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Sri Lanka a tropical island of just 65,000 square kilometers in size, the richness of its bio-diversity is well reflected by its sheer concentration of avifauna. Currently 439 species have been recorded with 236 being resident and 203 being migrants or visitors, and 33 species are endemic to Sri Lanka along with 68 sub-species amongst the resident forms. The latest addition to the endemic list of Sri Lanka is Serendib Scops owl.
Sri Lanka being located at the tip of peninsular India makes it a hot spot for migratory birds of the subcontinent to avoid the bitter northern winter. Enjoying three major climatic zones visiting avifauna can easily find a suitable nesting spot and the most famous of visitors are the Greater Flamingo's that fly over to Bundala lagoon & slat turns making the entire area a mass of pink and white.
From Wilpattu "The Everglades of Sri Lanka" in the Northwest to Kumana in the Southeast, Sri Lanka is virtually entrenched with bird sanctuaries and 30,000 natural or manmade lake- lets and each & every one of them serve as a mini heaven for resident, migrant & vagrant bird species, and several of them are within 45 minutes drive from Colombo.
Kumana (06- 07 Hrs) – Yala East, a great place to sleep outdoors is kumana villu, though taking precautions against the roaming herds of wild elephants is a must. The rare Black-necked storks, Plenty of Blue-tailed bee-eaters, Painted storks, and Pelicans are the highlights here.
Bundala(04-05 Hrs) – Known internationally as an important wintering ground for migratory water birds, with highlight being the greater flamingos, which migrate in large flocks. Among other park favourites are Indian darter, Asian open-bill, Hawk eagle and Serpent eagle.
Sinharaja(02-03 Hrs) – A UNESCO World heritage rain forest and one of the last bio-diversity hot-spots in Sri Lanka where one can observe 20 or so endemic bird species from the Blue magpie, Grey hornbill with its distinct gray beak, to the rarer Paradise flycatcher and bronze-winged dove.
Kalpitiya(03 – 04 Hrs) – Famous for its Bar-reef marine sanctuary also acts as a winter home to many migratory waders and other coastal/sea birds. Large flocks of Turns, Plovers and Sea eagle are quite common in the area.
Kalametiya(03-04 Hrs on E 01) – Hailed as one of the oldest bird sanctuaries, Kalametiya consists of two brackish water lagoons within the protected wetland. A mature mangrove swamp acts as a breeding ground for many varieties of water birds.
Kitulgala(02 Hrs) – With a secondary rain forest with Kelani River as the feeder, among bird species spotted here are Ceylon Blue magpie, Oriental dwarf kingfisher, and lanyards parakeet, red faced malkoha.
Muthurajawela(45 min) – The prime source of paddy for the Kings of Seethawaka later abandoned due to sea water seepage, now plays a vital role as a coastal eco system and home to 120 odd resident and 40 or so migratory species of birds.
Thalangama(30 Min) – Located 10 km from Colombo is a super place to observe birds. November is a great time to see and sometimes you could spot as many as 30 species without moving a muscle. Most common are Great Coucal, Yellow billed Babler, Rose ringed parrot, Purple swamp hen, red vented Bulbul and Asian spoonbill.
Rates on request