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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 16, 2024
Headline for Bird-Watching Hotspots in Sri Lanka – Be amazed by the spectacular flock of birds you can spot here!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Bird-Watching Hotspots in Sri Lanka – Be amazed by the spectacular flock of birds you can spot here!

Sri Lanka is a paradise for birds as an island in the Indian sub-continent situated 10 degrees north of the Equator. Scrublands, forests, grasslands, marshy wetlands, and lagoons offer conducive weather and natural conditions for them. Enjoy visiting some of the unique places for bird watching here.


Kumana National Park

Considered an ornithologist’s paradise this is one of the finest bird sanctuaries in Sri Lanka on the southeastern coast of the island. With approximately 400 species of birds in Sri Lanka, this park has recorded 255 species of them making this one of the sought-after hot spots by bird lovers at boutique hotels in Sri Lanka. Being in a tropical dry zone with forest, the main sources for thriving of the birdlife are the rich mangrove swamps and the Kumbukkan Oya on the western boundary. Apart from native birds, many migrating birds are visiting this park such as Pintail snipes, Waterfowl, Asian open-bill, Purple herons, Great egrets, Spot-billed pelicans etc.


Sinharaja Rainforest

This rainforest is designated as a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is located on the south of the island in Deniyaya town. The tropical evergreen forest boasts large trees, lianas, shrubs and additionally ferns and epiphytes. Recording over 154 species of birds in its environs it is also a transit point to feeding flocks of mixed species mostly consisting of Orange-billed blabber and Crested drongos. The endemic birds such as Ceylon Lorikeet, Layard’s Parakeet, The Blue Magpie, Jungle and Spurfowl, Grackle, Hanging Parrot, Grey Hornbill and many others are seen in this rainforest and add much beauty to Sinharaja.


Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary

This fine bird sanctuary in the Puttalam district boasts three distinct ecosystems. The coast, the rich mangroves and the freshwater tanks thus make it one of the six RAMSAR sites on the island. With three natural tanks and six man-made cascading ones, Anawilundawa Sanctuary provides a unique ecological balance helping to maintain favourable nesting grounds for about 150 species of birds and even a few species of fish. Some of the birds seen here are White Ibis, Stalk, Herons, purple swamp hens, Open bill cormorants etc. providing bird watchers with hours of pleasure observing them in their natural habitats.


Bundala National Park

Situated in the Southern Province close to Hambantota, this park is in the dry zone with hordes of migratory birds flying in from September to March. With thorny scrublands, marshes, waterways, lagoons and dunes making up the landscape of Bundala, this is an ideal destination for migratory birds. Whilst Bundala boasts approximately 200 species of birds, 150 species are endemic whilst others are these migratory birds that come periodically. Flamingos, Brown flycatchers, Petite Blue Tailed bee-eaters, Barn Swallows etc are just a few of the migratory birds landing in Bundala and sightings of these birds are greatly enjoyed by visitors at Boutique Collection by Amaya. Even this National Park is a RAMSAR site.


Udawattakele Sanctuary

This is a forest reserve in the ancient Hill Capital of the island, Kandy.  Udawatta in the local language means the garden above the royal palace. The large forest of 104 hectares is a protected sanctuary at present. A popular site used by bird lovers in Sri Lanka, this is an evergreen wet forest. The gurgling lake within the forest draws many species of birds that feed on fish. The most often seen birds here are the Stork-billed kingfisher, Brown fish owl, Blue Flycatcher, Yellow-fronted Barbet and many other colourful species.