Sri Lanka is a tropical island situated close to the southern tip of India. The bird life of Sri Lanka is very rich for its size and about 433 species have been recorded. In addition to the many resident birds, a considerable number of migratory species winter in the country to escape their northern breeding grounds.
There are 233 species which are resident, of which 26 are endemic. The other resident species are also found in the nearby Indian mainland, but over 80 have developed distinct Sri Lankan races. Some of these races are very different in their plumage characteristics from the related forms in India.
Bird distribution in Sri Lanka is largely determined by its climatic zones. The dry zone is largest of the three, covering more than half of the island, with a prolonged dry and hot period and only one monsoon (the north east monsoon from October to January).
The wet zone, with two monsoons, is in the south western quarter of the island, where the few remaining rain forests are found and humidity is high.
The central hill zone rises to over 2450 m (8-10,000 ft) and has a cool temperate climate. Most of the 26 endemic species are confined to the wet and the hill zones, with only a few extending into the dry zone as well.
Best time to Visit
Any period between October to late April or early May is best for visiting birders. This period is best because all the winter visitors to the country are present and there is a very good chance of seeing a load of wintering waders and some spectacular migrants.
Bird Watching sites
- Bundala National Park
- Horton Plains National Park
- Sinharaja Forest Reserve
- Uda Walawe National Park