Visit your favourite destinations
Western Europe
North America
Eastern Europe
South America
Middle East
East Indies

A Report from

Sri Lanka, Nov/Dec 2006,


Simon Hartill, Southampton, UK and Alan Baxter, Epsom


Having read many reports on Sri Lanka we decided that it was time to visit and see as many of the endemics as possible as well as catch up on some birds missed in Goa 3 years previous.

We booked our tour with Baurs who arranged everything in Sri Lanka for us from picking us up at the airport, to dropping us off 2 weeks later. The organisation was first class and we encountered no problems during the holiday. Our driver and guide, Sunil, excelled in finding us all the endemics and most of the specials that were on the target list.


We flew with Qatar Airlines from Heathrow to Qatar then onwards to Columbo, cost £500 each. We used a local bird tour ground agent, Baurs, the longest running bird tour guide company in SL. Very reasonable cost $1550 each for an all inclusive 15 day tour, E-mail:  

Including all food, transport in a large, modern AC minivan, driver/guide and all the hotels were prebooked by Baurs. They were very relaxed about payment. We paid in US $ cash on arrival at the airport.

Total cost of holiday all in, was about £1500 each.

The above price includes the following services:

1. Arrival/departure transfers + tour in an air-conditioned vehicle .
2. Accommodation on Full board basis during the entire programme. ( B'Fast,Lunch & Dinner)
3. All entrance fees, hotel tipping and porterage.
4. Jeep services where applicable.
5. Services of Mr. Sunil Alwis as your driver Guide
6. All government taxes

For your info Unlike Jetwings who started Bird watching tours recently (2 years ) with armatures. We ( Baurs ) are in this business for over 30 years and our company has a reputation in the Birding circle internationally with our services and our Guides and Driver Guides

Also note, all our Guides and Driver Guides carry tape calls and other necessary equipments for difficult spices so that you will not have any problems.

Payment could be made to us upon arrival either by cash or travellers cheques.

Departed Heathrow at 10pm on the 24th November, arrived at Columbo airport 6pm the following day, after a nail biting landing.  We landed in a very nasty thunderstorm, the plane was hit by lightning several times. As we approached the runway wind shear forced the pilot to abort and climb at full power up through the storm. We had to circle for 40 minutes or so until the tower notified us that the weather had improved. Not much fun, a buttock clenching ride!!  Thunderstorms and rain in the afternoon were the norm in SL for much of our trip!!

Drove to Kitulgala in the rain and dark, arriving at the Kithugala Rest House at 9.30pm or so.

Day 1 - 26th Nov – Kitulgala – hot and v.humid

After a good nights rest and a hearty breakfast, watching Stork-billed Kinfisher, at the Kitulgala Rest House we were out by 6.30 keen to start ticking off the endemics. A quick 5 mins wander round the car park produced White-bellied Drongo, Oriental White-eye, Orange Minivet and the first endemic – Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill.

The main aim this morning was to find the Chestnut-backed Owlet and the Green-billed Coucal which are possible the other side of the river from the hotel. Walking down to the river 20+ fly over Green Imperial Pigeons were new plus numerous Purple-rumped Sunbirds and 3 White-rumped Munias.

Crossing the river in the narrow dugout we notched up our first of many Crested Serpent Eagles on the trip. Birds started to arrive thick and fast in and around the village. Yellow-browed Bulbuls were common, Asian Brown Flycatcher – 1, Greater Coucals, Emerald Doves, Black Drongos, mixed gangs of Yellow and Orange-billed Babblers, Indian Swiftlets and Asian Palm Swifts over the clearings. A distinct call then alerted our guide to the presence of a Chestnut-backed Owlet. Almost immediately it was located mid-way up a tree and continued to call continuously for the next 20+ mins as we enjoyed fantastic scope views. Full of optimism we continued along the path finding a Brown-breasted Flycatcher by a small stream and a couple of Sri Lanka Swallows hawking nearby. A woodpecker got the heart racing but was quickly Id’d as the crimson-backed form of Black-rumped Flameback. A call suddenly got the attention of our guide and we found ourselves hot footing it back down the path and into a curious Sri Lankans’ back yard – they must think we’re mad in our long trousers, boots and leech socks!! A quick burst on the tape brought an immediate and very unexpected response. A Green-billed Coucal appeared from nowhere and landed right above our heads and began to call, in full view just a few feet away!! A few mins later it calmed down and started to preen when a second one, likely the female, came in and they started mutually preening each other completely unconcerned by our close presence – fantastic!!

Leaving the village behind we walked into the relatively quiet forest but soon picked up some movement on the floor – a Spot-winged Thrush. Our guide took us to a spot where the Serendib Scops Owl roosts but as expected it was a no show. The temperature and humidity rose as we headed back finding a couple of Black-naped Monarchs, a male Malabar Trogon, Common Ioras and a Black-hooded Oriole.

Flushed with success we had a very hot curry for lunch whilst watching a couple of Legge’s Flowerpeckers, Golden-f leafbirds, O Magpie Robins, Pale-b Flowerpecker and 2 Brown-headed Barbets in the trees by the restaurant.  

After a well earned siesta, which would become the norm for the trip, we headed off to the nearby Sisiya’s garden. Plenty of birds around, SL Grey Hornbill, SL Hanging Parrots buzzing over plus a couple watched for 10mins feeding in the trees by the entrance track. Green Imp Pigeon, Tickells Blue Fly, Asian Paradise Fly, SL Junglefowl, R-vented Bulbuls in the car park area. A couple of nesting Southern Hill Mynas at a clearing above the hotel were to prove the only ones of the whole trip, also 3 Layards Parakeets flew over.

Heavy rain and thunder stopped us venturing out in the evening for the Serendib Scops. Dinner was good consisting of a salad starter followed by grilled/fried seer fish and fruit for pudding – little did we know this would be the virtually same thing we would eat for lunch and dinner at every place except the Blue Magpie Lodge!

Day 2 - 27th Nov

A misty start saw us heading of to Sisiya’s garden again at 6.30. The car park area held the same birds as yesterday plus Common Tailorbird, Jerdons and Golden-f Leafbirds, Brown Fly and Black-r Flameback. The path leading down towards the river yielded many birds, Green Warbler, O White-eyes, Large-billed Leaf Warbler -1, Black-capped Bulbuls, Yellow-fronted Barbet, 4 Emerald Doves, Black-headed Cuckooshrike and 2 Dark-fronted Babblers.

We ended up sitting by the river supping lion beer watching raptors – Oriental Honeys, 2 Black Eagles Changeable Hawk Eagles, Crested Serpent Eagle and Shikra.

Lunch back at the rest house was interrupted by a fly over Crested Goshawk that landed in a riverside palm.

Very heavy rain prevented us going out until late pm, a flock of 20+ Ceylon Green Pigeons were feeding in the car park as we left, but it was getting dark by the time we walked across the dodgy suspension bridge. Compensation came in the form of a very obliging Brown Hawk Owl watched in the twilight before the rain set in again.

Day 3 – 28th Nov

At 6.30 we found ourselves walking back over the wobbly bridge in search of the Brown-capped Babbler which had managed to elude us so far. After searching through many roving flocks of babblers we eventually found a group of 3 Brown-capped Babblers feeding in the leaf litter.

A long drive to Ratnapura was uneventful but for 4 O-Honey Buzzards and a Shikra. A very grand lunch at the Ratnaloka Tour Lodge was v.welcome and from the balcony we found a Black-r-flameback and 3 SL Swallows, but it was too hot for much else.

As both evenings at Kitulgala has been rained off we changed the itinerary to visit Morapitiya to search for the sought after scops owl. Baurs were as usual v.efficient and flexible so at 5pm we swapped the air con van for a rattly old jeep and made the 40 min bumpy ride up the track. With a bit of time to kill before dusk we wandered along the track finding a SL Crested Drongo, a noisy gathering of 10+ Layards Parakeets at their nest site and had poor flight views of 2 SL Mynas.

The Owl was first heard at 6.30 but as it slowly drew nearer the heavens opened and we were forced to sit and shelter for 45mins in the back of the jeep, nervously waiting for it to finish. Just before 8pm we heard the owl again, this time a lot nearer, so we piled out of the jeep and stood along the track in the pitch black and waited. A few bursts on the tape deck seemed to work but whenever the spotlight was switched on the owl was nowhere to be seen. Despondent we thought we were going to miss this rare bird but fortune favoured the brave and suddenly we heard the owl v.close behind us. A bit of re-jigging in position and we were primed, the spotlight was turned on and there it was – SERENDIB SCOPS OWL, what a moment!!! Complete euphoria entailed as we watched this near mythical owl for a couple of mins less than 10m away – easily the star bird of the holiday!

After the long bumpy ride to the Blue Magpie Lodge we tucked into our curry and beers. The staff at the hotel were great, very impressed how accommodating they were to our late arrival. Sunil got us separate rooms as well, rounding off a long but memorable evening.

Day 4 – 29th Nov  Sinharaja

Breakfast was eaten, with eager anticipation of the day ahead, overlooking the rice paddies watching amongst others Blue-t Bee-eaters, Waterhens, Yf barbets. Bumped our way up to the entrance gate in a rickety old jeep and began our stroll through the reserve. The first part of the track was quiet but things got going soon enough. The first flock held a cracking pair of Red-faced Malkohas which sat long enough to be scoped and by the time we arrived at the research centre we had seen Malabar Trogons, Crimson-backed Woodpecker, Brown-capped Babblers, Large-b Warbler, Lesser Yellownape, a superb white morph paradise Fly, Velvet-f-nuthatch, SL Drongos. A fruitless search through the muddy area found no sign of any scaly thrushes but did yield a Spot-winged thrush or two. On the return journey we picked up our first SL Scimitar Babblers and Ashy-headed Laughing Thrushes. Both had proved quite tricky initially but soon we had prolonged close views.

Back at the lodge we enjoyed lunch and picked up our first Scaly-b-munias, White-browed Bulbul and 2 Blyths Reed Warblers.

During the heat of the day, feet up, with beer in hand decided to do some lazy birding from the terrace. A good move as a couple of Brown-backed Needletails put in an appearance along with some Crested Treeswifts and a close perched female Layards Parakeet watched in envy as the beer disappeared.

An afternoon foray into the reserve was a risk as it could easily have been rained off but as it happened Sinharaja was one of the few places in Sri Lanka that we didn’t lose time to rainstorms. The birds were low in number but high in quality. Many of the birds seen in the morning were in the flocks and after some scanning, 12 of the enigmatic White-faced Starlings were scoped sunning themselves after a brief shower. Towards dusk a beautiful Blue Magpie was found less than 5m away along the track getting ready to roost.

An evening foray along the road away from Sinharaja produced point blank views of a perched male Sri Lanka Frogmouth.

Day 5 – 30th Nov  Sinharaja

Got up early and went to a site near the village that the forest ranger said held Sri Lanka Spurfowl. No site nor sound of anything so we decided to cut our losses and bump our way back up to the reserve. As we entered the reserve a Green-billed Coucal put in a brief appearance and a couple of Brown-backed Needletails flew over the clearing. A SL Spurfowl was heard but we had no chance of seeing it, another group that were already in the reserve were lucky enough to find one on the track – best to be the first ones in!!  We walked fairly quickly to the research centre to get to the Scaly thrush site before the day heated up but still saw many of the specials inc a couple more R-faced Malkohas, a close Blue Magpie, SL Scimitar Babblers, Ashy-headed laughing thrushes and Malabar Trogons.

Simon decided against looking for the Scaly thrush and decided to hang back and follow some flocks seeing a perched Crested Goshawk, White-f-Starling + the usual flock birds. I Spent an hour or so clambering deep into the muddy, leech infested, area the thrushes hang out in with the forest guide. Hearing one v.close by I managed a v.poor of the SL Scaly Thrush as it hopped away from us, alas that was all I was to see of it so gave up and headed out of the reserve. Towards the entrance we watched a close Forest Wagtail for 10 mins .

Decided we would spend the afternoon lazing around the hotel + area, close Brown-c-Pygmy Woodpecker, Little Swift, SL Swallow, SL Green Pigeons, O White-eye, v.good views of 2 SL Mynas and a ‘Philippines’ Brown Shrike.

Day 6 – 1st Dec 

Up before sunrise this am with only one thing on our mind, after a quick breakfast we headed up towards a site for the one remaining endemic still on the Sinharaja wanted list. After being given the run around for around an hour we came up trumps when a female Sri Lanka Spurfowl stepped out of the undergrowth onto the path in full view for 10 secs, could even see the spurs. Despite the male coming very close we never glimpsed him but we were more than happy with the views of the female.

Happy we set off on the windy journey to Embilipitiya and the Centuria hotel seeing our first Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters of the trip on the way.

The room at the Centuria hotel was fantastic and we spent some time cooling down in the pool during the heat of the day. The large lake held many egrets, Gull-billed Terns and at least 5 Spot-billed Pelicans.

After a heavy downpoor we headed out to some tanks c15km away at 5pm. The tank was very full and was teeming with birds. Ashy, Grey-breasted and Plain Prinias were common along with a few Fan-tailed Warblers. The first new bird came in the form of a Black Bittern perched up which flushed when I leapt out the van. Moments later a Yellow Bittern flew over the road and landed in the lily pads, showed well and then disappeared into the tangle. Purple, Grey herons and countless egrets were going to roost and we picked out a Black-headed Ibis in amongst them. While watching a Pheasant-tailed Jacana noticed a warbler close by which after some scrutiny turned out to be a Sykes’s Warbler.

Day 7 – 2nd Dec 

Arrived at Udawalawe NP at 7am, saw a White-browed Fantail in the car park, and set off in the jeep along with our guide, driver and compulsory park guide. Fortunately the weather held and the 4hr tour turned up many wanted birds, felt a bit like an African safari without the big cats.

We were soon watching a female Pallid Harrier and as we pulled up to set up the scope a Yellow-crowned Woodpecker obliged by landing in a dead roadside tree. A feast of birds ensued with almost every dead tree holding something different, Orange-headed Green Pigeons, Little Green Bee-eaters, 1 Thick-billed Flowerpecker, many Changeable Hawk Eagles, 3 cracking Sirkeer Malkohas, Plaintive Cuckoo, prinias, munias, 2 Woolly-necked Storks, Loten’s Sunbirds, Brahminy Kites, Coppersmith Barbets, Jerdons Bushlarks. Our guide, Sunil, would keep an eye on the road and got us onto 2 close Barred Buttonquails + a few more flushed.

Drawing up to the large lake we found our first Painted Storks in amongst the many cormorants, egrets and Spot-b Pelicans, and a Yellow wagtail was feeding by the jeep. A few raptors were hunting inc. a Common Kestrel, Booted Eagle and a White-bellied Sea-eagle was on the nest.

Continuing on the tour the birds came thick and fast, pair of Jungle Prinias, a few Baya Weavers at a nest site, 2 Pied Cuckoos, 1 Yellow-eyed Babbler, a perched Crested Treeswift, Ashy-c Sparrow Lark, 4 Malabar Pied Hornbills, 20+ Alpine Swifts and a couple of flighty Blue-faced Malkohas.

More than happy we left and headed off to Tissa, on the way picking up Open-billed Stork and 50+ Pheasant-t Jacanas.

Rain interrupted the afternoon but had eased off by 5pm so we headed out to a coconut plantation nearby and after 40mins or so the male White-naped Woodpecker flew in and posed well for us. The local people are extremely friendly and invited us into their garden and offered us some tea, all very pleasant.

Day 8 –3rd Dec 

Woke up during the night, the hotel room had a leaking roo, dripping onto my bed, an ominous sign of the day ahead. Apparently it had already been raining virtually continuously for over a week, a lot of the famous tanks were overflowing and Bundala was flooded.

Today we planned to visit Yala but it only got greyer and wetter when we arrived and after we ate our packed breakfast we called it quits. Heading back we stopped at an estuary near Bundala where we saw 60+ Great Thick-knees standing out in amongst 100s of Little Stints, Lesser Sandplovers, Kentish Plovers. Scanning from the van we soon notched up Curlew Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Pintail Snipe, Black-w-stilt, Redshank, Greenshank, Marsh, Common and a single Green Sandpiper, Pacific Golden Plover and Yellow-billed Lapwings. A couple of Spoonbills were feeding and 7 tern sp were identified in the roost – White-w-Black, Common, Whiskered, Little, Gull-billed, 9 Great and 2 Lesser Crested.

It continued to rain for the rest of the morning and well into the afternoon. Leaving in the rain, determined to salvage something from the afternoon, we went to the regular day roost for Indian Scops Owl. On the way a Stone Curlew was spotted by the roadside, this could well be split into Indian Stone Curlew in the future (may well already have been). Arriving at the site we interrupted a game of cricket and the house owner soon found the pair of Indian Scops Owls in the top of a tree in his front garden.

Returning to the hotel we stopped at Werawita tank, Coots, many Little Grebes, 12 Cotton Pygmy Geese, White-w Black Tern and an unexpected Marsh Harrier.

Day 9 –4th Dec 

Left the hotel early and headed off to Yala on the back roads, for a change it wasn’t raining – only threatening to. An Indian Pitta and 5 Blue-faced Malkohas livened up the journey. We stopped at the main centre to pick up our compulsory park guide, who was a waste of space, and were fortunate to find the only target endemic straight away - 2 SL Woodshrikes. Driving along the various muddy tracks we were soon picking up the birds, though they were not as easy as at Udawalawe. Drongo Cuckoo, Jungle Owlet mobbed by Babblers and parakeets, 2 Hoopoes, Plaintive and Pied Cuckoos, 2 Sirkeer Malkohas, male Loten’s Sunbird, Kestrel.

A stop at the beach for lunch produced an imm Grey-headed Fish-eagle being chased by a White bellied sea-eagle and a fly by Caspian Tern. The mood was a bit sobered by the tsunami monuments.

After lunch we were tear-arsing back into the park along the skiddy tracks following a report of a leopard. Unfortunately it came to nothing and being a national holiday things became very busy. The various tidal inlets held plenty of waders inc Great Thick-knees, parts of the park were inaccessible due to flooding. Other birds of note were another Grey-h-eagle, Oriental Skylarks, 5 Malabar Pied Hornbills and 3 Brahminy Starlings. By the mid afternoon I was feeling sick so we left the park without finding the Black-necked storks or any leopards. Found out later 3 leopards were seen in the early evening – Simon was very philosophical about it, but was probably cursing me!!

Day 10 –5th Dec 

Today we were to leave the dry (renamed bl**dy wet) zone and head for the hills. A few hours later we pulled up at the Surrey Tea Plantation. Sunil soon located the 2 roosting Brown Wood Owls, no chance without his knowledge. Other birds of note were Purple and Purple-rumped Sunbirds, Chestnut-h-Bee-eater, Great (grey) Tit, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike and excellent views of a Sri Lanka Woodpigeon collecting nest material.

Just as we left it began to rain, of course, so we headed for our hotel and waited for it to stop. At 4pm with no sign of the rain letting up we headed off, armed with umbrellas, and took a stroll to Victoria Park. 4 Sri Lanka White-eyes and a Forest Wagtail were seen on the way. Once at the park Sunil took us to the obligatory rubbish heap and in the disgusting mess a jewel of an Indian Pitta was enjoying life. With a lot of the under cover gone not much else was around so we followed the stream through the park to opposite a playground area. We then scored with great views of our target bird - Pied Ground Thrush -2 feeding in the bushes by the stream. 2 Yellow-eared Bulbuls and after much searching a female Kashmir Flycatcher were added but there was no sign of the male.

Day 11 –6th Dec 

Up at an ungodly hour we drove through heavy mist up to Horton Plains arriving soon after first light flushing 3 Indian Blackbirds on the steep roads. Only minimal delays were experienced at the gate, thanks to Baurs organisation. Suffice to say that even with the early start we drew a complete blank on the SL Whistling Thrush at the well known site, oh well there’s always the back up site near N.Eliya. Plenty of other birds kept us entertained by the pond, Greenish and Large-b Leaf Warblers, a dazzling but brief male Kashmir Flycatcher along with his much dowdier female, Grey-h-Canary Fly, SL White-eyes. A Dull-blue Flycatcher put in an appearance, nice bird in spite of the name, and during a walk up the road we chanced upon 2 showy Crimson-backed Flamebacks. A total of 5 Sri Lanka Bush Warblers were seen by the roadside including one very obliging male watched well as it fed for almost 10mins.

A pleasant walk to mini worlds end yielded many Pied Bushchats, Darf-fronted Babblers, SL White-eyes and Hill Swallows were fairly common, the view was spectacular but the clouds were starting to look ominous.

On the journey back to N.Eliya a brief fly-by SL Woodpigeon was seen over the pond and further down we found perched Himalayan Buzzard and 2 Black-throated (Hill) Munias.

The rain then set in so we stayed indoors and played snooker in the colonial style hotel. Venturing out again with umbrellas we went to a spot by a stream and played a waiting game hoping to find a whistling thrush. Close on 2 hours later we left with that feeling that all birders must get – ‘What the hell am I doing wasting my life like this?’ We were completely peed off after standing motionless in the rain along a dirty (ie human excrement) dingy path, seeing nowt but a Dull-blue Fly and a female Indian Blue Robin. Simon vowed he wouldn’t be back.

Day 12 –7th Dec 

Well guess what!! A couple of sad UK birders were found standing along a smelly path at first light looking for a whistling thrush, this time we meant business!

A movement caught my eyes and I desperately wanted to string the female Indian Blue robin but my conscience wouldn’t let me. (as my wife would say ‘just tick it and go, no-one will ever find out!’) A few mins later a v.loud whistle was heard fairly close by, Sunil told us the bird would come up the stream and we would only get one chance, pressure or what! Then the moment we’d waited for, sure enough a small dark thrush flew upstream, landed all too briefly and disappeared, gave a loud whistle, and that was that. Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush in the bag!! Completely non-plussed we got the hell out of there.

With the Botanical gardens still closed we went for a wander along the road, picking up some Greenish Warblers, 1 SL Woodpigeon, Dull-blue Fly, Bar-w-Fly Shrike but inevitably the rain and mist rolled in so we headed back.

Simon still wanted to see male Kashmir Fly so Baurs had jiggled the itinerary to allow us to stay in N.Eliya for 1 extra night. Returning to the Botanical Gardens for an hour we saw plenty of birds but no Kashmir Fly.

After some snooker and beer we went back to Victoria Park, with our umbrellas, for one last try and after some patience were rewarded with some views of a male and female Kashmir Fly but they were still very skittish.

Day 13 –8th Dec 

After a lie in woke up to blue skies and made the drive down to Kandy, in places the road had been virtually destroyed by massive landslides. O Honey Buzzard were regular but far more spectacular were the views, the first we could really appreciate during the trip.

Dropping our stuff at the hotel Suisse we drove to the Botanical gardens and it wasn’t long before I had notched up the 33rd and final endemic of the trip – Sri Lanka Small Barbet, at least 6 were seen. The gardens also held White-b-Sea-eagle, Forest Wag, SL Mynas, Brown Fly, Black-h-oriole, SL Hanging Parrots, Red-r-swallow.

Spent the afternoon relaxing at the pool and playing a few games of snooker. The Sri Lankan attendant had been looking after snooker players for the last 25 years! I’ve never played snooker before with a ref/ scorekeeper/waiter – he even chalked my end!!

Day 14 –9th Dec 

Today was our final day in Sri Lanka and with no real target birds we headed back towards the airport hotel stopping on the way to go on a boat trip at Muthurajawela Swamp. Not expecting much, at 11am, we were pleasantly surprised how good the trip was and notched up a couple of new birds for the trip. Highlights in 5 Yellow Bitterns, 4 Striated Herons, Shikra, Eastern Black Kite, dark phase Booted Eagle, White-b-Sea-eagle and a confiding Black Bittern.

Happy we packed the bins for the final time and took it easy for the rest of the day.

BIRDLIST 26th Nov -   9th Dec 2006 – Sri Lanka

Below is the list for the 2 week trip, we did not aim to see as many species as possible as had seen many species before elsewhere so were a bit short of 230/240, but Sunil did a great job in getting us all the endemics. The only targets missed were Slaty-legged Crake & Black-necked Stork.

1.         Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis  - Werawita tank

2.         Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger - common

3.         Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis - common

4.         Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster- Udawalawe NP, Yala

5.         Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis – Regular in the dry zone

6.         Little Egret Egretta garzetta

7.         Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

8.         Purple Heron Ardea purpurea - Dry zone ‘tanks’

9.         Great White Egret Ardea alba

10.      Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia

11.      Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus

12.      Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii

13.      Striated Heron Butorides striatus – 4 Muthurajawela Swamp

14.      Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax – 2 Airport Hotel

15.      Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis – 2 Tanks nr Embilipitiya, 5 Muthurajawela Swamp

16.      Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis - 1 Tanks nr Embilipitiya, 1 Muthurajawela Swamp

17.      Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala - Regular in the dry zone

18.      Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans - Regular in the dry zone

19.      Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus – 2 Udawalawe NP, 1 Yala

20.      Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis  melanocephalus - Regular in the dry zone

21.      Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia – Yala + nearby estuary

22.      Lesser Whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica - Regular in the dry zone

23.      Cotton Pygmy-goose Nettapus coromandelianus - 12 Werawita tank

24.      Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus – Seen on most long journeys especially in the hills

25.      Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus – Dry zone

26.      Eastern Black Kite Elanus Lineatus – 1 over Muthurajawela Swamp

27.      Brahminy Kite Haliastur  alac - Dry zone + Kandy

28.      White-bellied Sea-eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster - Dry zone + Kandy

29.      Grey-headed Fish-eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus – 2 Yala

30.      Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela spilogaster - Regular

31.      Marsh-Harrier Circus aeruginosus – 1 unexpected bird over Werawita tank

32.      Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus – 1 female Udawalawe NP

33.      Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus – 1 Kitulagala, 1 Sinharaja

34.      Shikra Accipiter badius - Regular

35.      Himalayan Buzzard Buteo burmanicus – 1 Horton Plains

36.      Indian Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis – 2 Kitulagala, 1 drive up to Nuwara Eliya

37.      Booted Eagle Aquila pennatus – 1light Udawalawe NP, 1 dark Muthurajawela Swamp

38.      Crested Hawk-eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus  ceylanensis -  Kitulagala, Udawalawe NP, Yala

39.      Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus - 1 Udawalawe NP, 1 Yala

40.      Sri Lanka Spurfowl Galloperdix bicalcarata – 1 female seen near Sinharaja

41.      Sri Lanka Junglefowl Gallus lafayetii - Regular

42.      Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus – Dry zone contender

43.      Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator leggei  - 2seen well + 3 flushed at  Udawalawe NP

44.      White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus

45.      Purple Swamphen Porphyrio poliocephalus

46.      Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus – Dry zone ‘tanks’

47.      Coot Fulica atra –A few at  Werawita tank

48.      Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus – Dry zone, Muthurajawela Swamp

49.      Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus ceylonensis - nr Bundala, Yala, Muthurajawela Swamp

50.      Indian Stone-curlew Burhinus indicus – roadside near Bundala

51.      Great Thick-knee Burhinus recurvirostris – 60+ in estuary nr Bundala

52.      Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva – couple nr Bundala

53.      Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola – few Yala

54.      Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius – Many nr Bundala

55.      Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus seebohmi - Many nr Bundala

56.      Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus – 100s nr Bundala

57.      Yellow-wattled Lapwing Vanellus malabaricus - 3 nr Bundala, Yala

58.      Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus - common

59.      Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura - 3 nr Bundala, 1 Yala

60.      Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa - 1 nr Bundala

61.      Common Redshank Tringa  alacca - nr Bundala, Yala

62.      Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis - nr Bundala, Yala

63.      Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia - nr Bundala, Yala

64.      Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus – 1 nr Bundala, 1 Yala

65.      Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos - Udawalawe NP, nr Bundala, Yala

66.      Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres - nr Bundala

67.      Little Stint Calidris minuta - 100s nr Bundala, Yala

68.      Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea - nr Bundala

69.      Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica – commonest tern

70.      Caspian Tern Sterna caspia – 1 Yala beach

71.      Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis – 2 nr Bundala

72.      Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii  - 9 nr Bundala

73.      Little Tern Sterna albifrons - nr Bundala, Yala

74.      Common Tern Sterna hirundov - nr Bundala

75.      Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus - nr Bundala

76.      White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus - nr Bundala

77.      Sri Lanka Woodpigeon Columba torringtoni – 1 Surrey Tea Estate, 1 H. Plains, 1 N.Eliya gdns

78.      Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis ceylonensis

79.      Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica robinsoni – Kitulgala, Sinharaja

80.      Orange-breasted Green-pigeon Treron bicincta leggei - Udawalawe NP, Yala

81.      Sri Lanka Green-pigeon Treron pompadora – Kitulgala, Sinharaja, Udawalawe NP, Yala

82.      Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea – Kitulgala, Sinharaja, Yala

83.      Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot Loriculus beryllinus - Kitulgala, Sinharaja, Kandy botanical gdns

84.      Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria – Dry zone

85.      Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri

86.      Layard’s Parakeet Psittacula calthropae – Kitulgala, Morapitiya, Sinharaja

87.      Pied Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus – 2 Udawalawe NP, 2 Yala

88.      Grey-bellied Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus passerinus - 2 Udawalawe NP, 1 Yala

89.      Fork-tailed Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus dicruroides - 1 Yala

90.      Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea – Dry zone

91.      Sirkeer Malkoha Taccocua leschenaultia - 4 Udawalawe NP, 2 Yala

92.      Blue-faced Malkoha Phaenicophaeus viridirostris - 2 Udawalawe NP, 5 Yala

93.      Red-faced Malkoha Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus – 5 Sinharaja

94.      Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis - Kitulgala, Yala, Horton Plains, Surrey Tea Estate

95.      Green-billed Coucal Centropus chlororhynchus – 2 Kitulgala, 1 Sinharaja

96.      Indian Scops-owl Otus bakkamoena – Pair at day roost nr Bundala

97.      SERENDIB SCOPS-OWL Otus thilohoffmanni – Cracking bird at Morapitiya – bird of the trip!!

98.      Jungle Owlet Glaucidium radiatum – 1 Yala

99.      Chestnut-backed Owlet Glaucidium radiatum  castanonotum – 1 Kitulgala

100.    Brown Wood-Owl Strix leptogrammica - 2 Surrey Tea Estate

101.    Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata - 1 Kitulgala

102.    Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger – 1 by road outside Sinharaja

103.    Crested Treeswift Hemiprocne coronata – Sinharaja, Udawalawe NP, Yala

104.    Indian Swiftlet Aerodramus unicolor - common

105.    Brown-throated Needletail Hirundapus giganteus – 2 Sinharaja, 2 Blue Magpie Lodge

106.    Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis – uncommon at Kitulgala, Udawalawe NP, Kandy

107.    Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba bakeri – 20+ Udawalawe NP

108.    Little Swift Apus affinis - Sinharaja

109.    Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus - 1 Kitulgala, 4 Sinharaja

110.    Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis - 1 Udawalawe NP

111.    Stork -billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis - Kitulgala

112.    White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis

113.    Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis – Tanks nr Embilipitiya, Yala

114.    Little Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis – Dry Zone, N.Eliya

115.    Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops  philippinus  - Common

116.    Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops  leschenaultia – Road to Embilipitiya, Surrey Tea Estate

117.    Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis – Dry Zone

118.    Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops - 2 Yala

119.    Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill Ocyceros gingalensis - 2 Kitulgala, few Sinharaja

120.    Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus - 3 Udawalawe NP, 6 Yala

121.    Brown-headed Barbet Megalaima zeylanica - common

122.    Yellow-fronted Barbet Megalaima flavifrons - Kitulgala, Sinharaja

123.    Sri Lanka Small Barbet Megalaima rubricapillus – 6 Royal Botanic Gardens - Kandy

124.    Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala - 6 Udawalawe NP

125.    Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopus nanus – 1 Blue Magpie Lodge

126.    Yellow-crowned Woodpecker Dendrocopos mahrattensis – 1 Udawalawe NP

127.    Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus wellsi – 1 Sinharaja

128.    Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense psarodes – Kitulgala, Sinharaja & Udawalawe NP

129.    White-naped Flameback Chrysocolaptes festivus tantus – Male in Coconut plantation at Tissa

130.    Crimson-backed Flameback Chrysocolaptes stricklandi - 1 Sinharaja, 2 Horton Plains

131.    Indian Pitta Pitta  brachyuran – 1 Yala, 1 Victoria Park

132.    Jerdon’s Bushlark Mirafra assamica - Udawalawe NP

133.    Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark Eremopterix grisea - Udawalawe NP, nr Bundala

134.    Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula - Yala

135.    Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

136.    Hill Swallow Hirundo domicola – Fairly common at top of Horton Plains

137.    Sri Lanka Swallow Hirundo hyperythra - Kitulgala, Sinharaja, Kandy

138.    Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica – couple at Royal Botanic Gardens - Kandy

139.    Paddyfield Pipit Anthus richardi  rufulus -

140.    Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus – 1 Sinharaja, Vic Park, Botanic gdns in N.Eliya & Kandy

141.    Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea – Regular throughout

142.    Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava - 1 Udawalawe NP, 2 nr Bundala, Yala

143.    Sri Lanka Woodshrike Tephrodornis affinis - 2 Yala main centre

144.    Black-headed Cuckooshrike Coracina melanoptera – 1 Sisiya’s garden nr Kitulgala

145.    Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus – Regular throughout

146.    Orange Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus – Common Kitulgala, Sinharaja

147.    Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus leggei – 1 Surrey Tea Estate, 1 N.Eliya

148.    Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus/ Philippine Shrike – Common + 1 ‘Philippines’ at B. Magpie Lodge

149.    Black-capped Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus - Common Kitulgala, Sinharaja

150.    Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer cafer

151.    Yellow-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus penicillatus – Victoria park and Horton Plains

152.    White-browed Bulbul Pycnonotus luteolus insulae - 1 Blue Magpie Lodge

153.    Yellow-browed Bulbul Hypsipetes indicus guglielmi- Common Kitulgala, Sinharaja

154.    Square-tailed Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus humii - Kitulgala, Sinharaja

155.    Common Iora Aegithina tiphia - Kitulgala, Sinharaja

156.    Jerdon’s Leafbird Chloropsis jerdoni - Kitulgala, Sinharaja

157.    Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons - Kitulgala, Sinharaja

158.    Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea – Female seen twice at stream nr N.Eliya

159.    Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis – Regular throughout

160.    Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata atrata – Horton Plains, N.Eliya

161.    Indian Black Robin Saxicoloides fulicata leucoptera – Dry zone

162.    Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush Myiophonus blighi – Male seen briefly at stream nr N.Eliya

163.    Pied Ground-thrush Zoothera wardii – 2 Victoria Park

164.    Spot-winged Ground-thrush Zoothera spiloptera – 1 Kitulgala, 2 Sinharaja

165.    Sri Lanka Scaly Thrush Zoothera imbricate - briefly Sinharaja

166.    Indian Blackbird Turdus simillimus kinnisii – 3 Horton Plains, 1 at stream nr N.Eliya

167.    Sri Lanka Bush-warbler Bradypterus palliseri - 5 Horton Plains

168.    Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis - Udawalawe NP, Tanks nr Embilipitiya, N.Eliya

169.    Grey-breasted Prinia Prinia hodgsonii leggei - Tanks nr Embilipitiya

170.    Jungle Prinia Prinia sylvatica valida – 2 Udawalawe NP

171.    Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis brevicauda - Tanks nr Embilipitiya, Udawalawe NP

172.    Plain Prinia Prinia subflava insularis - Tanks nr Embilipitiya, Udawalawe NP

173.    Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius – Kitulgala, Tanks nr Embilipitiya, Horton Plains

174.    Blyth’s Reed-warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum – 2 Blue Magpie Lodge

175.    Sykes' Warbler Hippolais rama – 1 Tanks nr Embilipitiya

176.    Green Warbler Phylloscopus nitidus – Kitulgala, Sinharaja, Horton Plains, Botanic gdns in N.Eliya

177.    Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris - Kitulgala,  Sinharaja, Horton Plains

178.    Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica – Kitulgala, Royal Botanic Gardens - Kandy

179.    Brown-breasted Flycatcher Muscicapa muttui – Kitulgala, Sinharaja

180.    Kashmir Flycatcher Ficedula parva  subrubra – pair Victoria Park, pair Horton Plains

181.    Dusky-blue Flycatcher Eumyias sordida - 2 Horton Plains, 1 at stream nr N.Eliya

182.    Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae jerdoni - Sisiya’s garden nr Kitulgala, Sinharaja

183.    Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis - Horton Plains, Botanic gdns in N.Eliya

184.    White-browed Fantail Rhipidura aureola - 1 Udawalawe NP

185.    Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea ceylonensis - Kitulgala, Sinharaja, Udawalawe NP

186.    Asian Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone paradise – regular, inc 1 white morph at  Sinharaja

187.    Ashy-headed Laughingthrush Garrulax cinereifrons –A few flocks, 1 containing 20+ Sinharaja

188.    Brown-capped Babbler Pellorneum fuscocapillum – 3 Kitulgala, 2 Sinharaja

189.    Sri Lanka Scimitar-babbler Pomatorhinus melanurus – 4 in total at Sinharaja

190.    Dark-fronted Babbler Rhopocichla atriceps nigrifrons – Common Kitulgala/Sinharaja – 2 H.Plains

191.    Yellow-eyed Babbler Chrysomma sinense nasale - 1 Udawalawe NP

192.    Sri Lanka Rufous Babbler Turdoides rufescens – V.common Kitulgala/Sinharaja

193.    Yellow-billed Babbler Turdoides affinis taprobanus – Common throughout

194.    Great Tit Parus major  - common high up

195.    Purple-rumped Sunbird Leptocoma zeylonica zeylonica - Common

196.    Purple Sunbird Cinnyris asiaticus - 1 Surrey Tea Estate

197.    Loten’s Sunbird Cinnyris lotenius lotenius - Udawalawe NP, male Yala, male Horton Plains

198.    Thick-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum agile zeylonicum - 1 Udawalawe NP

199.    Legge’s Flowerpecker Dicaeum vincens - 1 Kitulgala, Sinharaja

200.    Pale-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum erythrorhynchos Ceylonese – regular throughout

201.    Ceylon White-eye Zosterops ceylonensis – Common N.Eliya, Horton Plains

202.    Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus - Kitulgala, Sinharaja, Surrey Tea Estate

203.    Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis – 2 Sinharaja, 3 Botanic gdns in N.Eliya

204.    Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus ceylonensis - Kitulgala, Sinharaja, Botanic Gdns - Kandy

205.    White-bellied Drongo Dicrurus caerulescens insularis - Kitulgala, Sinharaja, Botanic Gdns - Kandy

206.    Sri Lanka Crested Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus – 1 Morapitiya, Regular in Sinharaja

207.    Sri Lanka Blue Magpie Urocissa  alacc – 3 in total at Sinharaja

208.    House Crow Corvus splendens

209.    Indian Jungle Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 

210.    Brahminy Starling Sturnus pagodarum – 3 Yala

211.    White-faced Starling Sturnus senex - 3 in total at Sinharaja

212.    Lesser Hill-myna Gracula religiosa  indica – 2 Sisiya’s garden nr Kitulgala

213.    Sri Lanka Hill-myna  Gracula ptilogenys - 2 Morapitiya, 2 Sinharaja, 5 Botanic Gdns - Kandy

214.    Common Myna Acridotheres tristis melanosturnus

215.    House Sparrow Passer domesticus

216.    Indian Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus - Udawalawe NP, 4 Yala

217.    White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata - Kitulgala, Sinharaja, Udawalawe NP

218.    Black-throated (Hill) Munia Lonchura kelaarti kelaarti – 2 nr villages below Horton Plains

219.    Scaly -breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata - Regular

220.    Black-headed Munia Lonchura  Malacca – 100s Udawalawe NP, Yala


Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel, Dusky-striped Squirrel, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Toque Macaque, Grey Langur, Indian Elephant, Brown Mongoose Golden Jackal, Wild Boar, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Eurasian Otter, Land Monitor, Water Monitor, Python, Hump nosed Viper


Why not send us a report, or an update to one of your current reports?