising cattle. A. cohaerens Dön. is common on cattle in wetter western habitats but is replaced by A. gemma Dön. in drier eastern areas. A. lepidum Dön. occupies intermediate habitats. The distribution of Boophilus decoloratus (Koch) is similar to that of A. variegatum. Hyalomma truncatum Koch and H. marginatum rufipes Koch are both common except in extremely arid and humid zones. H. anatolicum anatolicum Koch, H. anatolicum excavatum Koch, H. dromedarii Koch, H. erythraeum Tonelli-Rondelli, and H. impeltatum Schulze & Schlottke are usually associated with camels in semi-arid areas of eastern Ethiopia. Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi Neum., R. sanguineus (Latr.) group and R. simus Koch do not display marked ecological preferences. East of the Rift Valley in semi-arid areas below 2000 m, R. pulchellus (Gerst.) is abundant on cattle and camels. R. longicoxatus Neum. and R. pravus Dön. inhabit drier localities, but R. lunulatus Neum. occurs only in wetter western areas. Species taken infrequently were A. nuttalli Dön., A. sparsum Neum., B. annulatus (Say), Haemaphysalis aciculifer Warb., H. leachii (Aud.), H. parmata Neum., H. spinulosa Neum., Hyalomma marginatum marginatum Koch, H. marginatum turanicum Pom., H. punt Hoogst., Kaiser & Pedersen, Ornithodoros savignyi (Aud.), R. longus Neum., R. muhsamae Morel & Vassiliades, and R. senegalensis Koch. The seasonal dynamics of the common species and observations on their relationships to tick-borne diseases of man and domestic animals are discussed.