One of the highlights of our Accompanied Tour of Sri Lanka in March was the birds!
A tropical climate and diversity of habitats including lush lowland rainforests, cloud forests, dry lowlands, wetlands and coastlines, have helped to endow Sri Lanka with an incredible abundance of birdlife.
You will find there is a good choice of national parks, reserves and protected zones in this resplendent island. The best time for birding in Sri Lanka is from November to March, out of the monsoon periods and when the migrant birds will still be visiting.
Birds in Sri Lanka are surprisingly tame whether they are in a national park or in an urban setting, and many people find there are some wonderful photographic opportunities.
Brown headed Barbet feeding chicks in nesting hole.
The South Africans in our group were very knowledgeable, especially Paula Combrink, who was thrilled on a number of occasions! This was hugely infectious and inspiring.
Orange Breasted Green Pigeon
In Paula’s words – and some of her beautiful photographs…
Over 400 species of birds have been recorded in Sri Lanka and there are 34 endemic species which is a high density given the size of the Island.
Being a tropical island with superb forest canopies be they natural or agriculture it’s quite difficult to spot but the song birds are enough to peak any visitors interest.
We visited two National Parks doing day trips – Yala and Bundala Wetland where most of our “birding” was done and spoilt we were in its richness. 47% of birds in Sri Lanka are resident while the balance migrate with a total of 459 species recorded at the last count.
The Ceylon Junglefowl is their National Bird – which sure has shiny feathers but really needs to be rethought! Sadly two birds I saw but never got photographs of were the Indian Pitta (blue hues of artistic brilliance) and the Hanging Parrot with its crimson head and emerald body ~ next time!!
Bundala Wetland – just one of the very active ponds we came across.
Prolific and varied amount of waterbirds in Bundala where we watched various Herons, Terns, Stints, Warblers, Large Storks, Larks and Pipits, birds of Prey and more and more. The non-birders in our group were smitten!