Bird watching

Sri Lanka is a birds paradise with 435 resident species. There are 27 endemic birds. Most of them are found in the wet zone. The winter migrants come from distant Siberia and Western Europe. The reservoirs attract vast number of water birds. The forests attract many other species. There are many birds sanctuaries across the little island 270 km by 140 km in size.

Horton Plains National Park

Within the Nuwara Eliya district and the only National Park located in the Hill Country, this boats some superb panoramic scenery, with the famous World’s End a major attraction. Endemic loris and purple monkey are among the important animal species, as well as sambur and endemic avifauna.

Udawatta Kele Bird Sanctuary

About lkm (0.6 miles) east of Trinity College, off Wewelpitiya Road, this is one of Sri Lanka’s more accessible bird sanctuaries. It is a stretch of wilderness only a stone’s throw from the city center with towering forest giants and creepers giving shelter to bird species including Layard’s parakeet, Sri Lanka hanging parrot, yellowfronted barbet, black capped bulbul, emerald dove, three species of kingfisher, chestnut-headed bee eater and Tickells’s blue fly catcher. It is also the home of scores of macaque monkeys, and huge, vividly painted butterflies float across the paths.

Kandalama Sanctuary

There is 55 acre forest with a variety of trees, some 100 years or more in age, around the Kandalama tank including medicinal plants and a rich and varied bird life. Kandalama offers one of the best bird watching opportunities in the north central province.

The diversity in habitat and the tank provides the visitors the opportunity to observe more than 145 species, which is almost one third of total number of bird life in Sri Lanka. This population consists of the arboreal, terrestrial and aquatic birds. One can also observe many waders and raptors too.

Knuckles Range

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

Bodhinagala (Dombagaskanda)

Situated surrounding a Buddhist monastery, this tropical rain forest is rich in fauna and flora and is a good birding venue in the western province, close to Colombo. There are close to 150 species of birds recorded including several endemics such as Legge’s Flowerpecker, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Spot-winged Thrush and the endangered Green-billed Coucal. . Some of the other birds recorded here include Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Large Cuckooshrike and Indian Blue Robin. Some of the reptiles recorded here are Earless Lizard and Humped-nosed Lizard. You can also see a wide diversity of butterflies which includes Yamfly, Malayan, Tawny Rajah and Cingalese Bushbrown. You could also see many fish species such as Giant Danio, Smooth-breasted Snakehead, Horadandiya and the rare Jonklaas’s Loach.

Kalmateiya Bird Sanctuary

The Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest Bird Sanctuaries . The sanctuary is a wetland with two salty lagoons, mangrove swamps and open areas with pockets of scrub jungles. A mature mangrove swamp, home to a variety of water birds. The best time to see birds is from November to March. You can also see herds of Elephants.

Bird Watching – Colombo

Situated 11 km. from the Colombo, the Zoo has a fine collection of animals, birds, reptiles and fish from all over the world. The aquarium is the only one of its kind in Asia and displays over 500 varieties of aquatic life. Also walk in through Aviary, Reptilium, Butterfly Park. There are daily elephant performance at 5.15 p.m.