Wherever you are on the island, the profusion and vibrant colours of the local avian life never fail to astonish. Over 430 species of birds have been recorded, among them 33 endemics. In addition, around 240 types of migrant from India over-winter here. Habitat loss has resulted in several species coming under threat, notably the green-billed coucal and Sri Lankan whistling thrush, though with help from our expert naturalist guides, even these endangered birds may be ticked off in a typical two-week trip.
Birding tours usually start at lowland rainforest sites, where you’ll be looking for rarities such as spurfowl and blue magpies. Up in the highland reserves, Indian pitta, pied thrush and Kashmir flycatchers may put in appearances.
Thanks to its wide range of habitats (which include wetlands), Bundala National Park is our top recommendation for serious birders. Expect to sight beautiful bluetailed bee-eaters, black and yellow bitterns, watercock, ruddy-breasted crake, and variety of waders, including Pacific golden plover and pintail snipe, in the adjacent saltpans.