World's Best Bird Watching Site - Srilanka
Birds of Srilanka
Srilanka is a birds' paradise. Hence it is a paradise for the bird watchers too. For the size of the island, Srilanka has a wide diversity of bird species. There are 339 resident bird species of which 26 are endemic to Srilanka. With the 129 migrant bird species, bird watchers can watch 468 different bird species. There are differences of opinion among the ornithologists regarding these numbers, but this gives an indication of the variety of bird watching available.
To preserve the diversity and the endangered species Srilanka has declared many wild life sanctuaries, and bird sanctuaries. These are some of the world's best bird watching sites. Birds and bird life can be observed in the wild life sanctuaries as well as Wild life sanctuaries also known as National parks. With the end of terrorists' control of Northern and Eastern Provinces the national parks and the bird sanctuaries in those areas, that are best bird watching sites for watching dry zone birds are now open for visitors.
Ceylon Jungle Fowl, (Walikukula) National Bird of Srilanka
Bird Sanctuaries in Srilanka
Srilanka has many sites that are some of the world’s best bird watching sites. They are protected by law and are the purview of Forest Department or the Department of Wild Life Conservation. Srilanka has two distinctly different climatic zones. Any bird watcher has to visit different bird watching sites to watch different species living in the two different zones. Here is the list of best bird watching locations.
Wet zone bird watching sites
- Sinharaja World Heritage Wilderness Area
- Kitulgala – Kelani Valley Forest Reserve
- Peak Wilderness Sanctuary
- Galway’s land national Park and Sanctuary
- Horton Plains National Park
- Knuckles World Heritage Wilderness Area
- Ingiriya/Bodinagala Forest Reserve (Dombagaskanda)
- Labugama Kalatuwawa forest Reserve
- Salgala Forest
- Meethirigala Forest Reserve
- Thalangama tank and Marshes
- Sri Jayawardenepura Sanctuary
- Bellanvila - Attidiya sanctuary
- Udawattakele sanctuary
- Victoria, Randenigala & Rantambe sanctuary
Intermediate and Dry zone bird watching sites
- Bundala National Park
- Chilaw sand Spits
- Anavilundawa Sanctuary
- Nawadankulama Tank
- Wilpattu National park
- Mannar & Vankalai Sanctuary
- Giant’s Tank Sanctuary
- Jaffna peninsula
- Chundikulam Sanctuary
- Udawalawe National Park
- Sigiriya Sanctuary
- Lunugamvehera national Park
- Yala- Ruhunu National Park
- Kumana (Yala- East National Park)
- Kalametiya Sanctuary
- Wasgomuwa National Park
- Gal Oya National park
- Minneriya – Giritale National Park
- Kaudulla National Park
- Ritigala Strict National Reserve
Video on Birds from Srilanka
Bird Watching Holidays in Srilanka
There are many travel operators who specialize on specialty tours like bird watching tours. Colombo is connected by direct flights from many capitals in Europe, middle east and Asia.
If any serious bird watcher is interested in bird watching holidays in Srilanka it is possible for them to get lot of help from Srilanka's prestigious bird watching club, Ceylon bird club founded in 1943. They can provide any type of information to the bird watchers. They conduct water bird census annually with assistance from Wetlands international. Most of the bird watching sites in Srilanka are easily accessible by roads. Some places four wheel drive vehicles may be needed to gain access to the best spots. The bird watchers can hire Jeeps at those places at reasonable prices. But those who have only a short time can visit about ten sites closer to Colombo.
The bird watching sites closest to Colombo are Bellanwila-Aththidiya, Sri Jayawardenepura, Thalangama and Labugama. All these places are within one hours drive. These places are marshy. Water birds endemic, resident and migrating birds can be seen in these marshes. Hope to write separate hubs on these sites and the birds that frequent these places.