Sri Lanka is one of the best places in the world to watch birds, and is truly a paradise for all Bird Watching enthusiasts. The activity becomes more common especially around the bird sanctuaries and wetland reserves in the southeast part of the island while the temperate climate is ideal for migrating birds.
The tropical climate and exotic landscape of the paradise island of Sri Lanka makes it a true haven for bird lovers who arrive from all over the world.Sri Lanka is home to more than 400 bird species with around 23 endemics and 200 migratory birds arriving from India, Siberia, Scandinavia and Western Europe.
The best time for Bird Watching enthusiasts to visit the island is towards the latter part of the year. In fact, the month of December has been declared the National Bird Month by the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, the national affiliate of Bird Life International. There are many bird sanctuaries spread throughout the island which include the Kumana National Park, the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, the Bodhinagala Sanctuary, and Udawatte Kele to name a few.
The best times to visit for birdwatching is between October and April when the migrant birds have landed. The weather is best from January to March. Watch as the storks, spoonbills, cormorants and kingfishers feed off the tanks in the dry regions and flamingos come in their hundreds to line the lagoons and water holes of Mannar and Jaffna in the Northern Province. If bird watching is your passion, take a look at our specialist itinerary ‘Birds of Sri Lanka’.
Bird Watching in Ritigala
Ritigala is located 188 km northeast of Colombo, at Ganewalpola, near Kekirawa/Maradankadawala of the north-central plains of Sri Lanka.
Black-capped Bulbul, Black Bulbul, Brown-capped Babbler, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Ceylon Grey Hornbill, Black-naped Flycatcher, Thick-billed Flowerpecker, Black Eagle, Crested Serpent & Crested Hawk Eagle, Common Hill Mynah, Indian Pitta, White-rumped Shama are some of the bird species found within range.
The main bird sanctuary in Sri Lanka is the Kumana National Park which is considered one of the most important nesting and breeding grounds in Sri Lanka.
The Bundala National Park situated at the southernmost tip of the bird migratory route is a favorite birding ground where flocks of flamingos, herons, and storks are a regular sight.
The other places are the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, Sinharaja Rain Forest, Bodinagala Forest Reserve, Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, Kitulgala Forest Reserve, Yala, Wilpattu, Udawalawe, Wagamuwa, Minneriya and Horton Plains National Parks, in addition to numerous tanks, reservoirs, lagoons, marshes, lakes and rivers.
Birdwatching in Jaffna
Bird watching in Jaffna during the migrant season from September – March is a highlight for nature lovers. Migrant birds along with other waders in their thousands flock to the lagoons.
Birdwatching on Mannar Island
Mannar Island is one of the best spots in Sri Lanka for spotting migratory birds, as well as other animal species. And that can also be an excuse for exploring one of the most lightly-visited areas of Sri Lanka.
Bundala National Park
Bundala National Park, which neighbors Yala, is one of the best places for birdwatching in Sri Lanka and is also home to sloth bears, elephants, and deer.
Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary
Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is a beautiful, mellow spot with just you and a boatman punting a boat around the lagoon.
The Talangama Wetlands, located in the Kotte suburbs of Colombo, is comprised of tanks, canals, and paddy fields which offer excellent opportunities for birdwatching.
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