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Updated by Pushpitha Wijesinghe on Jul 29, 2014
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Birds to See in Bundala: Sri Lanka’s Feathered Visitors

Bundala National Park in Sri Lanka's South is a known wintering ground for migratory water birds. Home to over 150 bird species, many of them migrant birds, this wetland bird sanctuary is ideal for bird-watching

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Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo

Found in tropical regions in areas surrounding lakes and lagoons, these pink birds are fluid swimmers but live in flocks on mud flats. Standing at 91-127 cm and weighing 4 kg, the Greater Flamingo has a long, lean, curved neck and black-tipped bill useful in sucking plankton and small fish from the muddy waters. Sensitive to their natural habitat, in drought periods when the wetland pools dry out and food is scarce, Greater Flamingos unlikely to breed.

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Lesser Whistling Duck

Lesser Whistling Duck

Standing at a height of approximately 40 cm these brown birds are mainly found in small, shallow fresh water surrounded by trees and in marshy vegetation. The Lesser Whistling Ducks have longer legs, a square shaped head and have broader, rounder wings compared to other duck species. These mainly resident birds feed on grass, small grains, insects, freshwater snails and frogs and breed mostly in the rainy season. A stay at many Yala Hotels will assure such bird sightings.

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Crested Hawk Eagle

Crested Hawk Eagle

This bird of prey is mainly found in South Asia. At 60-72 cm in height, these majestic birds are brown with a white and brown patterned under belly and a crown of feathers on its head. Precise hunters, the Crested Hawk Eagle eat small mammals, birds and reptiles by swooping down on its prey and grabbing them forcefully by its talons. These sedentary birds can be found in dense forests but is more commonly seen in savannah forests near water holes, where it's easy to spy on its prey.

4

Brahminy Kite

Brahminy Kite

A tropical bird of prey, the Brahminy Kite's head, neck, upper belly and flanks are white while the rest of its body including its wings and tail is a chestnut colour. These birds enjoy a largely solitary flight, flying low above ground or over water to catch its prey. The Brahminy Kite feeds on small reptiles, fish, birds and mammals and can be found in wetlands perched as high as 3000 meters above ground level.

5

Spot-billed Pelican

Spot-billed Pelican

An endangered species of water-bird, the grey hued Spot-billed Pelican is 125-152 cm in height and can weigh up to 6 kg. Characterized by its large, spotted throat-pouch which is used to scoop fish from the surface of the water, these birds nest in colonies, but are solitary hunters that feed on fish. Mostly resident birds, they live in deeps and shallow wetlands usually near lakes. Located near the Bundala National Park, Saraii Village Sri Lanka offers guests an opportunity to witness some of these endemic and endangered birds.

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Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater

Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater

Found primarily in South Asia, the Blue Tailed Bee-Eater breeds in sub-tropical regions and is mostly seen near large water bodies. The Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater is predominantly green in colour with a touch of blue on its face and tail and has a black beak and can reach a length of 26 cm. These migratory birds gather in flocks and feed on insects including bees, wasps and hornets.

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Great Thick-knee

Great Thick-knee

Also called the Stone-curlew, the Great Thick-knee is 49 -55 cm in height and has a 7 cm upturned bill. A resident bird found in South Asia, it lives along gravel banks along rivers and lakes and is mainly nocturnal. Its face has a striking black and white pattern while its body is a monochrome light greyish-brown. The Great Thick-knee hunts crabs, large insects and other animals.

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Painted Stork

Painted Stork

This vividly colourful bird has a white body with a hint of pink at the tail end, striking black and white patterned wings and a yellow-orange colour face and bill. At a height of 102 cm, this large bird species benefits from its ability to catch prey buried deep in the muddy waters of its habitat. Found in large open wetlands including marshes, ponds and flooded fields, the Painted Stork nests on tall waterside trees in mixed colonies with other water birds.