Best time to travel to Sri Lanka

Birdwatching in Sri Lanka 2023-2024

Migratory birds as well as those who can call Sri Lanka home, will impress any bird watching enthusiast

Best time: October–July

Birdwatching
Birdwatching
Birdwatching

Sri Lanka is home to 439 species of birds of which 236 are resident, 203 migrant and the rest vagrant species. Migratory birds, both terrestrial and aquatic, arrive from Siberia, Scandinavia and Western Europe around September-October and stay antil April. See the spectacular Indian Pitta, Pied Thrush, Kashmir Flycatcher or Orange-headed Thrush. But if you are not that interested in migratory birds, you can see some awesome endemic birds until July!

The main bird watching site is Kumana National Park, an essential nesting and breeding sanctuary in Sri Lanka. The Bundala national Park situated on the migratory routes is great to watch flamingos, storks and herons. Also, visit Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, Bodinagala Forest Reserve, Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, Kitulgala Forest Reserve, and Yala National park.

Practical info

When is the ideal time for observing birds in Sri Lanka?

The perfect time to watch birds in Sri Lanka is between October and July when migratory birds come from Siberia, Scandinavia, and Western Europe and stay until April. If you prefer resident bird species, you can still enjoy watching various endemic birds until July, ensuring your birdwatching adventure is worth the trip to Sri Lanka. Show more

What are some highly recommended birdwatching spots in Sri Lanka?

Several birdwatching locations in Sri Lanka offer stunning sightings of several bird species. You can explore the scenic beauty of Kumana National Park, where different birds nest and breed. For seeing flamingos, storks, and herons, visit the Bundala National Park, which is situated on the migratory route. Other places worth exploring include the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, Bodinagala Forest Reserve, Kitulgala Forest Reserve, Yala National Park, and the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary. Show more

How many bird species are found in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is blessed with an abundance of birds and is home to as many as 439 bird species. Among them, 203 are migratory, 236 are resident species, and the rest are vagrants. Sri Lanka is famous for hosting migratory avifauna who visit from Siberia, Scandinavia, and Western Europe from September-October and stay until April. Indian Pitta, Kashmir Flycatcher, Orange-headed Thrush, Pied Thrush are some of the other bird species found here. Show more

What makes the endemic birds in Sri Lanka unique?

With an exotic array of birds, Sri Lanka is known as an ornithologist's paradise. Endemic bird species like Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, and Sri Lanka Junglefowl are some of the exclusive species found in the country. Besides, birdwatchers also target some attractive species such as Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Layard's Parakeet, and the Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, making Sri Lanka's birdwatching a unique experience. Show more

What is noteworthy about Kumana National Park for birdwatching?

Kumana Bird Sanctuary, nicknamed 'Yala East,' is an essential sanctuary for nesting and breeding birds in Sri Lanka. The time between April and July is the best season to explore Kumana National Park when many bird species come to nest on tiny islands. Different aquatic bird species like egrets, pelicans, and spoonbills can be seen nesting around the lagoons. You can also spot several wildlife including Sri Lankan leopards, elephants and many more on your way. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych