Bird watching is an extremely relaxing activity that allows you to enjoy the serenity of nature. This may be why many have taken up bird watching as a favourite pastime. Owing to the tropical climate and lush natural surroundings of Sri Lanka, this magical island acts as a safe haven for many rare, endemic and migratory bird species. So as you spend time on holiday in Sri Lanka, you might want to visit one of the famous bird parks of Sri Lanka where you can spot a high density of these beautiful exotic avian species and also enjoy a calming time immersed in the tranquillity of nature. Here are some of our top picks of where you can go bird watching.
- Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary
Salt water marshes, lagoons, brackish water ponds, Mangrove forest and an amazing number of bird species hiding in between are some of the beautiful natural treasures waiting to welcome you in the Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary. Once you have enjoyed the tranquillity of Tissamaharama this protected area serves as a great stop to spend time bird watching. The park is open from 6 Am to 6 PM so if you are staying in our cosy hotel in Tissamaharama you can set off on your journey early morning and capture some beautiful images of rare bird species like Pintail Duck, Garganey and Redshanks as you explore the swampy grasslands.
- Bundala National park
The Bundala National park lies in the midst of hot and dry terrain, characteristic of the arid zone of Sri Lanka. The site has gained international recognition and has even been designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. There are over 200 species of rare birds you can spot here including black-headed ibis, Eurasian spoonbill and greater flamingo who visit in large flocks and add colour to the brackish lagoons that sustain life in the ecosystem. If you are looking for a place to stay nearby you might want to check out this luxury hotel in Hambantota.
- Kumana National Park
Also located in the Hambantota district is the famous bird watching spot, Kumana National Park. This mangrove swamp like ecosystem is visited by regulars like painted storks, Pintail snipes, little cormorant, pheasant-tailed jacana and white-breasted waterhen among many others. But keep your binoculars and camera in hand as you might get the rare chance to witness the very rare black-necked stork most often seen in swamp areas. While birdlife may be the key highlight here you can also spot some rare reptiles like Mugger Crocodile and Loggerhead Turtle and mammals like Wild Boar, Asian Elephants and European Otter who have made their home in the neighbouring Yala National Park.
- Kelaniya Water World and Bird Park
If you are travelling with little ones, a trip to the Kelaniya Water World and Bird Park will be a great way to get them interested in the very nature friendly activity of bird watching. Located just a half hour away from Colombo city limits, this is one of the main attractions in Kelaniya. The park features quite a number of colourful bird species from around the world including Macawas, lories, conure and cockatoo. As you visit the site you will be greeted by the sweet sound of birds chirping and flapping their wings in the spacious enclosures. The site is open from 9.30 Am to 5.30 PM daily and even during public holidays. Tickets are also quite reasonably priced at Rs. 600 for adults and Rs. 400 for kids (foreign national ticket prices).
Kithulgala, the adventure lover’s paradise is also a great place to spot some amazing birds like Green-billed coucal, Ceylon jungle & spurfowl, spot-winged thrush, Serendip Scops Owl and Grey hornbill. So make sure you add bird watching to your list of top things to do in Kithulgala as well.
Other great bird watching spots:
- Kala Wewa National Park – comprises of the area covering one of the most famous creations of the Anuradhapura era – Kala wewa. Apart from the many bird species gathering atop the massive Kumbuk trees, the water body is also a gathering point of large herds of Asian Elephants.
- Sinharaja Rain Forest – As a UNESCO World Heritage site and renowned biodiversity hotspot it comes to no surprise that this site is a bird lover’s paradise.
- Thalangama Bird Park – even in the midst of the bustling city Colombo, you will find this great bird watching area with carefully designed walking trails and observation decks in the midst of a dense wetland area.
Did you know that December is the National Bird Month in Sri Lanka? Declared by the Field Ornithology Group of the country this time marks the peak migratory season for birds as they fly across the miles to reach the warm climates of the tropical region to escape from the cold winters experienced in other parts of the world.
Image by Malki Perera.