Tropical weather and the magnificently varied landscape ranging from hill country to lowlands and jungles to marshlands, make bird watching in Sri Lanka beyond phenomenal. More than half of the 427 recorded bird species have made the island their home country and as many as 23 are endemic. The initial migratory species arrive around mid-August each year, adding to the panoramic color and vibrance of the island, making it a true haven for bird watching. In Sri Lanka, during that time, large fleets of terns, sandpipers, plovers, and harriers among others from all over the world including India, Siberia, Scandinavia, and Western Europe can be found.
The Sri Lankan grackle and many of the endemic species are usually found in the wet zone while the hill country too boasts species such as the whistling thrush and the Yellow-eared bulbul. Any tour of bird watching in Sri Lanka is not complete without a sighting of a Sri Lankan jungle fowl and also the exotic red-faced malkoha found in most forests and sanctuaries. Large flocks of ducks can be found in the dry zone while stork, pelican, and heron thrive in the wetlands.
Popular Bird Watching Locations
For a complete bird watching experience in Sri Lanka, bird sanctuary enthusiasts cannot miss a visit to Kumana (Yala East) National Park, a paradise haven for a multitude of birds. Situated in the southeast of Sri Lanka, the sanctuary also features a natural swamp lake, Kumana Villu, which is home to painted storks, spoonbills, egrets and even the very rare black-necked stork.
The Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary with its lagoons and mangrove swamps, is home to many species of water birds while the Bodhinagala sanctuary boasts about 150 species of birds including numerous endemics such as the Sri Lanka spurfowl, green-billed coucal and the spot-winged thrush among others. The Knuckles mountain range spanning a distance of about 12 miles from the northwest to the southwest, is also a fantastic spot for bird watching in Sri Lanka . The endemic species here include the yellow-fronted barbet, Ceylon lorikeet and the dusky-blue flycatcher.
The Horton Plains national park, the Udawatte Kele bird sanctuary, the Kitulgala forest reserve and the Kandalama bird sanctuary are all beautifully coloured with the vibrant life of birds. Watching these amazing creatures is not a past-time restricted to a single part of the country but an adventure from wherever you are in the glorious island nation.