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A Report from

Sri Lanka, 8 - 23 February 2003,

Eduard Sangster

General Information

My aim of this report is to limit your information sources so your preparations for your own trip can be efficient. Besides this report, which summarizes 7 recent birdreports of Sri Lanka and my own experiences, I advise to use the Sri Lanka Report in OBC Bull. 17 (which I don't have by the way).


In 8-10 days you can usually see all the endemics as well as other interesting birds. Best time to go is december-march, then you have the least rain. I saw all endemics in 7 days of birding without a tape. I guess I was very lucky. The first week my girlfriend and I were relaxing at the beach in Beruwela and we also enjoyed some culture. The second week we have been birdwatching on the island. To see all the birds you only need to go to the southern part of the island. Problems with the Tamil Tigers were mostly in the north in the past.


You can't escape from hiring a driver/birdguide with a car/van. The birdspots you need to go are nowhere reported in full detail, so you will get problems finding them. Moreover, there are not enough roadsigns to get around. Of course the way of driving in Sri Lanka is not encouraging either. 

There are two organizations where you can hire a driver/birdguide with car/van at very reasonable prices. We booked at the Swiss company 'Baurs'. Most of the birders book their trip here. Also highly recommended is I met a birdguide of this company and he was really good.

A.Baur & Co. Ltd
5 Upper Chatham Street
P.O.Box 11
Colombo 1
Tel : 0094-1-3220551-6 / 0094-1-448822
Fax : 0094-1-448493

You can book a package tour at Baur. This includes:

- Transport with modern airco Toyota-van with driver/birdwatcher-guide
- Accommodation in hotels at your preferred standards
- Entrance fees, tipping
- Jeep hires where applicable

We booked only the driver/guide and the minibus. These are fixed prices for 2003: 30Rs or $0.35 per mile (1.6 km) & $12 per day for the car and the driver/birdwatcher (and his food & accomodation). In total you will drive in 1-2 weeks: 650-1200 miles.

Very efficient mister Perry will probably be your contactperson at Baurs. Ask for Sunil de Alwis, he is the best birdguide at Baurs. Abey Deera and Lester Perera should be very good as well. We booked only a few days in advance and young Chamindah was assigned to us as birdwatcherguide. Although he knows most spots, I will not recommend him. His English is very poor and he is not a pro-active person who will get the maximum out of your trip.

You can also choose Sri Lanka's top ornithologists Upali Ekanayake or Deepal Warakagoda as your guide, but this will cost you more. Baurs can arrange this.

Jeeps are necessary when visiting Uda Walawe, Yala and Bundala NP. This is rather expensive!

Accomodation and food

2-3 Star hotels are 800-1500 Rs for a twin/double. Mostly breakfast is included.

The food is very good in Sri Lanka! Sometimes you have to bring your own food to Martin's Place, the only hotel in Sinharaja. This is a very basic accomodation and is often fully booked with birdgroups, so be early with your booking. Baurs or Jetwing can make reservations for the hotels and jeeps.


You can pay Baurs and maybe Jetwing in rupees, dollars, euros and in pounds. The exchange rate is pretty good. If you pay in foriegn currency and you book a packagedeal including everything you'll still need some rupees for drinks and souvenirs. You can buy rupees overseas but of course it is cheaper to go to an ATM in Sri Lanka. There are ATMs at the airport, in major cities like Colombo and Kandy and in the touristic westcoast.  Most hotels in mid/toprange accept creditcard.

Used bird trip reports, guide and tapes

I used the trip reports of John Hornbuckle (March 2002), Peter Collaerts (January 2001), Steve Webb (December 1999), Ron Hoff (March 2001), Stijn De Win (November 2000), Neil Money (November 2002) and Moira Wallace (November 2001). All available here.

The only guide I needed was Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent (2001) by Grimmett, Inskipp & Inskipp.

Tapes are useful and sometimes required for Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Chestnut-backed Owlet & Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush. My guide had no tape (normally the Baurs guide have a tape) and I missed the frogmouth (fortunately not an endemic).

Endemics, future endemics & other 'target species'

Of course there are different lists of 'the' Sri Lanka endemics, conservative and progressive ones. Some other birds are not endemic, but are hard to find elsewhere. I have made lists of all three categories to help you put together a targetlist for your trip. I have added a note to give you an idea which species you can find where and which one are the most difficult. Almost every endemic is best seen early morning or late afternoon. Responds on tape are best in morning, except for the frogmouth. You will need the knowledge of the birdguide to find the exact spots.

Endemics, recognised by (almost) all authors

1.   Sri Lanka Junglefowl - common in the national/forestparks

2.  Sri Lanka Spurfowl - easily heard, difficult to see. Most people see (brief views) at Sinharaja. Go to Bohinagala or Kitulgala if missed at Sinharaja.

3.  Green-Billed Coucal - easily heard at Sinharaja. Almost everybody sees it here too. Go to Kitulgala if missed here.

4.  Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill - fairly common in the parks, especially in Yala and Uda Walawe NP. Also Sinharaja, Kitulgala, Bodinagala.

5.  Sri Lanka Wood-Pigeon - fairly common at Horton Plains and the nearby Surrey Tea Plantation.

6.  Layard's Parakeet - not common in forest

7.  Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot - fairly common in forest

8.  Yellow-Fronted Barbet - fairly common Sinharaja, common Kitulgala

9.  Chestnut-Backed Owlet - fairly common Sinharaja, but bring a tape

10.   'new otus owl' - Deepal Warakagoda discovered a new owl in Sinharaja Forest. The species is very rare and as far as I know the owl is not heard or seen yet by foreign birdwatchers groups.

11.    Red-Faced Malkoha - fairly common  Sinharaja

12.   Yellow-Eared Bulbul - common Horton Plains and nearby Nuwara Eliya Victoria Park

13.   Orange-Billed Babbler - common in forest

14.   Brown-Capped Babbler - not common in forest

15.   Ashy-Headed Laughingthrush - common Sinharaja

16.   Spot-Winged Thrush - common Sinharaja

17.   Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush - the spot is near Horton Plains at dawn, when lucky you see it in one try try. When missed, nearby Nuwara Eliya Hakgala Botanical Gardens is a possiblility

18.   Sri Lanka Bush-Warbler - fairly common Horton Plains, near the SLWT-spot for instance

19.   Sri Lanka Blue Magpie - common Sinharaja

20.  White-Faced Starling - fairly common Sinharaja

21.   Sri Lanka Myna - fairly common Sinharaja

22.  Dull Blue Flycatcher  - fairly common Horton Plains

23.  Sri Lanka White-Eye - common Horton Plains and Nuwara Eliya Victoria Park

24.  White-Throated (Legge's) Flowerpecker - common Sinharaja

Endemics recognised by some authors

25.  Black-rumped Flameback (psarodes)- common in the forest/national parks

26.  Red-Backed Greater Flameback  (stricklandi)- scarce, Sinharaja is the best bet

27.  Crimson-Fronted Barbet (rubricapilla) - not common, Kandy is a good possibility when missed elsewhere

28.  Black-Headed Yellow Bulbul  (melanicterus)  - common Sinharaja, Kitulgala

29.  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (lophorhinus) - common Sinharaja

30.  Sri Lanka Scaly Thrush (imbricata) - not common Sinharaja

31.   Sri Lanka Blackbird (kinnisii) - common Horton Plains, for example at the SLWT-spot

32.  Red-rumped Swallow (hyperythra) - fairly common in the southeast area

33.  Hill Munia (kelaarti) - best spot is probably Kitulgala, difficult around Nuwara Eliya

Other more or less characteristic endemic (s)sp: Sri Lanka Paradise-Flycather , Ashy Prinia, Emerald Pigeon, Malabar Trogon, Dollarbird, White-naped Woodpecker, etc.

Other 'target species'

34.  Sri Lanka Frogmouth - also at Western Gaths; fairly common Sinharaja, but bring a tape! I missed it therefor. Go to Bohinagala or Kitulgala if missed at Sinharaja.

35.  Jerdon's Nightjar - also at Western Gaths; before the entrances of Yala or Bundala NPs before dawn.

36.  Pied Ground Thrush - winters at Sri Lanka; almost always present and then easy in Nuwara Eliya Victoria Park

37.  Kashmir Flycather - winters at Sri Lanka; mostly present at Nuwara Eliya Victoria Park, also present at nearby Horton Plains. I missed it.

38.  Malabar Pied Hornbill - best place is Uda Walawe NP. Also at Yala.

39.  Brown Fish Owl - Uda Walawe, Tissa Tanks. I missed it.


Numbers are according to the map at the next chapter.

2. Bellanwila-Attidiya Sanctuary - A disturbed and dirty 'wetland' near Colombo. We didn't go here. Some people see Yellow Bittern or Cotton Pygmy Goose.

3. Kitulgala - lower section forest about 200-500m asl. Good area for most Sri Lankan wet zone forestbirds. From the rivershore at Kitulgala Rest House you must cross the river by canoe to get to the birdingspot: the gardens of a small village and the forest.

The tricky SL Spurfowl and Green-billed Coucal can be seen here at very early morning. Also Chestnut-backed Owlet, SL Frogmouth, Slaty-legged Crake can be seen here. It is not really necessary to visit this spot, as all species can be seen at Sinharaja. Except for the Hill Munia (probable split from Black-throated Munia).

Practical: Ceylon Hotel (1000Rp), 10 km west of town, is best value. Kitulgala Rest House is a bit faded and expensive (38$) but practical for the canoe. Bring leech-socks! 

4. Kandy - Nice town. Uda Wattakele Sanctuary is good for Layard's Parakeet, Brown-capped Babbler and Hill Myna. Brown Wood Owl, Brown Fish Owl, Orange-headed Ground Thrush is also possible. We had no guide when visiting this forest and there were many leeches again. Peradeniya Botanical Gardens is not good for birds, except Crimson-fronted Barbet.

5. Bodhinagala Forest - Good for the Green-billed Coucal, Chestnut-backed Owlet and SL Grey Hornbill. SL Spurfowl and SL Frogmouth also possible. We didn't go here.

6. Ratnapura / Gilimale Forest - The Citizens Rest Ratnapura is good for Collared Scops Owl. The forest is wet zone forest and contains species you can also see at Sinharaja. We didn't go here.

7. Sinharaja Forest Reserve - is a must. This site contains all wet zone endemics. It is the only place to see the endemics Red-faced Malkoha, Ashy-headed Laughingthrush, SL Blue Magpie, White-faced Starling. Best spot for endemic (s)sp: Red-backed Greater Flameback, Greater Racked-tailed Drongo. If you see the following endemics here, you will not need to go to Kitulgala or Bodhinagala: SL Spurfowl, Green-billed Coucal, Layard's Parakeet, SL Hanging Parrot, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Orange-billed Babbler, Brown-capped Babbler, White-throated Flowerpecker, Spot-winged Thrush, Black-headed Yellow Bulbul. Also the best spot for SL Frogmouth.

Most birds can be seen along the main track from Martin's to the Forest/Research Centre. The stream behind the Forest Station holds sometimes the Malay Night-Heron, Black Bittern and Black-backed Dwarf Kingfisher. Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl is rare in the reserve.

Practical: The only place to stay is basic Martin's Guesthouse, which is reached by a 90 minutes walk up or with an expensive jeepride ($40). For going up we took the jeep, walking down was no problem though. Sometimes you have to take your own food to Martin's, so make a phonecall before you go up. There is an entrance fee of 5$ per person per day, which includes a local guide. My guide was Thandula, he was very good!! I called him lasereye after a while. Only because of him I didn't miss any endemic! Because I booked late there was only one night available for us at Martin's (fully booked). Book 2 nights, this will be enough to see (almost) all specialties. Bring leech-socks, the small but annoying creatures are abundant in the reserve.

8. Uda Walawe National Park - A mix of habitats in the dry zone comprising open grassland and scrubland, tall forest, pools and river habitat. More open than Yala NP, so you will see many more elephants here than in Yala. Key-species here are Blue-faced Malkoha, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Brown Fish Owl, SL Grey Hornbill, Woolly-necked Stork. Sometimes Forest Wagtail and Lesser Adjudant are seen.

Practical: As a foreigner you must hire a jeep with guide to enter this park ($45 for 3 hours). Entrance fee is $20 per person. You can stand straight up in the jeep, so it is nevertheless good birding here. We found the most popular hotel by groups, the Walawa Park View hotel, depressing. After visiting a few we found a very nice and quiet hotel. I forgot the name of it but it is beside a lake and has great views. Only 4 rooms.

9. Kalametiya Lagoon - good for waterbirds (Great Thick-knee, sometimes Caspian Plover).

10-13.Tissamaharama - Tissa is a base for the Tissa Tanks and also Budala NP, Yala NP and Hambantota.

Practical: Vikum Lodge (1400 Rs for a double) is an excellent place to stay. The food is very good!  Try the local desert: buffalo milk curd.

10. Hambantota - good for waterbirds (terns, sometimes Small Pratincole).

11. Bundala - We did not visit this park because 3 expensive jeeptours was too much. Best place for Lesser Adjudant. It is also good place for waterbirds and waders, including Small Pratincole.

Practical: As a foreigner you must hire a jeep with guide to enter this parks ($45 for 3 hours). Entrance fee is $20 per person.

12. Tissa Tanks - Around town there are 5 large reservoirs or tanks surrounded by paddy fields. If you only want to see the endemics, you can pass on the tanks. Nobody does this however, because it is a pleasant birding area with lot of waterbirds: Yellow and Black Bittern, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Watercock, Great Thick-knee. I visited 3 tanks. Deberawewa Tank holds also White-naped Woodpecker in the nearby coconut plantation and sometimes Collared Scops Owl and Painted Snipe. Brown Fish Owl is seen in the big trees at dusk along the tank.

13. Yala National Park - This huge park in the dry zone covers a large range of habitats including scrubland, grass flats, monsoon forest and rocky outcrops. The approach-roads hold Indian and Jerdon's Nightjar. We left at 4am and succeeded on both. Good place for Black-necked Stork, Lesser Adjudant, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Brahminy Starling, Barred Buttonquail, Ashy-crowned Finch-Lark, Blue-faced Malkohoa, Sirkeer Malkoha, Great Thick-knee and Indian Pitta. In late May and June Sloth Bears are easily seen when their favorite plants are fruiting. Leopard is not an uncommon sight all year.

Practical: As a foreigner you must hire a jeep with guide to enter this parks ($45 for 3 hours). Entrance fee is $20 per person. You cannot stand in the jeep because it must be covered, this is somewhat frustrating for birding.

14. Bibile - A bit out of route, but good for Painted Francolin and Grey Nightjar. We didn't go here. John Hornbuckle wrote March 2002: From Bibile we took the Nilgala road for 22km, parked at the police station, then walked down a track on the right just beyond the station, towards Gal Oya National Park, for 45 min until we reached a ford, which is the boundary of the NP. Although we stayed in suitable habitat till dusk, very few birds were apparent, but the following morning was a different story, starting with Jerdon's Nightjar, then Jungle Bush-Quail in bunch-grass on the right c.500m before the river. Painted Francolins started to call there too, from 07.10 to 08.30, and were seen in flight. Take a track 45 degrees to the right, before a house on the left; if you reach a river crossing, you've come c.500 too far. We also had good views of Pompadour Pigeon, Layard's Parakeet, Banded Bay Cuckoo, Crimson-fronted Barbet and Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike. Hearing of our success, several people have visited the area since: in April Keith Betton managed to see Rain Quail as well, and other possibilities are Streak-throated Woodpecker and Booted Warbler (ssp. caligata).

15. Nuwara Eliya - This town at 2000+m acts as a base for several spots in and around town: Horton Plains (20km out of town), Victoria Park, Horse Stable Wetlands (in town), Hakgala Botanical Gardens, Galleway Rd, Lake Gregory (edge of town), the Surrey Tea Plantation (ca 20km out of town).

Practical: After checking out a lot of hotels, we found the Sampath Rest Hotel (1100Rs for a double), next to Victoria Park, the best value.

Victoria Park - The spot for Pied Ground Thrush. We also saw here SL White-eye, Indian Blue Robin and Forest Wagtail. We missed the Kashmir Flycatcher. Sometimes it also holds Slaty-legged Crake.

Hakgala Botanical Gardens - SL Whistling Thrush, Kashmir Flycatcher can be seen here. We didn't go here.

Surrey Tea Plantation - On route to Nuwara Eliya if you enter from the south/east. Good spot all day round for a roosting Brown Wood-Owl and SL Wood Pigeon. We succeeded on both.

Galleway Rd - Forest. Early morning is good birding here, Indian Blue Robin, Indian Pitta, Large-billed Leaf Warbler. We went late afternoon and saw nothing.

Horse Stable Wetlands - Holds sometimes Hill Munia, we missed on it.

Lake Gregory - Marshy area, sometimes Hill Munia. We didn't go here.

16. Horton Plains - The best spot for endemics SL Whistling Thrush, SL Bush-Warbler, SL Wood Pigeon and Dull-blue Flycatcher. We saw all four in one morning! In the vicinity we also saw Yellow-eared Bulbul, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Indian Scimitar Babbler and Blackbird. Sometimes  Kashmir Flycatcher, Hill Munia, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and Indian Blue Robin is seen here. Hill or Pacific Swallow is present at a village on route.

Practical: The gate opens at 6am, after 1 km you find a sign 'have you seen a leopard yet?'. Park here and be quiet. At first light you have your best chance. There is a small pool here where the thrush pops up alongside or on the road. Further along the road ends and you can enter here to do the World's  End Walk ($15), good for 8km walking and some stunning views. No interesting birds seen during this walk.

17. Sigiriya - The ancient and spectaculair rock fortress site of Sigiriya, north of Kandy in the dry zone, is surrounded by scrubland, tall forest, small tanks and gardens. Not many andemics but a good place for for Blue-faced Malkoha, prinias, babblers, cuckoos, Rufous and Brown-capped Woodpecker, Orange-heaed Ground-Thrush and maybe Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl. We didn't go here.


1.  Colombo
2.  Bellanwila-Attidiya Sanctuary
3.  Kitulgala Forest
4.  Kandy
5.  Bodhinagala Forest
6.  Gilimale Forest / Ratnapura
7.  Sinharaja Forest
8.  Uda Walawe NP
9.  Kalametiya Lagoon
10.  Hambantota
11.  Bundala NP
12.  Tissa
13.  Yala NP
14.  Bibile
15.  Nuwara Eliya
16.  Horton Plains
17.  Sigiriya

Suggested Itinerary

If you visit Sinharaja, Yala or Uda Walawe and Nuwara Eliya/Horton Plains you can see all endemics, if you're very lucky. These parks are a must. I suggest to plan 10 days for spots 7, 8, 12, 13, 15,16. Two nights at Sinharaja (7), Tissa area (12,13) and Nuwara Eliya area (15,16). Uda Walawe one night. You probably have time for 2-3 spots more. You can choose for more forests (3,4,5,6) or more waterbirds (2,9,10, 11). You can also go to a few out of endemics-route-places: Kandy (nice culture-town, Temple of the Tooth), Bibile (Painted Francolin), Sigiriya (famous fortress) or even further north (more culture stuff).  The route I took in 9 days: 1,4,3,7,8,12,13,9,10,15,16,1. Two nights Kandy (culture), one night Kitulgala, one night only (fully booked) at Sinharaja, one night at Uda Walawe, two nights Tissa area, 2 nights Nuwara Eliya area.


With a few exceptions I followed sequence and scientific nomenclature/taxonomy of  Grimmett, Inskipp & Inskipp (2001). Species marked with E are endemic (sub)species.

If referred to 'dry zone' : spots 4,8-14,17.
If referred to 'wet zone' : spots 3,5-7.
If reffered to 'SE' (southeast) : spots 8-13.

'Our beachhotel' was near Burawela (southwest coast).

1. Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator leggei
Uda Walawe - Several birds flushed and seen flying from jeep

2. Sri Lanka Spurfowl Galloperdix bicalcarata E
Sinharaja - Frequently heard at Sinharaja. Brief views of 3 birds in late afternoon.

3. Sri Lanka Junglefowl Gallus lafayetii E
Kitulgala - Frequently heard, but none seen.

Sinharaja, Uda Walawe, Yala - Regulary seen and heard

4. Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus
Uda Walawe, Yala - common

5.   Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica
Common in the SE.

6.   Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Uda Walawe, Tissa, Yala - common

7.   Garganey Anas querquedula
Uda Walawe, Tissa, Yala - common

8. Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus wellsi
Kitulgala - one bird at the small village. Sinharaja - two birds.

9. Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium (benghalense) psarodes E
Fairly common. Endemic s(s)p.

10. Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes (lucidus) stricklandi E
Sinharaja - One male at Sinharaja. Endemic s(s)p.

11. White-naped Woodpecker Chrysocolaptes festivus tantus
Tissa - one female in the palmtrees near Deberawewa Tank at the famous spot.

12. Brown-headed Barbet Megalaima zeylanica zeylanica
Common. First bird at our beachhotel during the first days of relaxing.

13. Yellow-fronted Barbet Megalaima flavifronsE
Kitulgala, Sinharaja - regulary seen.

14. Crimson-fronted Barbet Megalaima (rubricapilla) rubricapilla E
Just one bird seen: along a road between Sinharaja and Uda Walawe.

15. Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill Ocyceros gingalensis E
Uda Walawe - just one bird seen. Should be way more common. Species is also present at Kitulgala, Sinharaja, Yala.

16. Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus
Uda Walawe - common, 8 birds in one morning. Spectacular bird !

17. Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus fasciatus
Sinharaja - common at the last part of the trail from Martin's to the Forest Sation.

18. Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
Several records in the SE.

19. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis taprobana
Several records all around.

20. Stork-billed Kingfisher Halcyon capensis
One bird during a boattrip near our beachhotel. Tissa area - several records

21. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis fusca

22. Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata
Tissa - one bird at a tank.

23. Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
Tissa - in total 5 birds in the Tissamaharama-area.

24. (Little) Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis orientalis

25. Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus

26. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti leschenaulti
Kitulgala, Sinharaja - a few records.

27. Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus
Uda Walawe, Yala -

28. Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus
Sinharaja - one bird seen.

29. Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea
A few birds during a boattrip through mangrove forest near our beachhotel.

30. Blue-faced Malkoha Phaenicophaeus viridirostris
Uda Walawe, Yala - in both parks one bird observed.

31. Sirkeer Malkoha Phaenicophaeus leschenaultii leschenaultii
Uda Walawe - Spectacular views of one bird during the jeepsafari.

32. Red-faced Malkoha Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus E
Sinharaja - fairly common, especially at the last part of the Martin's-Forest Station trail.

33. Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis parroti
Several records along the trip.

34. Green-billed Coucal Centropus chlorohynchus E
Sinharaja - I saw one bird in the afternoon and one early morning. Frequently heard.

35. Sri Lanka HangingParrot Loriculus beryllinus E
Kitulagala - 2 birds at very clode range in the garden of our hotel early morning. Regulary observed in Sinharaja, but only fly-overs.

36. Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri manillensis

37. Layard's Parakeet Psittacula calthropae E
Kandy - one pearched bird in the sanctuary. Kitulgala - 4 bird flying over.

38.Indian Swiflet Collocalia brevirostris
Fairly common.

39. House orLittle Swift Apus affinis singalensis
A few birds along the road Colombo - beachhotel

40. Crested Treeswift Hemiprocne coronata
Yala - one male pearced at close range.

41. Brown Wood Owl Strix leptogrammica ochrogenys
Nuwara Eliya - one bird at daytime at the Surrey Tea Plantation, the famous spot.

42. Jungle Owlet Glaudcidium radiatum
One bird near our beachhotel.

43. Chestnut-backed Owlet Glaucidium castanonotum E
Sinharaja - one bird near Martin's Place in the afternoon gave very good views in full daylight.

44. Jerdons' Nightjar Caprimulgus atripennis aequabilis
Yala - one bird observed very early morning (before dawn) along the road, before the park.

45. Indian Nightjar Caprimulgus asiaticus eidos
Yala - three birds observed very early morning (before dawn) along the road, before the park.

46. Rock Pigeon Columba livia intermedia

47. Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon Columba torringtoni E
Nuwara Eliya - two birds observed in the Surrey Tea Plantation.
Horton Plains - common near the Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush-pool.

48. Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea pusilla
Fairly common in all the forest/national parks.

49. Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis

50. Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Fairly common.

51. Orange-breasted Green Pigeon Treron bicincta leggei
Uda Walawe, Yala - fairly common.

52. White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus

53. Watercock Gallicrex cinerea
Tissa - one female at a tank near Tissa.

54. Indian (Purple)Swamphen Porphyrio poliocephalus
Common in the SE.

55. Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Tissa, Yala - a few birds.

56. Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura
SE, Nuwara Eliya Horse Stable Wetland - a few birds.

57. Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Common in the SE.

58. Common Redshank Tringa totanus
Common in the SE.

59. Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
Common in the SE.

60. Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Common in the SE.

61. Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Common in the SE.

62. Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Fairly common in the SE.

63. Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Fairly common in the SE.

64. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

65. Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
A few birds in the SE.

66. Little Stint Calidris minuta
Common in the SE.

67. Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Common in the SE.

68. Eurasian Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus
Hambantota - 7 birds

69. Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Common in the SE.

69. Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus
Tissa, Yala - common.

70. Great Thick-knee Esacus recurvirostris
Tissa - 3 birds, Yala - 1 bird, Hambantota - 12 birds

71. Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
Tissa, Yala  - fairly common

72. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Common in the SE.

73. Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus seebohmi
A few birds in the SE.

74. Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus
Common in the SE.

75. Yellow-wattled Lapwing Vanellus malabaricus
Fairly common in the SE.

76. Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus lankae

77. Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus
Hambantota - 4 birds

78. Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica
Fairly common in the SE.

79. Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis
Hambantota - 5 birds

80. Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii velox
Hambantota - 7 birds

81. Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Hambantota - 3 birds

82. Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
Hambantota - 12 birds

83. Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus

84. White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
Yala - 6 birds

85. Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Uda Walawe, Yala - 2 birds

86. Black Kite Milvus Migrans
Just a few birds observed.

87. Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
Fairly common.

88. Grey-headed Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus
Uda Walawe - two birds, Yala - one bird

89. Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela spilogaster
One bird on the way from Sinharaja to Uda Walawe.

90. Black Eagle Ictineatus malayensis
Sinharaja - one bird

91. Shikra Accipiter badius badius

92. Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
Uda Walawe - 2 birds

93. Common Buzzard Buteo buteo japonicus
Horton plains - one bird.

94. Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus ceylanensis
Kitulgala - one bird, Uda Walawe - two birds, Yala - 5 birds

95. Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus objurgatus
Horton Plains - two birds.

96. Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Kalametiya Lagoon - one bird

97. Darter Anhinga melanogaster

98. Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger

99. Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis
Fairly common.

100. Little Egret Egretta garzetta

101. Great Egret Casmerodius albus
A few birds observed.

102. Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia

103. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

104. Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii

105. Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Fairly common.

106. Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Fairly common in the SE.

107. Little Heron Butorides striatus
One at the boatrip near our beachhotel, one at Hambantota.

108. Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Fairly common in the SE.

109. Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis
Sinharaja - one bird at a stream near the Forest Station, Tissa - two birds at dusk and dawn at Deberawewa Tank.

110. Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephala
Common in the SE.

111. Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Yala - 3

112. Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis
Uda Walawe - one bird, Tissa Tanks - two birds

113. Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala
Common in the SE.

114. Asian Openbill Anastornus oscitans
Fairly common in the SE.

115. Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus
Uda Walawe - two birds.

116. Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
Yala - one bird flying over.

117. Indian Pitta Pitta brachyura
Kitulgala - spectacular views of one bird, Uda Walawe, Yala - two plus one birds flushed by the jeep.

118. Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus cristatus and lucionensis

119. Bay-backed Shrike Lanius vittatus
Yala - one bird observed. The first for Sri Lanka! Our guide went crazy.

120. Sri Lanka Blue Magpie Urocissa ornata E
Sinharaja - only one bird observed. Normally a fairly common species.

121. House Crow Corvus splendens

122. Large-billed Crow Corvus machrorhynchos culminatus

123. Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus ceylonensis
Fairly common.

124. Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus flammeus
A few birds seen.

125. White-browed Fantail Rhipidura aureola compressirostris
One bird, at our hotel near Uda Walawe.

126. White-bellied Drongo Dicrurus caerulescens leucopygialis
Fairly common.

127. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus (paradiseus) lophorhinus E
Sinharaja - fairly common. A endemic (sub)species.

128. Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea ceylonensis
Sinharaja - two birds.

129. Asian Paradise Flycatcher Tersiphone paradisi ceylonensis and paradisi
Common, both white and brown morphs.

130. Common Iora Aegithina tiphia multicolor
One bird, at our hotel near Uda Walawe.

131. Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush Myophonus blighi E
Horton Plains - one female gave excellent views at 6.25 am on the regular spot (near the pool, at the sign 'have you seen the leopard yet?').

132. Pied Thrush Zoothera wardii
Nuwara Eliya - 12 males and 1 female at Victoria Park at the regular spot (NW-corner, near the stream). Very easy to see, beautiful bird!

133. Spot-winged Thrush Zoothera spiloptera E
Sinharaja - 4 birds in the afternoon.

134. Scaly Thrush Zoothera (dauma) imbricata E
Sinharaja - one bird in the afternoon. A definite future split!

135. Eurasian Blackbird Turdus (merula) kinnisii E
Horton Plains - a few birds at the pool at the Horton Plains and one along the trail to World's End. A future split?

136. AsianBrown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica
Small numbers throughout.

137. Brown-breasted Flycatcher Muscicapa muttui
Sinharaja - a few birds.

138. Dull-blue Flycatcher Eumyias sordida E
Horton Plains - only one bird near the pool. Many heard.

139. Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae
Sinharaja - two males along the trail.

140. Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea
Nuwara Eliya - brief views of a male at Victoria Park (NW-corner).

141. Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis ceylonensis
Fairly common.

142. White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus malabaricus
Heard at several places, not seen.

143. Indian Robin Saxicoloides fulicata leucoptera
Small numbers in the SE.

144. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata atrata
Hortons Plains - common.

145. White-faced Starling Sturnus senex E
Sinaharaja - fairly common near the Forest Station.

146. Brahminy Starling Sturnus pagodarum
Yala - 2 birds.

147. Rosy Starling Sturnus roseus
Hambantota - 35 birds, all plumages.

148. Common Myna Acridoteres tristis melanosternus

149. Sri Lanka Myna Gracula ptilogenysE
Kitulgala, Sinharaja - fairly common.

150. Hill Myna Gracula indica
Kandy - 3 birds.

151. Great Tit Parus major mahrattarum
A few birds all around.

152. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

153. Pacific orHill Swallow Hirundo tahitica / domicola
Horton Plains - 3 birds observed in a small village between Nuwara Eliya and the Horton Plains.

154. Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica hyperythra E
Fairly common in the SE. All birds were of the hyperythra subspecies, a future split?

155. Black-crested of Black-capped Bulbul Pycnonotus (melanicterus) melanicterus E
Kitulgala, Sinharaja - small numbers. Future split.

156. Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer

157. Yellow-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus penicillatus E
Nuwara Eliya Victoria Park, Horton Plains - common.

158. White-browed Bulbul Pycnonotus luteolus insulae
Just a few birds. One at Uda Walawe.

159. Yellow-browed Bulbul Iole indica guglielmi
Kitulgala, Sinharaja - fairly common.

160. Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephlus humii
Kitulgala, Sinharaja - fairly common.

161. Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis brevicauda
Nuwara Eliya - a few birds at marshy areas. Sri Lanka ssp has short tail.

162. Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis omalura
Horton Plains - common.

163. Sri Lanka White-eye Zosterops ceylonensis E
Nuwara Eliya Victoria Park, Horton Plains - common.

164. Sri Lanka Bush Warbler Bradypterus palliseri E
Horton Plains - One bird gave excellent views, near the pool.

165. Blyth's Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum
Nuwara Eliya Victoria Park, Horton Plains - a few birds seen.

166. Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus meridionalis
Tissa - one bird at a tank.

167. Common Tailorbird Orthotornus sutorius sutorius
A few birds everywhere.

168. Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris
Horton Plains - two birds near the pool.

169. Ashy-headed Laughingthrush Garrulax cinereifrons E
Sinharaja - fairly common, noisy flocks.

170. Brown-capped Babbler Pellorneum fuscocapillum E
Sinharaja - two birds seen, difficult.

171. Indian Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus horsfieldii melanurus
Horton Plains - one bird near the pool.

172. Dark-fronted Babbler Rhopocichla atriceps nigrifrons
Sinharaja - fairly common. Horton Plains - one bird.

173. Orange-billed Babbler Turdoides rufescens E
Kitulgala, Sinharaja - common.

174. Yellow-billed Babbler Turdoides affinis taprobanus

175. Rufous-winged Bushlark Mirafra assamica
Uda Walawe, Yala - common

176. Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark Eremopterix grisea
Yala - 15 birds observed.

177. Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula
Fairly common in the SE.

178. Legge's Flowerpecker Dicaeum vincens E
Sinharaja - common.

179. Purple-rumped Sunbird Nectarinia zeylonica zeylonica
Fairly common, especially in the SE.

180. Purple Sunbird Nectarinia asiatica
Fairly common.

181. Loten's Sunbird Nectarinia lotenius lotenius
Small numbers observed. Two at Yala. One at Kalametiya Lagoon.

182. House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Small numbers.

183. Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus
Nuwara Eliya Victoria Park - 2 birds present.

184. Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Small numbers in the SE.

185. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
Fairly common.

186. Richard's Pipit Anthus richardi
Tissa - 2 birds observed.

187. Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus

188. Streaked Weaver Ploceus manyar flaviceps
Uda Walawe - a group of 4 birds in non-breeding plumage.

189. White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata striata
Kandy, Kitulgala, Sinharaja - small numbers.

190. Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata
Fairly common.

191. Black-headed Munia Lonchura malacca malacca 
Fairly common in the SE.

Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians

I followed sequence and scientific nomenclature/taxonomy of Gurung & Singh (1996), Field Guide to the Mammals of the Indian Subcontinent. I also used Prater (1980), The book of the Indian Animals and information of some websites, including

Toque Macaque Macaca sinica E
Kandy, Uda Walawe.

Purple-faced Leaf Monkey Presbytis vetulus E
Horton Plains - two.

Hanuman or Black-faced or Grey or Common Langur Presbytis entellus
Uda Walawe, Hambantota.

Ruddy Mongoose Herpestes smithii
Common in the SE.

Indian Elephant Elephas maximus
Uda Walawe, Yala.

Wild Boar Sus scrofa

Chital or Spotted Deer Cervus axis
Common in the SE.

Water Buffalo Bubalus arnee
Wild (?) animals at Uda Walawe, Yala. Tissa animals are not wild.

Indian Palm Squirrel Funambulus palmarum

Layard's Squirrel Funambulus layardi
Three at Sinharaja.

Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica
Sinharaja - one
Uda Walawe - one

Indian Gerbille or Indian Antelope-Rat Tatera indica cylonica
Yala - one seen when searching at dark for the nightjars.

Indian Hare Lepus nigricollis
Yala - one

Estuarine Crocodile - Yala, Tissa.

House Gecko - common

Lizards - 2 species unidentified

Water Monitor - Burawela, Tissa

Land Monitor - 1 Uda Walawe

Star-backed Turtle - 1 Tissa

Long-necked Turtle - 1 Yala


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