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    BIRD WATCHING SRI LANKA  

Bird Watching Tour In Sri Lanka

Bird Watching Tour In Sri LankaThe amazing abundance of over 400 varieties of birds in Sri Lanka is attributable to the tropical climate and wide range of natural habitats, from mountains to lowlands to dry plains and lush forests. On a point of academic argument, there are either 26 or 23 endemic species in Sri Lanka, largely confined to the rainforests of the hill zone. The best time of year for sightings is November-April, particularly February and March, after the migrants (198 species) have arrived.

The abundance of Sri Lanka's bird life makes it an ornithologist's paradise. Of the 435 recorded species, 230 are resident, and no less that 23 are endemic to the island. Most of the endemic birds, like the Sri Lanka Myna or the Yellow-eared Bulbul, are restricted to the wet zone. Others, such as the striking Red-faced Malkoha and the Sri Lanka Spot-winged Thrush, can be found throughout the island, although confined to small areas of humid forests.

Bird Watching Tour in Sri LankaSri Lanka has high biological, ecological and cultural diversity within a very small land area. About 1.5 million ha. of forest with very high biodiversity, conservation of 14% of the total land area as protected areas and accessibility to different types of ecosystem within 4 to 5 hours by ground route are the great advantages Sri Lanka has. Although there are such strengths, ecotourism activities have not been properly managed to attract genuine tourists and provide maximum protection for the healthy environment. Sri Lanka's birds, one of the richest in any comparable area of South Asia, include 227 indigenous species of which 23 are endemic. In addition, a further 95 migrant, 24 sea birds and 75 incidental species have been recorded in the island.

Among the best areas for bird-life are the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and the Polonnaruwa Archaeological Reserve Area. Around mid-August, the first flock of the species that live through winter in Sri Lanka begin to arrive with large numbers of waders from northern temperate countries - sandpipers, stilts, plovers and terns - finding refuge in the unique lagoons along the costal belt.

In the forested areas, migratory tree warblers, thrushes and cuckoos can be found. Reservoirs in the dry zone attract numerous types of ducks, whilst large water birds - including storks, herons and egrets - can be easily spotted in areas such as Bundala, Kalametiya and Wirawila in the extreme south-eastern coast. The eastern lagoons in the island, particularly Bundala, are especially famous for migrating flocks of flamingos.

The sanctuaries at Kumana, 312 km from Colombo, Wirawila 261 km, Bundala 259 km, Kalametiya 224 km, are all lagoon locations in Sri Lanka's extreme south eastern coast. The coastal sanctuaries are exotically picturesque with combinations of lagoons, swamps, rivers, jungles, lakes and plains. Large flocks of both resident and migrant aquatic birds can be found here.

Best time of day for observation is early morning, except for the people-friendly "Townies", like the black house crows, common mynah, sunbirds, parakeets, etc. For the ‘birder' the choice sites are the forests of Sinharaja and Horton Plains. For family enjoyment the National Parks of Yala, Bundala and Uda Walawe are more easily accessible.
 
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