Bird Watching Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a tropical island rich in so many resources and extraordinary natural biodiversity. Birds watching in Sri Lanka is a must for all the nature lovers around the world. There are plenty of places you can go of bird watching in Sri Lanka. The birdlife of Sri Lanka is very opulent for its size and about 433 species have been recorded now. In addition to the many resident birds, a considerable number of migratory species winter in the country to escape their northern breeding grounds.
Bird distribution of Sri Lanka is largely determined by its climatic zones. The dry zone is largest of the three, wet zone includes few rain forests where humidity is high and the central hill zone has always cold temperature. Most of the endemic species are confined to the wet and hill zones, with only a few extending into the dry zone as well. There are many bird sanctuaries across the country 270km by 140km in size. Kumana is one such best place among them which is situated on the southern coast. Some other great bird watching places you should go when
you travel Sri Lanka are, Bundala, Kalamatiya, Udawatte Kale, Sinharaja Rain Forest, Hortain Plains, Bellanwila, Muthurajawela, Kitulgala, Minipe, Yala and Udawalawe National Parks.
Apart from these locations, you can capture birds throughout the country near small forests, lakes, lagoons and riversides’ during your travel. You can definitely have a great time here and make beautiful memories with discovering birds in Sri Lanka. There are 452 species which are resident, of which 33 are endemic. The other resident species are also found in the nearby Indian mainland, but over 80 have developed distinct Sri Lankan races. Some of these races are very different in their plumage characteristics from the related forms in India.
The water bodies and mangroves of Kumana provide particularly very important habitat for Birds. The total area of the park contains 18,149 hectares which are surrounded by plains and jungle. A few special bird species that you can see in here are; Lesser Whistling Teal, Spot-Billed Pelican, Openbill, Purple Coot, Common Coot, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Black-Winged Stilt, Yellow Wattled Lapwing, Jungle Owlet, Black-Necked, White- Necked & Painted Storks, etc.
Sinharaja Rain Forest
Sinharaja world heritage rain forest spreads over a wide elevation range of 300m – 1100m. It is rich in birdlife with an impressive 147 species recorded to date. It is also the only location where 21 out of 26 bird species endemic to Sri Lanka may be viewed. A few endemic and other species thought to be confined to the hill zone i.e. the Sri Lanka White-eye (Zosterops
ceylonensis), the Scaly Thrush (Zoothera dauma), the Wood Pigeon (Columba torrigtoni), the Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Muscicapa Sordid) and the Yellow-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus penicillatus), have also been sighted at this area.
Situated in Nuwara Eliya district and as the only National park located in the Hill Country, this bears some superb stunning scenery, with the famous World’s End a major attraction. The park covers an area of 3,160 hectares of montane grassland fringed and interspersed with patches of dense montane cloud forests. Most of the species of hill Birds can be easily seen here during any walk in the park which is through forested areas, grasslands, and streams.
Udawatte Kale Bird Sanctuary
This is one of Sri Lanka’s more accessible bird sanctuaries which is situated in the Wewelpitiya Road in Kandy. 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, Yellow-fronted Barbet, black-capped bulbul, emerald dove, three species of kingfisher, Chestnut-headed bee-eater and Tickell’s blue flycatcher.
Bundala Bird Sanctuary
Bundala is the first site in the country to get Ramsar status and is the most important site for resident as well as migrant water Birds outside the northern part of the country. The park
consists of 6,216 hectares of dense thorny scrub, sand dunes, and five shallow brackish lagoons. Birds in here are; Greater Flamingo, Pintail, Garganey, Shoveller, Little Stint, Ruddy Turnstone, Common, Wood & Marsh Sandpipers, Common Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Pratincole, Black-Winged Stilt, Black-Backed Yellow Woodpecker, Ceylon Jungle Fowl and many more.