Sri lanka bird watching

Friday 2nd December – Monday 12th December 2022

Leaders: Craig Robson and a local bird guide

11 Days Group Size Limit 7 Sunday 1st December – Thursday 12th December 2024

Leaders: Craig Robson and a local bird guide

12 Days Group Size Limit 7

SRI LANKA: OVERVIEW

Birdquest’s Sri Lanka birding tours provide comprehensive coverage of one of the finest areas for birdwatching in the Indian Subcontinent region. Our Sri Lanka birding tour concentrates on the many endemics of this interesting island but also turns up a large number of more widespread species.

If you gaze at an atlas, Sri Lanka, the one-time Ceylon, seems like a large teardrop falling into the ocean from the southern tip of the Indian peninsula. This green and beautiful island attracts many western visitors, and for the birdwatcher, it is the 33 endemic species that are the most exciting prize of a visit to this jewel of the Indian Ocean. We shall be concentrating on trying to see all of these during our visit, from the secretive Sri Lanka Spurfowl and spectacular Sri Lanka Blue Magpie to the relatively recently-described Serendib Scops Owl and the tiny Legge’s Flowerpecker.

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Sri Lanka has a great deal more to offer those interested in Asian birds than its large number of endemic specialities, as it not only possesses a comparatively rich resident avifauna (including a host of restricted-range species shared only with South India) but also hosts an exciting selection of migrant visitors from both northern Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Combine the island’s excellent birding with its attractive scenery and ancient culture and you have a potent combination. Not only does Sri Lanka have a diverse avifauna but, after two millennia of Buddhist-inspired regard for wildlife, many birds are tame and approachable, whilst even large mammals, including Asian Elephants, survive in good numbers in spite of a burgeoning human population.

Our Sri Lanka birding tour itinerary is specially designed to cover all the Sri Lankan endemic specialities and during our journey through the island, we will cover all the principal habitats, including the lowland and foothill rainforests of the wet zone, the jungles of the dry zone and the grasslands and cloud forests of the highlands.

Our Sri Lanka birding tour starts at Colombo airport, from where we head eastwards to Kitulgala in the foothills, home of such endemics as Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Layard’s Parakeet, Green-billed Coucal, Serendib Scops Owl, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul, Spot-winged Thrush, Brown-capped and Orange-billed Babblers, Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler, Legge’s Flowerpecker and Sri Lanka Drongo.

Our next port of call is the superb Sinharaja Forest, the largest tract of surviving rainforest in Sri Lanka and home to the majority of the island’s endemic birds, and in particular Sri Lanka Spurfowl, the spectacular Red-faced Malkoha, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Ashy-headed Laughingthrush, White-faced Starling, Sri Lanka Myna and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie.

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From here we travel into the dry zone of the southeast, first visiting Uda Walawe National Park, home of the endemic Sri Lanka Swallow and Sri Lanka Woodshrike, as well as many other interesting birds, and then exploring the bird-rich ‘tanks’ and coastal lagoons at Tissamaharama and Bundala.

From the dry zone, we climb up into the central massif, to Nuwara Eliya and the cool uplands of Horton Plains National Park, where we will be looking for such endemics as Sri Lanka Woodpigeon, Crimson-backed Flameback, Yellow-eared Bulbul, the elusive Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Sri Lanka Scaly Thrush, the skulking Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Dull-blue Flycatcher and Sri Lanka White-eye, and also for exciting winter visitors such as the beautiful Indian Pitta, Kashmir Flycatcher and the handsome Pied Thrush. Finally, we will visit ancient Kandy before the time comes for us to leave this fascinating and beautiful part of the world.

Birdquest has operated Sri Lanka birding tours since 1995.

This tour can be taken together with SOUTH INDIA & ANDAMAN ISLANDS

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What makes the Birdquest Sri Lanka birding tour special?: Fantastic itinerary and great leadership aside, the Birdquest group size limit is significantly lower than for many Sri Lanka birding tours. As most of the birding is in forest areas, this represents a significant advantage for our participants.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/lodges are of good standard almost throughout. Blue Magpie Lodge at Sinharaja is simple but comfortable and electricity is limited to night-time. Road transport is by small coach. Roads are variable in quality (averaging good to mediocre).

Walking: The walking effort during our Sri Lanka birding tours is mostly easy, but there are some moderate grade walks.

Climate: Generally warm or hot, dry and sunny at lower altitudes but cool or rarely even quite cold at higher altitudes. Overcast weather or early morning mist is not uncommon and some rain is possible at this season. It will be rather humid in coastal areas.

Bird/Mammal Photography: Opportunities during our Sri Lanka birding tours are worthwhile.

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