Golden beaches, historical sites, natural wilderness and urban skylines are a few reasons why our island is one of the best destinations for holidays. For wildlife enthusiasts in particular, we have a number of wildlife parks and reserves in the country and for those who indulge in bird watching, did you know that Sri Lanka is very rich with birds and nearly 433 species have been recorded in the island?Lets take a look at few bird sanctuaries in Sri Lanka which you must visit if you’re a bird watcher.
Sri Lanka has nearly 259 species of birds. Of which, 233 are resident and 26 are endemic found in certain wildlife parks and forest reserves. The bird circulation in Sri Lanka is by climatic zones including the dry, wet zone and central hill zones. And birds are usually sighted as migrations take place during different times of the year.
Kumana Bird Sanctuary
One of Sri Lanka’s foremost bird sanctuaries is the Kumana bird sanctuary located within the Kumana National park. As one of the most important nesting and breeding grounds in the country, there are approximately 225 species birds recorded to be breeding and nesting in the sanctuary and is also known for large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. There are also rare birds such as the black-necked stork, lesser adjutant, eurasian spoonbill and great thick-knee in breeding populations. The best time to visit Kumana is from April-July when birds migrate to the Kumana swamp area. Catching sight of these birds at the sanctuary can be easily done if you are based at Yoho Sea Rock Road.
Horton Plains National Park
Did you know that Horton Plains National Park is another place to visit for intense bird watchers? With 87 bird species (21 endemic) and a number of migratory birds the Park sights a number of remarkable birds. With an incredible view and low temperatures, Horton Plains is also home to diverse biodiversity. Our wildlife enthusiasts can either camp out or stay at Yoho Lake View.
Kelani Valley Forest Reserve
The Kelani Valley Forest Reserve in Kitulgala is and one of the wettest places in the county that is severely impacted by two monsoons every year. After Sinharaja, the Kitulgala forest reserve would be one of the ideal locations to spot lowland endemic birds. These include the green-bill coucal, chestnut-backed owlet, dollar bird, red-faced malkoha, Sri Lanka spot-winged thrush, Sri Lanka spurfowl and more. The Reserve is also home to rare species of butterflies, mammals, fish and flora. It is also the only spot in Sri Lanka for water rafting. If you are planning getaway into the wild Yoho Watawala Lassana will provide you comforts for your adventure.
Few other locations for bird watching enthusiasts include the Sinharaja rainforest, Bodhinagala forest reserve, Kalametiya bird sanctuary, Anawilundawa bird sanctuary and Talangama bird park.
Featured image by Malki Perera.