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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Birds in Udawatta Kele – Discovering a Bird Watching Hotspot
Joanna James Joanna James
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Birds in Udawatta Kele – Discovering a Bird Watching Hotspot

A former royal forest reserve, the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary is home to a diverse array of bird species and offers plenty of sightings for avid bird watching enthusiasts.


Yellow-fronted Barbet (Psilopogon flavifrons)

A species that is endemic to Sri Lanka and which can be found at the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary, the Yellow-fronted Barbet features a body and wings that are green in colour. Generally, this bird species is not shy and one has a good chance of spotting it, though due to its colour it may be a bit hard since there is so much greenery at this forest reserve. Notable features of the Yellow-fronted Barbet include a throat and face that are blue, a yellow crown, short tail and a relatively large head.


Layard's Parakeet (Psittacula calthrapae)

Another endemic bird species, Layard's Parakeet is one that bird watchers have a good chance of spotting. Growing to lengths of around 29 cm, an adult bird has a back and head that is bluish-grey in colour along with a greenish collar. In male species, the upper mandible of the bill takes on a hue of red, while for the female it is black. More juvenile birds are mostly green. The Layard's Parakeet is characterised by its sometimes noisy chattering. If you are staying at a hotel that is surrounded by plenty of trees and greenery such as Kings Pavilion Kandy be on the lookout as well for you just might spot this bird species amidst the branches.


Brown Fish Owl (Ketupa zeylonensis)

Not that easy to get a glimpse of, the Brown Fish Owl has been spotted at Udawatta Kele Sanctuary in the areas in around the Royal Pond, especially late evenings and early in the morning. Staying at a hotel in Kandy within easy reach of Udawatta Kele is a good idea for bird watchers since they can get there early or stay till late and spend more time on the lookout for sightings of this owl. The Brown Fish Owl is characterised by a rusty brown coloured upper part of the body streaked black while the lower parts are more pale, streaked and brown. The iris of this owl is yellow and the throat white.


Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)

A majestic bird one may spot in the sky or resting on the branches, the Brahminy Kite has a white coloured head and breast. Brown or chestnut coloured wings with black tips and feet that are yellow are some of the other characteristics of this bird species. While it is known to scavenge, its typical diet includes small snakes, fish, insects and frogs.


Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

A species one may be able to spot near the lake at Udawatta Kele Sanctuary is the Common Kingfisher. Its characteristic metallic blue-green crown and wings make quite a contrast. The under parts of this kingfisher range from chestnut to brown, the chin is white and the legs are light red. The bill of the male species is fully black, while in female species the bill is somewhat black but with a reddish orange colour at the base.