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Bird watching tours in Sri Lanka

This birding tour is mainly focused on birds of Sri Lanka with all endemic birds. We try to show you more than 200 birds including all 33 endemics in this tour. This is one of the best birding holidays you can get for an attractive price; an excellent bird watching tour for bird lovers.

For a small island Sri Lanka has a rich bird fauna, and many passionate bird lovers rank Sri Lanka among their favorite destinations. 426 bird species have been seen in Sri Lanka, and 33 of these are endemic to Sri Lanka, that is, found nowhere else (this number may soon be revised upwards based on a new taxonomic study). Between October and April, many migrants visit the isle, traveling as far away as Siberia . Another noteworthy feature of Sri Lanka 's avifauna is the presence of mixed-species flocks, which makes watching birds both easy and interesting, since one can study carefully the interactions between different species.


Serendip Scops Owl at Sinharaja Rain Forest, Sri Lanka - A WalkWithJith tour
Photo by Jane Dixon. Read their tour review and comments.See all photos here >>

Let us plan your tour.

All our birding tours are tailor-made tours. We can cutomize these birding tours in Sri Lanka to suit your requirements.

Duration: about 7 – 14 days. Can be extended

Best time to visit: From October to end of March

Group size: Individual, couple or groups of up to 10

Birding Tour Guide: Our birdwatching tour guides are friendly, Sri Lankan, well experienced and has a very good knowledge of birds of Sri Lanka, birding sites and National Parks. All our guides are licensed tour guids from the Tourist Board of Sri Lanka. Walk With Jith's guides will aslo use the services of local tour guides, villagers in sertain places.

Extensions: Culture, Wildlife, Whale and Dolphin Watching, Butterfly and dragonfly watching, beach stay.
   You can extend this tour with visit to cultural, and World Heritage Archeological Sites. Whale and dolphin watching is another good extension to the tour. In this tour, preferably at the end, you can be a relaxing in a tropical sandy beach as per your wish.

This tour can be modified for professional photographers' needs. See our Bird, Wildlife and Nature Photography Tours in Sri Lanka

Birding sites:
Below we have listed best sites for bird watching. Give us your guideline we will help you to select the sites.

It will be very useful to telephone you to discuss your individual travel arrangements. So if you wish, please let us know your telephone number when you enquire.

For enquiries please contact.

Whale and Dolphin watching.

Please enquire to include Whale and Dolphin watching to your bird watching tour.

Comments / Reviews / Testimonials:

Here are our latest trip reports: Sri Lanka Birding Trip Reports

 

 

Best Bird Watching Sites in Sri Lanka, covered in our tour plans

Birding Sites In Sri Lanka

  1. Kitulgala Rain Forest
  2. Sigiriya Sanctuary
  3. Udawatta Kele Forest Reserve
  4. Horton Plains
  5. Victoria Park in Nuwara Eliya
  6. Hakgala Botanical Gardens
  7. Yala National Park
  8. Bundala Wetland and Bundala National Park
  9. Udawalawa National Park
  10. Sinharaja Rain Forest
  11. Talangama Wetland
  12. Anawilundawa Wetland

 

  1. Kitulgala Rain Forest (Kelani Valley Forest Reserve) - Kitulgala forest is secondary lowland rain forest reserve to protect the water shed of the Kelani River . The forest area extending up to the higher elevations, continuous with the Peak wilderness forest area, one of the best places to see Sri Lanka 's endemic birds.

    Highlights - Green billed Caucal, Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Yellow fronted Barbet, Red faced Malkoha, Spot winged Thrush, Rofous Babbler, Ashey headed Laughingthrush, with lesser Yellow napped, Pygmy and Crimson backed wood peckers, Black Bulbul, Black napped Monarch and Ceylon frog mouth etc.

  2. Sigiriya sanctuary – Situated in and around the famous Sigiriya Rock this sanctuary is adjacent to the Minneriya National park. It is mainly a dry evergreen forest also with shrub forests, and dry deciduous forest. This is an ideal place to photograph forest birds such as Peacocks, Eagles and beautiful migrant Indian Pitta. The fauna also includes an elephant population—which migrates to the area from time to time—Sambar Deer and two varieties of monkeys.

  3. Udawatte Kelle Sanctuary, Dunumadalawa Forest reserve and Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya are good places for birds including a few endemics such as Layard's Parakeets, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Yellow fronted Barbet, Brown capped Babbler, White rumped Shama, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher etc.

  4. Horton Plains National Park - Horton plains, its surroundings mountain forests and grasslands constitute Sri Lanka 's most important catchment area of most all major rivers. The plains are also of outstanding scenic beauty. It is of conservation importance, containing most of the habitats and endemics plants and animals representatives of the country's wet and montane zones.

    Highlights - A reliable site for the crepuscular Sri Lanka whistling Thrush (E), Endemic endangered bird. SL Blue Magpie (E), Mountain Hawk Eagle, Black Eagle, SL Hill Munia, Dull Blue flycatcher (E), Yellow eared Bulbul (E), Pied Bush Chat, Grey Tit, Black Bird, Sri Lanka Bush Wabler (E), Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon (E) etc.

  5. Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya - Nuwara Eliya is a popular hill resort providing cool and pleasant base for a number of Montane sites which include Victoria Park and Hakgala Botanical Garden . The spreading hills and vales are covered with the world's best high grown tea bushes like a green carpet. The fragrance of fresh tea leaves from the tea factories infuse the mild air.

    Highlights - Sri Lanka white Eye (E), Sri Lanka Bush Wabler (E), Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon (E), Dull Blue Flycatcher (E), Indian Blue Robin, Canary Flycatcher, Black Bird etc. (Hakgala)
    Black bird, Yellow earned Bulbul (E), Pied Thrush, Canary Fly catcher, Indian Pitta, Green Sandpiper etc. (Victoria Park)

  6. Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya -

    Highlights - Sri Lanka white Eye (E), Sri Lanka Bush Wabler (E), Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon (E), Dull Blue Flycatcher (E), Indian Blue Robin, Canary Flycatcher, Black Bird etc. (Hakgala)
    Black bird, Yellow earned Bulbul (E), Pied Thrush, Canary Fly catcher, Indian Pitta, Green Sandpiper etc. (Victoria Park)

  7. Yala National Park (Ruhuna National Park) - The best park in Sri Lanka for viewing mammals but rich with birds too. Yala characteristic of dry zone tropical thorn forest, Scrub jungles, brackish lagoons and riverine habitats. Raptors could often be seen. During the North- East monsoon the lagoons are visited by thousands of migrating waders, turns and water birds.

    Highlights - Crested serpent Eagle, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Tank Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Black necked Storks, Painted Storke, Lesser Adjutant, Sirkeer Malkoha, Blue Faced Malkoha, Green and Eurasian Bee eater, Brahmany Myna, Rosy Starting, Hoopoo Pee Fowl, Pigeons and Doves, Parakeets and many more waders, Turns, Water birds etc.

  8. Bundala Wetland and Bundala National Park - This is the First Ramsor site in Sri Lanka and it is the most important wetland for birds outside the Northern Province . The lagoons and saltants of the park are among the most important wintering areas for migratory shore birds in the Country.

    Highlights - Greater Flamingo, Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl (E), Great Egret, Asian Open Bill, Black winged Stilt, Yellow wattled Lapwings, Painted Storks and Large numbers of migrants including Plovers, Sand Pipers, Turnes and Ducks, Rosy Starling, Bharahuramy Myna etc.

  9. Uda Walawa National Park - This park is situated in the Dry Zone and renowned for its out standing scenic beauty and wealth of faunal species, particularly mammals and birds. The possibility to view the elephants at close range has become another main attraction.

    Highlights - Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl, Sri Lanka Grey Horn Bill (E), Malabar pied Horn Bill, Woolly - necked Stork, Black headed Ibies, Black shouldered Kite, Crested Serpent Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Shikra, Sirkeer Malkoha, Blue faced Malkoha etc.

  10. Sinharaja Old Growth Rain forest - One of the best and easy sites. To see many of the endemics and mixed species birds feeding flocks. A UNESCO world heritage site since 1988 and home for the most endemic flora and fauna species in Sri Lanka.

    Mixed species of bird flocks are one of the most interesting experience of the forest. As per very recent observations, this flocks reveal that over 40 individuals and 11 varieties of bird species averagely.

    Highlights - Endemic birds such as Sri Lanka Magpie including Serendib Scops Owl who discovered very recently to the world.

  11. Talangama wetland - This wetland, on the outskirts of Colombo, is bordered by motorable roads, which makes access easy for wildlife enthusiasts. The complex of ponds, canals and paddy fields make it a rich and varied wetland site. Over a hundred species of birds have been recorded in this area including Purple-faced Leaf Monkeys, an endangered endemic species. Talangama is also good for photographing butterflies and dragonflies.

    Highlights - Pied Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Stork billed Kingfisher, Black Bittern, Yellow Bittern, Cinnomon Bittern, Crimson fronted Barbet, Black rumped Flameback

  12. Anawilundawa wetland – Another Ramsar Wetland in Sri Lanka. Very good area for photographing butterflies and dragonflies. Today this area is very popular among bird watchers and nature lovers. During migration season, a large variety of birds can be seen using this area as feeding ground as well as breeding ground. Anawilundawa covers 1,397ha lying between the costal line and the Negombo - Putlam railway line. This wetland consists of six ancient manmade tanks and 3 peripheral tanks with paddy fields and village areas.

    Highlights
    - Pied Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Stork billed Kingfisher, Black Bittern, Yellow Bittern, Cinnomon Bittern, Crimson fronted Barbet, Black rumped Flameback, Blue faced Malkoha, Brown Fish Owl, Chestnut winged Cockoo

For further details please contact.

Price:

Please contact us for latest prices.

Prices may vary slightly according to special requests.

Transport:

Comfortable air conditioned van with experienced driver.

For further details on birding holiday tours in Sri Lanka please contact.

Stork billed Kingfisher was taken during a bird watching photography tour
Stork billed Kingfisher was taken during a bird watching photography tour
in Sri Lanka by Walk With Jith, at Bundala National Park.
source: http://www.birdnet.cn/showtopic-330639-1.aspx###

 

Specialty Birds of Sri Lanka to be expected in this bird watching tour

Endemic Birds to Sri Lanka:

Sibly and Monroe, Who revised the recent  modern Bird Taxonomy in 1990, have mentioned that there are 23 numbers of birds species, are endemic to Sri Lanka. Later in 1994 Priyantha Wijesinghe in his Bird Checklist of Sri Lanka has increased the number to 26. Then, in 2004 Pamela C. Rasmussen, in her book on Birds of South Asia (Rasmussen and Anderton) further increased the number to 33.

  • Ceylon Spurfowl
    Galloperdix bicalcarata
  • Ceylon Jungle Fowl
    Gallus lafayetii
  • Ceylon Wood Pigeon
    Columba torringtonii
  • Ceylon Hanging Parrot
    Loriculus beryllinus
  • Layard's Parakeet
    Psittacula calthropae
  • Red-faced Malkoha
    Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus
  • Green-billed Coucal
    Centropu chlororhynchos
  • Chestnut-backed Owlet
    Glaucidium castanonotum
  • Ceylon Grey Hombill
    Ocyceros gingalensis
  • Yellow- fronted Barbet
    Megalaima flavifrons
  • Yellow-eared Bulbul
    Pycnonotus penicillatus
  • Ceylon Whistling- Thrush
    Myophonus blighi
  • Spot-winged Ground- Thrush
    Zoothera spiloptera
  • Sri Lanka Bush-Warbler
    Elaphrornis palliseri
  • Dusky-blue Flycatcher
    Eumyias sordidus
  • Brown-capped Babbler
    Pellorneum fuscocapillus
  • Ceylon Rufous Babbler
    Turdoides rufescens
  • Ashy-headed Laughingthrush
    Garrulax cinereifrons
  • Legge's Flowerpecker
    Dicaeum vincens
  • Ceylon White-eye
    Zosterops ceylonensis
  • Ceylon Blue Magpie
    Urocissa ornata
  • White-faced Starling
    Sturnia albofrontata
  • Sri Lanka Myna
    Gracula ptilogenys
  • Ceylon Small Barbet
    Megalaima rubricapillus
  • Black-capped Bulbul
    Pycnonotus melanicterus
  • Black-throated Munia
    Lonchura kelaarti
  • Pompadour Green Pigeon
    Treron pompadora
  • Serendib Scops-Owl
    Otus hoffmaninii
  • Crimson-backed Flameback
    Chrysocolaptes stricklandi
  • Ceylon Swallow
    Hirundo hyperythra
  • Ceylon Woodshrike
    Tephrodornis affinis
  • Ceylon Scaly Thrush
    Zoothera imbricata
  • Ceylon Scimitar-Babbler
    Pomatorhinus {schisticeps} melanurus
  • Ceylon Crested Drongo
    Dicrurus lophorinus


Birds found only in Sri Lanka and India

  • Blue-faced Malkoha
    Rhopodyres viridirostris
  • Dark-fronted Babbler
    Rhopocichla atriceps
  • Indian Swiflet
    Aerodramus unicolor
  • Jerdon's Nightjar
    Caprimulgus atripennis
  • Jungle Bush-Quail
    Perdicula asiatica
  • Long-billed Sunbird
    Nectarinia litenia lotenia
  • Malabar Pied-Hornbill
    Anthracoceros coronatus
  • Malabar Trogon
    Harpactes faciatus
  • Painted Francolin
    Francolinus pictus watsoni
  • Sri Lanka Fronmouth
    Batrachostomus moniliger
  • White Browed Bulbul
    Pycnonotus luteolus insulae
  • Yellowbrowed Bulbul
    Hypsipetes indicus


Globally threatened birds found in Sri Lanka

Critical - none

Endangered

  • Spotted Greenshank
    Triuga guttfer
  • Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush (Endemic)
    Myophonus blighi

Vulnerable

  • Spot-billed Pelican
    Pelecanus philippensis
  • Lesser Adjutant
    Leptoptilos javanicus
  • Lesser Kestrel
    Falco maumanni
  • Sociable Lapwing
    Vanellus gregarius
  • Wood Snipe
    Gallinago nemoricola
  • Spoon-billed Sandpiper
    Eurynorhynches pygmeus
  • Kashmir Flycatcher
    Ficeduja subrubra
  • Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon (Endemic)
    Columba torringtonii
  • Red Faced Malkoha (Endemic)
    Phaenicophaeus pyrr
  • Green-billed Coucal (Endemic)
    Centropus chlororynchus
  • ashy-headed Laughingthrush (Endemic)
    Garrulax cinereifrons
  • White-faced Starling (Endemic)
    Sturnus senex
  • Sri Lanka Blue Magpie (Endemic)
    Urocissa ornata

Near Threatened

  • Oriental Dater
    Anhinga melanogaster
  • Painted Stork
    Mycteria leucocephala
  • Black-necked Stork
    Ephiporhynchus asiaricus
  • Black-headed Ibis
    Threskiornis melanocephalus
  • Grey-headed Fish Eagle
    Fchthyophaga ichthyaetus
  • Pallid Harrier
    Circus macrourus
  • Great Snipe
    Gallinago media
  • Asian Dowitcher
    Limnodromus semipalmatus
  • Malabar Pied Hornbill
    Anthracoceros coronatus
  • Chesnut-backed Owlet (Endemic)
    Glaucidium castanonotum
  • Yellow-eared Bulbul (Endemic)
    Pycnonotus penicillatus
  • Spot-winged Thrush (Endemic)
    Soothera spiloptera
  • Orange-billed Babbler (Endemic)
    Turdoides rufescens
  • Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (Endemic)
    Bradypterus pallisexi
  • Dull-blue Flycatcher (Endemic)
    Eumyias sordida
  • White-throated Flowerpecker (Endemic)
    Dicaeum vincens
  • Sri Lanka Mynah (Endemic)
    Gracula ptilogenys

Links for more information

For further details on our birding tours to Sri Lanka please contact.

 

Migration routes of birds to and from Sri Lanka

According to the geographical location in the Indian Continent, the land of Sri Lanka is situated at the extreme southern point beyond the south of India. The stretch of ocean from here to the south pole contains no other land. Hence, for the migrant birds that travel south from India, Sri Lanka is the final destination.

There are 3 flying routes across India along which immigrant birds come to Sri Lanka. These are – the western route, the eastern route and the Andaman Island route.

The western route

From the northern and northwestern parts of the world along the western coastal line of India, then towards the extreme south of India, which is commarin point. Then they fly across this coast and arrive in Sri Lanaka mostly across this coastal line between Mannar and Kaluthara.

The migrant birds take this route initially from Europe, West Asia including western Siberia, & from the western regions of Himalaya including Kashimir.

The Eastern route

From the northern and northeastern parts of the world, along the Eastern coast line of India, towards the south. Passing the coastline between Kalmier point and Ramesvaran, which is further south these migratory birds arrive in Sri Lanka from India, from East Asia which includes eastern Sibiria and Mongolia, from the Eastern regions of Himalaya including Tibet, these migratory birds fly along this route initially.

Andaman Islands route

Apart from the above-mentioned two routes there is still another route to the North Eastern coast of Sri Lnaka, which is the Andaman Islands flying route. This route falls across the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. It is believed that these migratory birds arrive in Sri Lanka along this route from south East Asia and the East each year.

Each year the migratory season commences in October and ends in April – May in the following year. Very often, the birds take the same route they arrived. However, some birds return along different routes.

The departure of these birds flying across Kalpitiya in large flocks is a fascinating sight. The beauty of thousands of birds departing at the same time from dew-drop shaped Jaffna as they leave the country is an unforgettable memory, etched in the minds of those who experience this splendid sight.

For further details please contact.

 

 
Walk With Jith trip repots / tour reviews
 
Images of Sri Lanka - A photographic essay of Sri Laka’s people and wildlife
Images of Sri Lanka -
Photos of a Walk With Jith
tour now in a book with valuable comments
- by Brian Pollard