Sri Lanka is a birder’s paradise. A tropical island in the Indian Ocean situated 10 degrees north of the equator, boasting of diverse and favourable climatic conditions and natural habitats such as forests, scrublands, grasslands, wetlands, seas and agricultural lands. The country is home to 439 species of birds of which 236 are breeding residents, 203 migrants and the rest vagrants. For a country as small as Sri Lanka having 33 endemic species and 68 endemic subspecies of birds with a species endemism of 11% goes to demonstrate why Sri Lanka is one of the finest birding destinations in the world. This includes endemics such as Fowls, Pigeons, Parrots, Parakeets, Malkoha, Coucal, Owl, Owlet, Hornbill, Barbet, Magpie, Bulbul, Warbler, Babbler, Thrush, White-eye, Mynah, Starling, Flycatcher, Flowerpecker, Pigeon, Barbet, Flameback, Woodshrike, Drongo and Swallow.
In addition there are close to 200 seasonal migratory birds both terrestrial and aquatic, moving away from the Northern winter travelling from as far as Siberia, Scandinavia and Western Europe, arriving around August /September and leaving around April/May. Since Sri Lanka is situated at the farthest southern point away from the south of India with no other landmass until the South Pole, the migrating birds end their long journey in Sri Lanka, making it a regular wintering ground. Some of the migrants include the Openbill, Ibis, Heron, Egrets, Pelicans, Comorant, Water-cock, Swamphen, Waterhen, Stilts, Duck and Grebe.
The main bird sanctuary in Sri Lanka is the Kumana National Park which is considered one of the most important nesting and breeding grounds in Sri Lanka. The Bundala national Park situated in the southernmost tip of the bird migratory route is a favourite birding ground where flocks of flamingos, herons and storks are a regular sight. The other places are the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, Sinharaja Rain Forest, Bodinagala Forest Reserve, Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, Kitulgala Forest Reserve, Yala, Wilpattu, Udawalawe, Wagamuwa, Minneriya andHorton Plains National Parks in addition to numerous tanks, reservoirs, lagoons, marshes, lakes and rivers.
Kumana National Park
Kumana National Park in Sri Lanka is renowned for its avifauna, particularly its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. The park is 391 kilometres (243 mi) southeast of Colombo on Sri Lanka’s southeastern coast.Kumana is contiguous with Yala National Park, Kumana was formerly known as Yala East National Park, but changed to its present name in 5 September 2006.
Bundala National Park
Bundala National Park is an internationally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala harbors 197 species of Birds, the highlight being the Greater Flamingo, which migrate in large flocks. Bundala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and redesignated to a national park on 4 January 1993. In 1991 Bundala became the first wetland to be declared as a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka. In 2005 the national park was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the fourth biosphere reserve in Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 245 kilometres (152 mi) southeast of Colombo.
Kaudulla National Park
Kaudulla National Park is a national park on the island of Sri Lanka located 197 kilometres (122 mi) away from the largest city, Colombo. It was designated a national park on April 1, 2002 becoming the 15th such area on the island. In the 2004–2005 season more than 10,000 people visited the National Park, generating an income of Rs.100,000 from entrance fees.Along with Minneriya and Girithale BirdLife International have identified Kaudulla as an Important Bird Area. Historically Kaudulla was one of the 16 irrigation tanks built by King Mahasen. Following a period of abandonment it was reconstructed in 1959. It now attracts and supports a variety of plant and animal life, including large mammals, fish and reptiles.
Horton Plains National Park is an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains.
Anawilundawa wetland sanctuary is located between the coast and the Chillav – Puttalam railway line of the North-Western province of Sri Lanka and covers an extent of 1400hectares. Anawilundawa is the second RAMSAR wetland site in Sri Lanka and has proudly recorded the sighting of more than 20, 000 birds of 150 species! Anawilundawa is marshy and packed with luscious vegetation. Water lilies such as Olu and Manel crowd the water-logged soil which is surrounded by tall grass with patches of thick forest growing here and there. It is one of the finest wetlands in the island for sighting water birds. During the migration season, a large variety of birds can be seen using this area as feeding ground as well as breeding ground. An abundant number of Waterfowl are found here including the Little Grebe, Lesser Whistling Duck and the Cotton Teal. Migrant birds like the Sand-piper, Pintail, Garganey Common and Pintail Snipe are seen seasonally. In addition to these water birds, large numbers of Asian Open-bill and Little Cormorants alsonest here.
Muthurajawela Marsh is situated towards the southern part of Negombo. The boundaries span from Negombo lagoon (which also helps to create a costal eco system) and Kelaniya River situated at the northern tip of Colombo. Muthurajawela is in close proximity to Colombo.Muthurajawela Marsh is said to be the island’s largest saline peat bog. It is believed to have originated about 7000 years ago. There are some residuals which extend up to 500 years towards the history from now. Muthurajawela bears staggering species of flora and fauna. Numerically 192 flora and 209 fauna,excluding 102 species of birds have been discovered. Some indigenous floras and faunas have also been found in Muthurajawela marsh. Visitors may see water birds such as herons, egrets in abundance in the lagoon and the marsh. It is also a residence for 40 different species of fish, of which 15 falls under the category of indigenous fauna. The nocturnal animal, slender Loris, which is believed to be endangered, can be seen once in a blue moon
Lying 25km east of the city of Kandy, the Knuckles mountain range exists as a unique ecosystem separate from the rest of the central hills. Covering a distance of about 12 miles Knuckles extends roughly from the northwest to the southwest of Sri Lanka. Over 120 bird species recorded here include many endemic ones including the yellow-fronted barbet, dusky-blue flycatcher, ceylon lorikeet, ceylon grackle, yellow-eared bulbul and Layard’s parakeet.
Kithulgala Forest Reserve
The Kithulgala forest is a secondary rain forest situated beside the Kelani River, one of our longest rivers. There is a tributary flowing through the forest to this river. The forest reserve has a high biodiversity. Though it is mostly secondary forest, it’s faunal and floral diversity is very similar to a primary forest. Wild boar, Toque Macaque, Purple faced leaf monkey, and Barking deer are some of the interesting mammal species. Among the interesting bird species Red faced Malkoha, Ceylon Blue Magpie, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Frog Mouth and Layard’s Parakeet are outstanding
Some of these parks are not opened all the year, and some have seasons to visit if you are targeting for bird watching, so let us know your requirements , we will let you know the availability.