Sri Lanka now has 33 endemic bird species; this figure seems to increase annually as taxonomic advances indicate differences between some of the Sri Lankan birds and similar species found on the Indian Sub-continent that were previously thought to be the same.
The latest split is the Ceylon Woodshrike from the Common Woodshrike while another recent addition is the Serendib Scops-Owl, a new species discovered 3-4 years ago by Guides working for Baur’s Tourism.
Sri Lanka is a beautiful place with lovely, friendly people and is perfect for holidays, whether it’s nature tours, culture, scuba diving or just lazing around. A holiday there could easily incorporate all of these activities.
For Birdwatching, it’s ideal, its compact size means that you’re not spending hours on the road and the various habitats are within easy reach and ensure a good variety of birdlife. The habitats include tropical rain forest, temperate grasslands, seaside, wetlands, marshes, mountains and high plains, all within easy reach of each other and a 2 week tour can cover all of these habitats.
Like most of the Sub-continent, independent travel can be slow and tiresome, road signs are few and usually in Singalese which is unreadable to most visitors and the best reserves are hidden away in out of the way places and you won’t know where the best birds are.
Travelling independently, the best way is to hire a car and driver/guide from Baur’s, you won’t waste any time on the roads and your expert guide will know all the best places, also the jeeps required for the grasslands will all be pre-booked; Baur’s can also book your hotels or if you prefer the cheaper places, you can find it as you go. Your driver will know all the best places. Baur’s are very flexible and will tailor your holiday to suit.
If you prefer to join a Bird Tour, the best ones also use Baur’s Guides and arrangements.
I’d travelled around most of this tour with my Wife and another couple in November 2003 using Baur’s and their guide Sunil de Alwis and had a wonderful trip.
I became quite friendly with the Baur’s people, working on their stand at the Bird Fair for the last 2 years. I advertised a private tour around friends and birding contacts and arranged this tour from 13th to 27th January 2006.
We were quite an old group with 4 in their 70s, 2 in the 60s and the remaining 4 in their 50s.
Though the schedule was quite arduous, all came through with flying colours and the tour was by a unanimous decision, a great success.
Guiding, accommodation and transport were arranged impeccably by Perry at Baurs, firstname.lastname@example.org
Baur’s use hotels that are well tried and tested over many years. All hotels used were of good quality with excellent food. Some were a bit shabby and in need of a coat of paint but all were clean with friendly staff and most importantly, were used to catering for Birdwatchers. It was no problem for them to provide early breakfasts, late dinners or packed meals. Most hotels also provided mosquito nets on the beds and mosquito coils.
Our tour had a very nice modern 16 seater bus with air conditioning; our driver was excellent and knew his way around and there was also a driver’s assistant who ensured that the bus was always clean, inside and out, that our luggage was safely loaded and unloaded, was happy to do any shopping and saw that we always had a good supply of bottled water.
Taya Diaz has the shortest name in Sri Lanka but is a big man with a personality to match and a bushy black beard. Apart from being an excellent guide with good knowledge of all aspects of Sri Lankan Wildlife, he’s also a writer and film maker and is excellent company.
Taya had a mission to find us all of the endemics and was tireless in his efforts, keeping us out in the field for hours on end. He’s an excellent bird finder, has a good knowledge of the calls and knows where to find the endemics.
Liasing with Taya was a real pleasure; he was always open to suggestions and always acted with the benefit of the group in mind. As it says in the Baur’s brochure; ‘Be on tour and you will know’
We flew direct from Heathrow with Sri Lankan Airlines, booked through their Group Booking office in London, they gave us a very good price and the flights were excellent.
There are other ways via the Gulf which may be a bit cheaper but are certainly more time consuming.
The Sri Lankan Rupee is tied to the US Dollar, 100 rupees to the Dollar so conversions are easy.
We couldn’t get any Rupees from our Banks or local Bureaux de Change as they say it’s a restricted currency but had no problems getting some from my village Post Office. The larger towns also have ATMs where you can use your debit cards and some of the Larger Hotels accept Credit Cards. We paid our dues to Baur’s in US Dollar Travellers Cheques. Changing Travellers Cheques in banks can be very time consuming.
Itinerary and birds
This is a well tested Itinery designed to get amongst the birds straight away and is roughly followed by most of the Tour Companies though some also go further north up to Sigiriya.
Day 1. Saturday 14th.
We arrived at Bandaranaike International Airport late afternoon where we were met by our guide Taya Diaz and Perry of Baurs.
We had a 2 hour drive to Kitugala where we were to stay for 3 nights, birding around the Kitugala Forest. Not far from the airport, we passed through the Minuwangoda Marsh, an area of rice fields with a stream and reedbed. I saw Yellow Bittern here in 2003 and sure enough, we saw this elusive species here again, flying into the reedbed and later in the reeds. This was the first taste of Sri Lankan birding for most of the party so birds like Purple Heron, Intermediate Egret, White-throated Kingfisher, Brown Shrike, Indian Swiftlet and Black-crowned Night Heron were all avidly ticked.
Day 2. Sunday 15th.
The whole party were out at dawn, birding around the Hotel Gardens. Species seen included Brown-headed Barbet, Black-hooded Oriole and the first endemics; Yellow-fronted Barbet and Sri Lankan Hanging Parrot.
The Kitugala Rest House is on the banks of the Kelani River, the epic David Lean film, ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ was filmed here in 1957.
After breakfast, we crossed the river in a dug out canoe to reach the Kitugala Forest. There’s a village in the forest and much of the birding is done around the houses, gardens and cultivated areas.
Best birds seen were a pair of Black Eagles hunting through the treetops, a pair of Chestnut-backed Owlets, Pompadour Green Pigeons, Stork-Billed Kingfisher, Black-headed Cuckooshrike and Banded Bay Cuckoo.
After a late lunch, it was back to the forest, crossing the river using the suspension footbridge. Some of the floor panels of the bridge are made out of flattened oil drums with many holes to catch the unwary.
We birded the forest till dark, the idea being to be in position to try to see the Serendib Scops-Owl.
We’d moved out of the village, climbing the rocky path into the forest. While waiting at the stream crossing which has a big rocking stone, we were lucky to find an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, roosting in the darkness. For me, this was one of the best birds of the trip, being completely unexpected.
Later in the darkness, we heard the call of the Serendib Scops-Owl but it refused to respond to our tape. It was a long, dark walk back to the hotel but we had several torches to light the way.
Day 3. Monday 16th.
Out at dawn up the road to the nearby Sisera’s Riverside Lodge looking for Green-billed Coucal. We stayed here last time, a well laid out garden with small cabins for guests and a covered lounge and dining area. Well worth a visit for small parties.
The Coucal was soon picked up and played hard to get, eventually making off across the river.
Other birds seen here was a very brief Indian Pitta and Tickell’s Flycatcher. After breakfast it was back over the bridge into the forest, going through the village to the clearings and rice fields beyond. Best birds seen included Malabar Trogan, Brown-capped Babbler & Ceylon Crested Drongo. We were due to go back to the forest in the evening to look for Frogmouths but there was a tropical rainstorm. This was the only rain of the trip.
Day 4. Tuesday 17th.
After an early morning bird around the Hotel, we left for Ratnapura and the luxurious Ratnaloka Hotel, taking tea on the terrace and watching the birds around the gardens including a lovely male red phase Paradise Flycatcher, our first Barn Swallows, White-browed Fantail and Indian Robin. An afternoon walk along the lane outside the hotel gave us our first sightings of White-rumped and Scaly-breasted Munias and Ashy and Plain Prinias.
Mid afternoon and a trip to the nearby Gilimale Forest Reserve. At the bottom of the track, we saw our first Sri Lanka Mynas though flight views only while a Besra gave prolonged views sitting out in a tree across the valley. Another endemic, Crimson-fronted Barbet was seen and heard.
At dusk, on the way back, Taya tried to tape lure the elusive Sri Lanka Frogmouth and though several calling birds were heard, none came into view.
Day 5. Wednesday 18th.
An early start for the Sinharaja World Heritage Wilderness Area and the Blue Magpie Lodge. The Lodge has been much improved in the last couple of years with the central area now nicely landscaped and improved rooms with hot showers. You no longer have to take your own food and drink, the food was wonderful and there’s a good supply of drinks. After settling in, we took a walk around the lower forest along the roads around the park gates. Malabar Trogan was well seen, also Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Ceylon Scimitar Babbler and Spot-winged Thrush.
Day 6. Thursday 19th.
Next morning and after an early breakfast, we were joined by our local guide, Indu and took a bumpy Land Rovers drive up the hill to the forest to be in position at sunrise in order to see the early rising White-faced Starlings, Layard’s Parakeets and Sri Lanka Mynas. After an anxious wait, these species eventually appeared in the crowns of large trees in the distance. Then a slow walk along the forest tracks, looking for the elusive feeding flocks of forest birds. Ashy-headed Laughingthrush was seen with difficulty, also Indian Blue Robin and more Blue Magpies were seen from the woodman’s hut at the research Centre. On the walk back, we were lucky to be shown by a local guide a Sri Lanka Frogmouth on a nest, a massive bird on a tiny nest, also Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and Bright-green Warbler.
After lunch, some of the party returned to the lodge while others continued to search the forest. One or two Red-faced Malkoha’s were seen in the treetops, a Brown-backed Needletail flew over and there were further sightings of Layard’s Parakeets, White-faced Starlings and Laughingthrushes.
After taking tea at Martin’s Lodge, we tried to tape lure a Serendib Scops Owl before returning to the Blue Magpie.
We were hoping to see a Serendib Scops Owl in the forest, our guide knew of a roosting site and on earlier occasions had set up a telescope and take clients in ONE AT A TIME to see the bird, ensuring minimal disturbance. Unfortunately, the day before we were in the forest, an independent Sri Lankan guide with a private English Tour Party had entered the site en bloc, trampled down the area and scared the bird away. I don’t blame the party for this as they would have unwittingly followed the Guide into the site but the guide should have shown more caution.
Day 7. Friday 20th.
Drive to Embilipitiya, and the Centauria Hotel, a lovely hotel on the side of a large lake with Whiskered Tern and Spot-billed Pelican. In the afternoon a Jeep Safari in Udawalawe National Park. One the dam before the park, we saw a small flock of Ashy-crowned Sparrow Larks.
Into the park and we soon saw our first wild Elephants as well as Spotted Deer and Wild Boar. Peacocks strutted their stuff, the Brown Fish Owl was in its usual day roost and we saw many grassland species in Barred Buttonquail, Black-headed and Scaly-breasted Munias, White-throated Silverbill, Grey-breasted and Jungle Prinias, Pied and Grey-bellied Cuckoos, Plum-headed and Alexandrine Parakeet and Black-shouldered Kite.
Openbill and Painted Storks and Lesser Whistling Ducks on the wetlands and many birds of prey including Black and Changeable Hawk-eagle.
Day 8. Saturday 21st.
Drive to Tissamaharama and then to the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary. Enroute, we stopped to view some flooded fields and were surprised to see a female Watercock amongst the Egrets, Black-headed Ibis, Openbill Storks and common water birds. At the reserve, we walked alongside the floods, viewing both Yellow and Red-wattled Lapwings, another sighting of a Yellow Bittern, Wood Sandpiper, Richard’s and Paddyfield Pipits, Pied Kingfisher and Ring-necked Parakeets; a massive Caspian Tern flew past and we then had good views of both Eurasian and Greater Thick-knees.
On the way back to Tissa, we stopped to view some tidal floods which held good numbers of waders. Little Stint, Pacific Golden Plover, Greater Sandplover, possibly one or 2 Mongolian (Lesser Sandplovers), Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers were soon ticked off. While we were sorting out the waders, a Booted Eagle did a slow flypast and Great-crested Tern and Little Terns were seen offshore.
Later in the day, we toured the wetlands and tanks around Tissamaharama, we saw our first Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpipers, White-winged Black Tern and Gull-billed Terns, male and female White-naped Woodpeckers showed well at the staked out nest holes in the village and at the Tanks, the village lads where eager to show us their roosting Indian Scops Owl with another Brown Fish Owl thrown in as a bonus. Our base for the next 3 nights was the Hotel Priyankara which was very suitable for our needs being well positioned for the coastal reserves.
Day 9. Sunday 22nd.
We were up early to be out before dawn for a full day Jeep Safari in Yala National Park and Indian Nightjars were seen on the road before the park gates and Night Herons fishing in the creek.
The land Rovers here have to have the covers on so viewing is not as good as the other reserves, however, we were soon seeing Elephants and Spotted Deer. This beautiful reserve has recovered from the tsunami damage but large piles of uprooted trees show the path of the tidal waves that roared in on that terrible day. All of the animals moved away on that day, some 6th sense warning them of the impending disaster; not so some unfortunate tourists who were swept away from the beach; the large memorial there is in their memory. While here, we saw the newly split endemic Ceylon Woodshrike and later stopped under the massive Elephant Rock here and saw 2 beautiful Shaheen Falcons on the rock. Overlooking the wetlands we picked out the only Woolly-necked Stork of the trip amongst the gaudy Painted Storks & Spoonbills while raptors seen included White-bellied and Grey-headed Fish Eagles, Brahminy Kite and Crested Serpent Eagles.
Other birds seen this day were the Sirkeer and Blue-faced Malkohas but their elusive nature made it very difficult for the whole of the party to see these birds as they soon departed through the back of the trees. Others seen were the gorgeous Brahminy Starling, Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Tawny-bellied Babbler and Black Drongo. Late in the afternoon, both vehicles passed a Leopard which was lying in the grass at the roadside. Unfortunately, only the 2nd vehicle saw it and by the time it had stopped and reversed up, the Leopard had moved its position and was hidden behind some bushes, giving only fleeting glimpses.
By the time the other party returned, it was very difficult to see and not all were able to get onto it and it eventually moved away. The full day safari was over long, we were out 13 hours which was very arduous for some of the party and the consensus was that less time in the Land Rovers would probably have been just as fruitful. Also, it had been pointed out that a mistake in our itinerary meant that we were scheduled to stay at Nuwara Eliya in the Highlands for only one night, meaning that it would be very difficult to get both of the endemic Thrushes of the region. We therefore decided that we’d leave for the Highlands a day earlier. Phone calls back to Baur’s were made and arrangements were altered.
Day 10. Monday 23rd.
The Jeep Safari in Bundala National Park was cancelled as we were scheduled to leave for the Highlands at midday. Instead of entering the park, we birded the wetlands along the road outside which held many wading birds. Further brief views were had of elusive species like Tawny-breasted Babblers and Blue-faced Malkoha. Waders here included a Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plovers, Black-tailed Godwits, Marsh, Green and Wood Sandpipers, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Pacific Golden Plovers and the only Ruff of the trip.
Whilst sorting Lesser and Greater Sandplovers, Steve found a Pratincole species which we decided was a Collared Pratincole and whilst scoping this, we then found a Painted Snipe which we all saw very well. Other birds on the wetlands included the only Brown-headed Gulls of the trip and Whiskered, White Winged Black, Gull-billed Caspian and Little Terns. Reluctantly, we had to leave for the Highlands, stopping off at the Surrey Tea Plantation to look for the Brown Wood Owl; unfortunately this elusive bird had changed its regular roost and we didn’t see it though we did see a Blythe’s Reed Warbler. We eventually arrived at the lovely hill town of Nuwara Eliya and checked into The Rock Hotel, situated high above the town. That evening we went into the Victoria Park but birds were scarce.
Day 11. Tuesday 24th.
We were back in the park at first light, in position near the bridge over the stream to see the beautiful Pied Thrush. As the light improved, we could see small white lines moving along the banks of the stream. These were the white stripes on the thrushes and eventually it was light enough to see the whole birds.
We then drove around the back of the lake where Hill Swallow was soon ticked off and arrived at the Moon Plains Track. A walk down the track alongside the stream had a lucky few getting brief views of Ceylon Scaly Thrush and Eurasian Blackbird. The gaudy Grey Headed Canary Flycatchers were numerous; we also saw the endemics; Dull-blue Flycatcher and Sri Lanka White-eye but only Taya saw a Kashmir Flycatcher which unfortunately soon disappeared. Back to the town for some shopping for tea and Gortex Coats which are made in the area and are very good value.
Day 12. Wednesday 25th.
An early drive up the mountain to Horton Plains National Park where we had to be in position before dawn to see the elusive Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush. Here, we joined another party led by Upali Ekanayake and standing by the pond at dawn, a skilful bit of tape luring saw everyone get great views of this elusive rarity.
From here, we walked to the World’s End viewpoint and photos were taken at this spectacular tourist spot; the Sri Lanka Bush-Warbler and Wood Pigeon proved very elusive but were eventually seen together with more Sri Lanka White-eyes and Dull-blue Flycatchers. Back near the Park Gate, Steve found a small grey warbler which we decided was a very rare Sykes’s Warbler. Descriptions were taken and later sent in to the Sri Lanka Birds Rarity Committee.
In the afternoon, we set off for the drive to Kandy though acres of tea plantations, stopping at the tea factory for tea and cake. The drive down the mountain was very slow due to extensive road building improvements all the way down; it seemed to take forever but we eventually arrived in Kandy and the Hotel Suisse.
That night, our party were joined by Perry and Mr. Amal Peiris of Baur’s and other friends to help Kate & me celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary and a great time was had by all.
Day 13. Thursday 26th.
We started our last full day with a visit to the Udawattakelle Sanctuary, a nice woodland reserve with a lake where we had White-rumped Shama, Brown Fish Owl and Stork-billed Kingfisher. Later a drive up to the hills with great views over the town and a visit to a new hotel with nice gardens with lots of birds, we had great view of Black-naped Monarch, Brown Flycatcher and White-browed Fantail and many more. Later a visit to the Batik shop, the Historic Buddhist Temple of the Tooth and in the evening, a trip to the theatre to see an energetic troupe of Sri Lankan Dancers.
Day 14. Friday 27th.
After an early breakfast we drove to Colombo Airport where we said goodbye to our brilliant guide Taya and superb bus crew; the end of a great trip with some terrific birds and yes, we did connect with all of the 33 endemics though the Sri Lanka Spur Fowl and Serendib Scops Owl were only heard.
1) LITTLE GREBE Tachbaptus ruficolis A few at the wetlands
2) SPOT-BILLED PELLICAN Pelecanus phillipensis Embilipitiya and wetlands at Yala
3) INDIAN CORMORANT Phalocrocorax fusicollis Embilipitiya and wetlands
4) LITTLE CORMORANT Phalocrocorax niger Common in most areas
5) ORIENTAL DARTER Anhinga ogaster A few at most wetlands
6) GREY HERON Ardea cinerea Common at wetlands
7) PURPLE HERON Ardea purpurea Marshes and wetlands
8) GREAT EGRET Egretta alba Wetlands
9) INTERMEDIATE EGRET Egretta intermedia One or 2 most days at the wetlands
10) LITTLE EGRET Egretta garzetta Seen most days
11) CATTLE EGRET Bubulcus ibis Common everywhere
12) INDIAN POND HERON Ardeola grayii Common everywhere
13) BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON Nycticorax nycticorax Marsh at Minuwangoda & at Yala 14) YELLOW BITTERN Ixobrychus sinensis Marsh at Minuwangoda & one at Tissa
15) PAINTED STORK Mycteria leucocephala Grassland Reserves
16) ASIAN OPENBILL Anastomus oscitans Common on marshlands and fields
17) WOOLLY-NECKED STORK Ciconia episcopus A few at Yala
18) BLACK-HEADED IBIS Threskiornis melanocephalis Common on rice fields and wetlands
19) EURASION SPOONBILL Platalea leucorodea Grassland Reserves
20) LESSER WHISTLING DUCK Dendrocygna javanica Marsh at Minuwangoda and wetlands
21) NORTHERN PINTAIL Anas acuta Wetlands near Tissa
22) GARGANY Anas querquedula Wetlands near Tissa & Bundala
23) ORIENTAL HONEY BUZZARD Pernis ptilorhynchus Horton Plains
24) BLACK-WINGED KITE Elanus caeruleus Udawalawe & Nuwara Eliya
25) BRAHMINY KITE Haliaster indus Kitugala & Grassland Reserves
26) WHITE-BELLIED FISH EAGLE Haliaeetus leucogaster Yala & Nuwara Eliya
27) GREY-HEADED FISH EAGLE Ichthyophaga ichthyatus Yala
28) CRESTED SERPENT EAGLE Spilornis cheela Common around forests & grasslands
29) SHIKRA Accipiter badius One or 2 seen most days
30) BESRA Accipiter virgatus Gilimale Forest & 1 at Kalametiya
31) MALAYSIAN BUZZARD Buteo japonicus A few in the highlands
32) BLACK EAGLE Ictinatus malayensis Seen well at Kitugala and Tissa
33) BOOTED EAGLE Hieraatus pennatus One over wetlands near Tissa
34) CHANGEABLE HAWK EAGLE Spizaetus cirrhatus Kitugala & Grasslands
35) COMMON KESTREL Falco tinnunculus One on the beach at Yala
36) SHAHEEN FALCON Falco perigrinator Two on the Elephant Rock at Yala
37) SRI LANKA SPURFOWL Galloperdix bicalcarata Heard at Sinharaja
38) SRI LANKA JUNGLEFOWL Gallus lafayettii A few at Sinharaja and Grasslands
39) INDIAN PEAFOWL Pavo cristatus Common around Grassland Reserves
40) BARRED BUTTONQUAIL Turnix suscitator With chicks at Udawalawe
41) WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN Amaurornis phoenicurus Common on all wetlands
42) WATERCOCK Gallicrex cinerea Female near Kalametiya Sanctuary
43) COMMON MOORHEN Gallinula chloropus A few on wetlands near Tissa
44) PURPLE SWAMPHEN Porphyrio porphyrio A few at Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary
45) PHEASANT-TAILED JACANA Hydrophasianus chirurgus Kalametiya, Yala & Bundala
46) PAINTED SNIPE Rostratulabenghalensis One at Bundala
47) BLACK-WINGED STILT Himantopus himantopus Most wetlands
48) EURASIAN THICK-KNEE Burhinus oedicnemus Tissa & Yala
49) GREAT THICK-KNEE Esacus recurvirostris Kalametiya, Yala & Bundala
50) COLLARED PRATINCOLE Glareola pratincola One at Bundala
51) YELLOW-WATTLED LAPWING Vanellus malabaricus Kalametiya & Yala
52) RED-WATTLED LAPWING Vanellus indicus Common at Grasslands
53) PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis fulva A few near Tissa & Bundala
54) GREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola A few near Tissa & Bundala
55) RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula One near Tissa & one at Bundala
56) LITTLE RINGED PLOVER Charadrius dubius A few on the wetlands
57) KENTISH PLOVER Charadrius alexandrinus A few near Tissa & Bundala
58) MONGOLIAN PLOVER Charadrius mongolus Common on the wetlands
59) GREATER SAND PLOVER Charadrius leschenaulti A few on the wetlands
60) BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa. Common on the wetlands
61) COMMON REDSHANK Tringa tetanus A few on the wetlands
62) MARSH SANDPIPER Tringa stagnatilis Kalametiya & Bundala
63) GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia A few on the wetlands
64) GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus A few on the wetlands
65) WOOD SANDPIPER Tringa glareola A few on the wetlands
66) COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos Rivers & wetlands
67) RUDDY TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres Wetlands near Tissa, Yala & Bundala
68) PINTAIL SNIPE Gallinago stenura One male at Bundala
69) LITTLE STINT Calidris minuta Common on the wetlands
70) CURLEW SANDPIPER Calidris ferruginea A few on wetlands near Tissa
71) RUFF Philomachus pugnax One at Bundala
72) BROWN-HEADED GULL Larus brunnicephalus A few at Bundala
73) WHISKERED TERN Chlidonias hybridus Common at Embilipitiya and wetlands
74) WHITE-WINGED TERN Chlidonias leucopterus Wetlands near Tissa, Yala & Bundala
75) GULL-BILLED TERN Gelochelidon nilotica Wetlands near Tissa, Yala & Bundala
76) CASPIAN TERN Sterna caspia Wetlands near Tissa, Yala & Bundala
77) LITTLE TERN Sterna albifrons Wetlands near Tissa & Bundala
78) GREAT CRESTED TERN Sterna bergii Wetlands near Tissa
79) ROCK PIGEON Columba livia Common
80) SRI LANKA WOOD PIGEON Columba torringtonii Very scarce, seem at Horton Plains
81) SPOTTED DOVE Streptopelia chinensis Common
82) EMERALD DOVE Chalcophaps indica Forests around the villages
83) ORANGE-BREASTED GREEN PIGEON Treron bicincta Grassland reserves
84) POMPADOUR GREEN PIGEON Treron pompadora Forests
85) GREEN IMPERIAL PIGEON Ducula aenea Most areas
86) SRI LANKA HANGING PARROT Loriculus beryllinus Most areas
87) ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET Psittacula eupatria One at Udawalawe and one over Kandy
88) ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET Psittacula krameri Common
89) PLUM-HEADED PARAKEET Psittacula cyanocephala One at Udawalawe
90) LAYARD’S PARAKEET Psittacula calthropae 6 Small flocks around Sinharaja,
91) PIED CUCKOO Clamator jacobinus Easily seen at Udawalawe & Yala
92) BANDED BAY CUCKOO Cacomantis sonneratii One at Kitugala; heard in Sinharaja
93) GREY-BELLIED CUCKOO Cacomantis passerinus A few at Udawalawe, Yala & Bundala
94) ASIAN KOEL Eudynamys scolopacea Heard & seen in most areas
95) BLUE-FACED MALKOHA Phaenicophaeus viridirostris Scarce at the Grassland reserves
96) SIRKEER MALKOHA Taccocua leschenaultia One or 2 seen at Yala
97) RED-FACED MALKOHA Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus 3 or 4 in flocks in Sinharaja
98) GREEN-BILLED COUCAL Centropus chlororhynchos Sisero’s River Lodge and Sinharaja
99) GREATER COUCAL Centropus sinensis Common in all areas
100) INDIAN SCOPS OWL Otus bakkamoena One in a garden by Tissa Tanks
101) SERENDIB SCOPS OWL Otus thilohoffmanni Heard in Kitugala
102) BROWN FISH OWL Ketupa zeylonensis Udawalawe, Tissa, one at Kandy
103) JUNGLE OWLET Glaucidium radiatum One heard at Yala
104) CHESTNUT-BACKED OWLET Glaucidium castanonotum A pair in the village at Kitugala 105) SRI LANKA FROGMOUTH Batrachostomus moniliger One on a nest in Sinharaja
106) INDIAN NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus asiaticus A few on the road approaching Yala
107) INDIAN SWIFTLET Collocalia unicolor Common in most areas
108) BROWN-BACKED NEEDLETAIL Hirundapus gigantean One over Sinharaja
109) ASIAN PALM SWIFT Cypsiurus balasiensis Common in all areas
110) LITTLE SWIFT Apus affinis Only seen at Yala
111) CRESTED TREESWIFT Hemiprocne coronata Ratnapura & Grasslands
112) MALABAR TROGAN Harpactes fasciatus Seen well in Forests
113) PIED KINGFISHER Ceryle rudis One at Udawalawe and Kalametiya
114) COMMON KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis Kitugala and others in the wetlands
115) ORIENTAL DWARF KINGFISHER Ceyx erithacus At the tok-tok stream crossing
116) STORK-BILLED KINGFISHER Halcyon capensis Kitugala and one at Udawattakelle
117) WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER Halcyon smyrnensis Common
118) LITTLE GREEN BEE-EATER Merops orientalis Common at the grasslands
119) BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER Merops phillipinus Common, all areas
120) CHESTNUT-HEADED BEE-EATER Merops leschenaultia Seen in most areas
121) INDIAN ROLLER Coracias benghalensis A few in the grasslands & roadsides
122) EURASIAN HOOPOE Upupa epops Yala & Bundala
123) SRI LANKA GREY HORNBILL Ocyceros gingalensis Kitugala, Gilimale & Sinharaja
124) MALABAR PIED HORNBILL Anthracoceros coronatus Many in Udawalawe & Yala
125) BROWN-HEADED BARBET Megalaima zeylanica Common, most areas
126) YELLOW-FRONTED BARBET Megalaima flavifrons Common in Hotel Gardens and forests
127) CRIMSON-FRONTED BARBET Megalaima rubricapilla One at Gilimale & more in Sinharaja
128) COPPERSMITH BARBET Megalaima haemacephala Grassland Reserves
129) YLLOW-CRWNED WDPECKER Dendrocopos mahrattensis One at Kalametiya
130) LESSER YELLOWNAPE Picus chlorolophos Forest Reserves
131) BLACK-RUMPED FLAMEBACK Dinopium bengalense Common in most areas
132) CRIMSON-BCKED FLAMEBCK Chrysocolaptes stricklandii Kitugala & Udawattekelle
133) WHITE-NAPED WOODPECKER Chrysocolaptes festivus A pair at tree holes at Tissa
134) INDIAN PITTA Pitta brachyuran One Sisera’s River Lodge & in Yala
135) JERDON’S BUSH LARK Mirafra assamica Common at Grasslands
136) ORIENTAL SKYLARK Alauda gulgula One at Yala
137) ASHY-CROWNED SPARROWLARK Eremopterix grisea Reservoir at Udawalawe, also Yala
138) BARN SWALLOW Hirundo rustica Common
139) HILL SWALLOW Hirundo tahitica Nuwara Eliya & Horton Plains
140) CEYLON SWALLOW Hirundo hyperythra Seen around most areas
141) RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Hirundo daurica Reservoir at Udawalawe & Yala
142) FOREST WAGTAIL Dendronanthus indicus Victoria Park and Moon Plains track
143) YELLOW WAGTAIL Mottacilla flava thunbergi Udawalawe & Yala
144) GREY WAGTAIL Mottacilla cinera Seen in most areas
145) WHITE WAGTAIL Mottacilla alba Grasslands & Highlands
146) RICHARD’S PIPIT Anthus richardi One at Udawalawe & Kalametiya
147) PADDYFIELD PIPIT Anthus rufulus Grasslands and Highlands
148) LARGE CUCKOOSHRIKE Coracina macei One at Yala
149) BLACK-HEADED CUCKOOSHRIKE Coracina melanoptera In the forests and one at Yala
150) SMALL MINIVET Pericrocotus cinnamomeus A few in most areas
151) ORANGE MINIVET Pericrocotus flammeus Forests, Highlands & Udawattekelle
152) BAR-WINGED FLYCATCHER SHRIKE Hemipus picatus At the Ratnaloka Hotel & Highlands
153) CEYLON WOODSHRIKE Tephrodornis affinis Kalametiya & Yala
154) BLCK-HEADED YELLW BULBUL Pycnonotus melanicterus Seen in all forests
155) RED-VENTED BULBUL Pycnonotuscafer Common
156) YELLOW-EARED BULBUL Pycnonotus penicillatus Udawalawe & common in the highlands
157) WHITE-BROWED BULBUL Pycnonotus luteolus Common in most areas
158) YELLOW-BROWED BULBUL Iole indica Common in forests
159) BLACK BULBUL Hypsipetes leucocephalus Common in forests
160) COMMON IORA Aegithinia tiphia One or 2 in most areas
161) JERDON’S LEAFBIRD Chloropsis cochinchinensis Kitugala & Udawattekelle
162) GOLDEN-FRONTED LEAFBIRD Chloropsis aurifrons Seen in most areas
163) BROWN SHRIKE Lanius cristatus Common
164) PHILAPINE SHRIKE Lanius cristatus lucionensis A few noted
165) INDIAN BLUE ROBIN Luscinia brunnea Sinharaja, Victoria Pk & Highlands
166) ORIENTAL MAGPIE ROBIN Copsychus saularis Common
167) WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA Copsychus malabaricus One briefly heard in Udawattekelle
168) PIED BUSHCHAT Saxicola caprata Common in the Highlands
169) BLACK-BACKED ROBIN Saxicoloides fulicata Ratnaloka Hotel, then most areas
170) SRI LANKA WHISTLING THRUSH Myiophoneus blighi Horton Plains
171) PIED THRUSH Zoothera wardii Victoria Park
172) SPOT-WINGED THRUSH Zoothera spiloptera Sinharaja
173) CEYLON SCALY THRUSH Zoothera imbricata By the stream on Moon Plains Track
174) EURASIAN BLACKBIRD Turdus merula By the stream on Moon Plains Track
175) BROWN-CAPPED BABBLER Pellorneum fuscocapillum Kitugala & Sinharaja
176) CEYLON SCIMITER BABBLER Pomatorynus melanorus Sinharaja & Bundala
177) TAWNY-BELLIED BABBLER Dumetia hyperythra Proved hard to see, Yala & Bundala
178) DARK-FRONTED BABBLER Rhopocichla atriceps Forests & Highlands
179) YELLOW-EYED BABBLER Chrysomma sinense Only seen at Udawalawe
180) ORANGE-BILLED BABBLER Turdoides rufescens Common in the forests
181) YELLOW-BILLED BABBLER Turdoides affinis Common
182) ASHY-HEADED LAUGHING THRSH Garrulax cinereifrons Sinharaja
183) SRI LANKA BUSH-WARBLER Bradypterus palliseri Very elusive in the highlands
184) BLYTHE’S REED WARBLER Acrocephalus dumetorum Kitugala & Surrey Tea Plantation
185) CLAMOROUS REED WARBLER Acrocephalus stentoreus Heard only at Tissa
186) SYKE’S WARBLER Hippolais rama One seen well at Horton Plains
187) ZITTING CISTICOLA Cisticola juncidis One or 2 around Tissa Tanks
188) GREY-BREASTED PRINIA Prinia hodgsonii Udawalawe & Bundala
189) JUNGLE PRINIA Prinia sylvatica Udawalawe
190) ASHY PRINIA Prinia socialis Ratnapura & grasslands
191) PLAIN PRINIA Prinia inornata Ratnapura & grasslands
192) COMMON TAILORBIRD Orthotomus sutorius Common
193) GREENISH WARBLER Phylloscopus trochiloides Only one definite, Sinharaja
194) BRIGHT-GREEN WARBLER Phylloscopus nitidus Common Phyllosc,Forests & Highlands
195) LRGE-BILLED LEAF WARBLR Phylloscopus magnirostris Forests, Highlands & Kandy
196) ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER Muscicapa dauurica Common in Forests & Kandy
197) BROWN-BREASTED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa muttui Common in the forests
198) DULL-BLUE FLYCATCHER Eumyias sordida Moon Plains Track & Horton Plains
199) TICKELL’S BLUE FLYCATCHER Cyornis tickelliae Sisera’s River Lodge & Kandy
200) GREY-HDED CANARY FLYCTCHR Culicicapa ceylonensis Highlands & Udawattakelle
201) BLACK-NAPED MONARCH Hypothymis azurea Forests
202) ASIAN PARADISE F/CATCHER Terpsiphone paradise (red) Ratnaloka Hotel, Udawattakelle
203) INDIAN PARADISE F/CATCHER Terpsiphone paradise (wt) Forests,
204) WHITE-BROWED FANTAIL Rhipidura aureola Sinharaja, Yala, Bundala & Kandy
205) GREAT TIT Parus major Surrey Tea Plantation & Highlands
206) VELVET-FRONTED NUTHATCH Sitta frontalis Sinharaja & Highlands
207) WHITE-THROATED FLOWERPECKER Dicaeum vincens Kitugala & Sinharaja
208) PALE-BILLED FLOWERPCKER Dicaeum erythrorhynchos Forests, Highlands & Kandy
209) PURPLE-RUMPED SUNBIRD Nectarinia zeylonica Common
210) LONG-BILLED SUNBIRD Nectarinia lotenia Seen most days
211) PURPLE SUNBIRD Nectarinia asiatica Grasslands
212) ORIENTAL WHITE-EYE Zosterops palpebrosa Kitugala, Bundala & Kandy
213) SRI LANKA WHITE-EYE Zosterops ceylonensis Highlands
214) WHITE-THROATED SILVERBILL Lonchura malabarica Udawalawe
215) WHITE-RUMPED MUNIA Lonchura striata Ratnapura, Sinharaja & Kandy
216) SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA Lonchura punctulata Common, most areas
217) BLACK-THROATED MUNIA Lonchura kelaati Victoria Park & Highlands
218) BLACK-HEADED MUNIA Lonchura malcca Udawalawe & Kalametiya
219) HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus Ratnapura, Highlands & Kandy
220) WHITE-FACED STARLING Sturnus senex Sinharaja
221) BRAHMINY STARLING Sturnus pagodarum Yala
222) COMMON MYNA Acridotheres tristis Common
223) SRI LANKA MYNA Gracula ptilogenys Gilimale Forest & Sinharaja
224) SOUTHERN HILL MYNA Gracula religiosa Kitugala, Bundala & Kandy
225) BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE Oriolus xanthornus Common
226) BLACK DRONGO Dicrurus macrocercus One in Yala
227) GREY DRONGO Dicrurus leucophaeus One in Yala
228) WHITE-BELLIED DRONGO Dicrurus caerulescens Common
229) CEYLON CRESTED DRONGO Dicrurus lophorhinus Forests
230) ASHY WOODSWALLOW Artamus fuscus Udawalawe & Tissa
231) SRI LANKA MAGPIE Cissa ornata Research Stn hut in Sinharaja
232) HOUSE CROW Corvus splendens Common
233) LARGE-BILLED CROW Corvus macrorhynchos Common