Migratory Birding Tour (November to May)
Arrival to Sri Lanka
Arrival You will be welcomed by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Negombo. In the evening, a briefing will be held about your tour.
Birding at Muthurajawela, Anawilundawa Santuary / transfer to Wilpattu
The Muthurajawela Marshes are 3,068 ha (7,580 acres) in size and this is the country's largest saline coastal peat bog and “A protected area for biodiversity conservation” by the Wildlife Act 1989. It is situated in Gampaha District of western province Sri Lanka.
Muthurajawela is one of the main biodiversity hotspots in Sri Lanka consisting wide array of endemic / resident birds and common flora & fauna species. Muthurajawela eco systems include marsh, lentic flora, reed swamp, short grassland, shrubland, stream bank flora and mangrove swamp. It is the best place around Colombo for spotting migrants and resident Waders.
Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary
The Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary is situated in the Puttalam district in the North Western province of the country; between Chilaw and Puttalam to be more specific - it is situated between the coast and the Chilaw-Puttalam railway line and around 100 km from Colombo. The uniqueness of Anawilundawa is its immediate proximity to three vastly different ecosystems; the coastal, the mangroves and the fresh water tanks making it one of the six RAMSAR Wetlands in Sri Lanka. This unique ecological setting has made it a favourable nesting and breeding ground for hundreds of species of birds.
Wilpattu is Sri Lanka’s largest national park with an area of 130,000 hectare. It is also the oldest national park in Sri Lanka and it’s located 30 kilometres west of Anuradhapura, 26 kilometres north of Puttalam, and approximately 180 kilometres north of Colombo. A unique feature of Wilpattu national park is that the entire park is dotted with large sand rimmed natural lakes known as “Villus”. The Villus collects rainwater and tends to attract wildlife especially during the times of drought. Wilpattu is also renowned for its leopard population, of which there are believed to be around 50-70 although sightings are unpredictable, as one would expect for such a large park. Another major attraction is easy spotting endemic sloth bears. It is also one of the better parks to see barking deer. Wilpattu is a Non-Hunting Area and you may watch many endemic Mammals, Birds, and Reptiles & Butterflies from your naked eyes here.
Vankalai Sanctuary in Mannar was declared a sanctuary by the Department of Wildlife Sri Lanka in 2008 and a RAMSAR wetland of international importance in 2010. This site covers an area of 4,839 hectares and consists of several ecosystems which range from arid zone thorn scrubland, arid zone pastures and maritime grasslands, sand dunes, mangroves, salt marshes, lagoons, tidal flats, sea-grass beds and shallow marine areas.
Many birds including the very rare migrants the Spot-billed Duck, the Comb Duck and the Gadwall; the rare migrant Long-toed Stint and the uncommon migrants the Peregrine Falcon, the Common-ringed Plover, Temminck’s Stint and the Red-necked Phalarope have been spotted at Vankalai, says Ceylon Bird Club Committee Member Udaya Sirivardana as has also the very rarely recorded ‘Eastern’ Black-tailed Godwit.
Birding at Talaimannar
Mannar Island is one of the best spots in Sri Lanka for spotting migratory birds and for other animals also.There is a number of mud flats and saline lakes between the mainland and Mannar Island that attracts lots of wintering birds. In Mannar you will see birds such as Greater Flamingos, Black Tailed Godwits, Gargneys, Pintail Ducks, Gulls, Plovers, Terns all in flocks of several hundreds. So many Raptors: White Bellied Sea Eagles, Brahmin Kites, Black Kites, Common Kestrels. In addition you can see Crab Plovers and Pied Avocets.
Spending your time at Mannar Island will let you enjoy and observe aquatic birds which inhabit the turquoise water area in the surrounding area.
Birding at Jaffna Bird park / transfer to Jaffna
Kayts Causeway linking the mainland to the Karaitivu island, which is flanked by the Jaffna lagoon and the Indian Ocean. In doing so, they are treated to sightings of species such as the Lesser Sand Plovers, Little Stints, Black-tailed Godwits, Mash Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers and more; birds that are to be found feeding along the sides of the road.
During the migratory period of November to late May thousands of birds can also be found at the lagoon; among them, Northern Pintails, Eurasian Wigeons, Northern Shovelers, Gargany birds and the Lesser Whistling Ducks, which are drawn by the promise of a hearty meal in the lagoon waters. In addition, one can also witness as a special treat, The Greater Flamingo in all its beauty.
Birding at Delft Island
Located on the Palk Strait, 10 km southwest of Jaffna, Delft (also known as Neduntheevu or the Long Island) is the second largest of Sri Lanka's islands with a history spanning over a thousand years. Delft's history and heritage was especially influenced by Ceylon's relationships with Portuguese, Dutch and British colonists since the 16th century. Utilized as a ground for rearing cattle and horses, the island was first described as Ilha das Vacas or Island of Cows and then as Ilha das Cavallos or Island of Horses. Even today, the island is famously known for its extraordinary population of wild horses. Delft is home to a largely Christian and Hindu Tamil community of about 5,000 people who principally engage in fishing, producing dried fish, rearing cattle and poultry, and cottage industries centered on Palmyra products.
Delft is rich in biodiversity. An area of 1846 ha is reserved for wild horses in the Southern part of Delft Island. The Adam’s Bridge Marine National Park, which appears like a chain, consists of small islands with varying sand dunes. Part of it is located within the Indian Territory and known as National Park of the Gulf of Mannar. This is Sri Lanka’s national park on the inter-boundary. A few remnants from its colonial past, such as ruins of ancient buildings, ruins of a Portuguese and Dutch fort and ruins of south Indian Chola Dynasty, can still be seen along the western coast. Also are the stupas of the early Anuradhpura period.
Birding at Chundikulam National Park / transfer to Sigiriya
Chundikulam National Park is situated in the north of Sri Lanka. It is at a distance of 12 km from east of Kilinochchi. your gateway to experience new things and go beyond the popular attraction in this beautiful tropical country. Chundikulam lagoon and the area surrounding it were declared a bird sanctuary on February 25th, 1938 under the protection act.
In May 2015 areas around Chundikulam including Adam’s bridge, Delft, and the Madhu road were announced to be converted into national parks. This national park is surrounded by different species of flora and fauna. It is home to various species of birds. Birds like Eurasian teal, curlew sandpiper, and gull-billed tern, greater flamingo, ruff, brown-headed gull, black-tailed godwit, Eurasian spoonbill, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian wigeon, northern pintail, shoveler, wood sandpiper and many more. You just have to take your binoculars and rush toward this national park.
Sigiriya sanctuary is a well-protected UNESCO World heritage site. This is a heavenly place for birds with thick canopies and forests.Sigiriya is surrounded with vast manmade tanks and this has made it to become a place to witness large numbers of migratory and endemic birds. The importance of Sigiriya sanctuary is very high, due to a large concentration of avian fauna species. Sigiriya Sanctuary is resided by more than 65 endemic, resident and migratory bird species. Sigiriya sanctuary consists of patches of forests, lakes, canals, and surrounding road network, which serve the devotees heading to the ancient Pidurangala temple.
Kandy City Tour
Kandy, byname Maha Nuwara (“Great City”), city in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, at an elevation of 1,640 feet (500m) which is surrounded by the longest river Mahaweli and ring of mountains giving natural protection. It is a UNESCO world heritage city. The last kingdom of Sri Lanka and the home for the sacred relic of Gautama Buddha.
Today Kandy is the second most famous city of Sri Lanka with a total area of 1,940km square and major tourist attractions. Kandy also has much to offer in terms of historical sites and monuments since it was the last kingdom of Sri Lanka.
Temple of Sacred Relic - Kandy
The Temple of the Sacred Relic is a world-renowned place of worship, where a Sacred Relic of Gautama Buddha is enshrined. The temple which is venerated by thousands of local & foreign devotees and tourists daily was named as a world heritage by UNESCO in 1988. The temple which carries a lot of value to Buddhists all over the world also has immense cultural value. The architecture is of unique Kandyan architectural style with a combination of the unique style used to build “Dalada Mandira” the shrines which housed the Sacred Relic previously in other kingdoms. Unique traditions still continue for over 1600 years, such as daily rituals and annual “Esala Procession” which is an iconic cultural event of Sri Lanka.
This Bird watching and Nature trekking tour at Udawatta Kele Sanctuary will give you an exciting experience complete with a tuk tuk ride in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka. The sanctuary located north of Kandy Lake is an eco-tourism site which expands over 103 hectares. This garden has an exclusive collection of avifauna.this is a great place to explore the bird life where approximately 80 species of birds can be seen.
At 2,000m above sea level, the 19th century colonial hill station of Nuwara Eliya was a favorite retreat of the British, who were drawn by the climate, and to this day it retains a colonial ambiance with its golf course, gentlemen’s clubs, race course and mock-Tudor buildings. Still called Nuwara Eliya as little England. Indeed, Nuwara Eliya was once was the favored cool-climate escape for the English and Scottish pioneers of Sri Lanka’s tea industry. Lush grown tea estates are everywhere endlessly.
Victoria Park Bird Watching
Nuwara Eliya, Victoria Park as well as being beautiful is also internationally renowned as a must visit Birding location. This city park was named after Queen Victoria in 1897 to commemorate her 60th jubilee coronation. The park is well laid out with easy-to-follow paths. This is a magnet for many of the birds including some really sought-after species - Kashmir Flycatcher, Pied Thrush, Forest Wagtail, Dusky Warbler and Sri Lanka Bush Warbler.
Night: Nuwara Eliya
Horton Plains Trekking (UNESCO world heritage)
Horton Plains consists of ecosystems such as Montane evergreen forests, grasslands, marshy lands and aquatic ecosystems. At an altitude of 2,100m above sea level, Horton Plains spreads across over 3,169 hectares of the highest tableland of the island. In view of the large number of endemic flora and fauna species, Horton Plains was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 30th July 2010. During the dry season, the temperature drops to around 5⁰ Centigrade in the daytime. On the southern edge of the Horton Plains at an altitude of 2140m is famous World’s End, an escarpment that fall sheer 900m.The most frequent site of wildlife at Horton Plains are herds of Sambar Deer and rarely spotting Leopards as well. Among the other mammals in the park are Stripe-necked Mongoose, Long-tailed Giant Squirrel Wild Boar, the endemic Bear Monkey, Toque Monkey, Fishing cat, Otters. Some endemic birds can be discovered in the area. Sri Lanka bush warbler, Dull-Blue flycatcher, Sri Lanka whistling thrush and the yellow-eared bulbul, Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, Sri Lanka White-eye, Spot-winged Thrush, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Scaly Thrush, Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Brown-capped Babbler, Sri Lanka Spur-fowl and Sri Lanka Jungle-fowl.
Elephant Transit Home (ETH)
“Elephant Transit Home'' is Asia's first rehabilitation center for elephants. Established in 1995 by the Wild life Conservation Department the center lies on a 200 acre land on the western border of the Udawalawe National Park. The calves are treated and brought up with minimum human intervention to avoid developing an affinity to humans. The animals in this rehabilitation center have a higher capacity to live freely and it is highly beneficial for their genetic diversity as they are brought from different regions of the country.All the calves are fed milk through a funnel one at a time. Each calf is trained to patiently wait till their turn but of course like human kids you will find a few cheeky small ones trying to get back into the queue after being fed or get an additional quota from another feeder.
Udawalawe National Park jeep safari
Udawalawe National Park, the sixth largest animal sanctuary of Sri Lanka. The main attractions of the park are the Elephants, Water Buffalo, Wildboar, Spotted Deer, Sambar Deer, Jackal, Samber, Black-naped hare, mongooses, bandicoots, foxes, s the endemic Toque Macaque and Gray Langers. Sighting a Leopard and other smaller cats like Fishing cat & Jungle cat would be a bonus.Udawalawe National Park is one of the best places to see Raptors in Sri Lanka and afford excellent opportunities for photography. Endemic birds include the Sri Lankan junglefowl, Sri Lanka spurfowl, Sri Lanka green pigeon, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, Sri Lanka woodshrike and Sri Lanka swallow. Among the other bird species seen are Spot-billed pelican, Little cormorant, Grey heron, Indian pond heron, Cattle egret, Great egret, Little egret, Intermediate egret, Painted stork, Woolly-necked stork, Yellow-wattled lapwing, Green bee-eater, Crested treeswift. In forested areas Sirkeer and Blue-faced malkoha are found. During the migrant season of birds (Nov to March): Booted eagle, Common kestrel, Harris’s hawk, Rosy starling, Black-capped kingfisher, Wood sandpiper, Common sandpiper, Little ringed plover, Whiskered tern, Western yellow wagtail, Forest wagtail & Citrine wagtail.
Yala National Park
Yala National Park (also known as Ruhuna National Park) is located in the southeastern region of Sri Lanka and it is the second largest NP. The rocky outcrops scattered over the park provide vantage points to enjoy the sprawling areas with Sri Lanka’s dry zone landscape: low scrub and woods. Stillmore, the southern border of the park being the south-eastern coast, the brackish lagoons and dunes enhance the distinctive charm of the Yala National Park. Of all the National Parks in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park gives the best opportunity to witness Sri Lanka’s broad variety of wildlife: colorful painted stork in troops are seen perched at the shores of lagoon where the crocodiles too have chosen to doze off; lovely fantail peacocks in their resplendent blues and greens parade about amidst the woods where monkeys hang, leap and chatter; in the bush jungle are the Elephants; crossing the tracks and wandering off into the thorny scrub jungle is the star attraction of the park: the leopard.
Bundala National Park
The Bundala National Park considered the most important birding destination in Sri Lanka was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and thereafter advanced to a National Park in 1993.The park is the first wetland to be declared as a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka back in 1991 and in 2005, the park was also named an UNESCO designated biosphere reserve, making it the fourth of its kind in Sri Lanka. This diverse park protects an important area of the coastal wetland, which is famous for its abundance of wildlife that include both aquatic and land birds and mammals.
It is home to 197 different species of birds that include 139 residents, and 58 different seasonal visitors. Amongst these species are a vast variety of birds including but not limited to; Ibid, Pelicans, Painted Storks, Egrets and Spoonbills. The park is known to play host to an abundance of winged guests with record amounts of stints, sandpipers, plovers, terns, gulls and ducks being spotted.
Aththidiya Bird Sanctuary / transfer to Colombo Airport
The Attidiya Bird Sanctuary is well known for its migratory and endemic waterbirds but is also a great place to watch butterflies. Bordering the famous Bellanwila Buddhist Temple; the sanctuary has rich and diverse birdlife, despite its comparatively smaller area. Some of the rarer birds to be observed are the Indian Shag, Wide Winged Purple Heron, Blue Breasted Banded Tail, Ruddy Crake, Spot Billed Pelican, Purple Coot, White Ibis, Painted Stork and the elusive Glossy Ibis. The sanctuary also conceals crocodiles, fishing cats, jackals and many other wildlife.