Birding with us to find the birds you desire in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has many interesting bird species to offer visiting birdwatchers. They are listed below. Any visiting birdwatcher would like to see all or many of these birds and to add the new birds (‘life birds’) among them to her/his ‘life list’. The potential ‘life bird’ list includes the Sri Lanka endemic species, some other special residents, including the species endemic to both India and Sri Lanka, species mostly restricted to Asia, and some migrants from North India and Central Asia. It may be interesting know that most migrants from the Northern Indian region are easier to see in Sri Lanka than in India. Besides these special birds there are many more species found in Sri Lanka that have a wider distribution. Our two-week bird watching tour covers around 250 species in total.

There is a total of 465 species of birds authentically recorded to date in Sri Lanka. Recent taxonomic revision of South Asian birds in Rasmussen & Anderton (2005) recognizes 225 species endemic to the South Asian region, of which 34 species are now endemic to Sri Lanka, including the newly discovered Serendib Scops-owl Otus thilohoffmanni. There are also 54 species in the country which are endemic to India and Sri Lanka.

When to watch your ‘life birds’ in Sri Lanka: Generally the resident species among these can be found on a tour at any time of the year. But for birdwatchers who are also interested in watching North Indian and Central Asian migrants in Sri Lanka it is best to tour during the northern winter when the migrants are in Sri Lanka. In the non-migrant season monsoon rains on some days may hinder birding.

Finding nocturnal birds: There are 15 species of resident nocturnal birds in Sri Lanka. Looking for them is usually a high priority for visiting birdwatchers, especially because among them there are two species of owls endemic to the country and some regional endemics. This has made night birding in Sri Lanka an essential part of birding tours. For most of these species there is more than one special site known to our team to find them in each of the given itineraries. The team is knowledgeable and skilful in, and fully equipped for, night birding.

Watching pelagic birds: There are about 20 species of pelagic birds annually migrating to the coastal waters of Sri Lanka . This includes interesting species in Indian Ocean such as Barau’s Petrel, Jouanin’s Petrel, Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel, etc. We organize off shore boat trips to watch these species, on request. Please see ‘ Table 2 ‘ below for the list of pelagic birds found off Sri Lanka.

The table below gives definite, and potential, ‘life birds’ in Sri Lanka for visiting birdwatchers who are new to, or have less experience of, birding in the Oriental Region. It shows the number of possible sites for each species and number of chances available to try for it on each tour. The Itineraries page gives the total number of species that is possible to find on each tour.

To see the table Click here