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A Report from

Sri Lanka Trip Report, March 21 - April 4, 2001,

Ron Hoff

My wife, Dollyann, and I decided to try a trip to Sri Lanka after reading a trip report by Jim Hackett. Jim had recommended using Upali Ekanayake ( as a guide and we're glad he did. Upali was simply outstanding. His knowledge of the birds, their calls, and their habitats was incredible. He is one of Sri Lanka's top birders and is very personable, friendly, and has a great sense of humor. He even taught me the game of cricket (formerly a complete mystery) while we were there (thanks, Upali!). We highly recommend using Upali as a guide. Although our trip covered 15 days and tallied 238 species, including all 23 endemics, this trip could well be done in about 12 days. This would allow for travel time from the U.S. or Europe, and still be possible in two weeks. I also asked Upali how long it would take to find all the endemics and he said it could be done in about 8 days. This would be a great way to combine Sri Lanka with southwestern India, for anybody who has never been to this region of the world. Most of the drives between parks or birding areas are no more than 3-4 hours and the roads are pretty good. We had a nice Toyota Hiace air-conditioned van. The hotels and guest lodges we stayed at were comfortable and safe. We saw none of the problems that Sri Lanka has been experiencing the past few years in the north with the Tamil Tigers. The field book we used was "a Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka", by John Harrison. It is excellent and the plates by Tim Worfolk are very good. In the trip list later, I preferred to replace the word "Ceylon" with "Sri Lanka".

March 21 - Arrived from Singapore just after midnight and went to a nearby hotel for some sleep. We had breakfast and then drove to Kitugala, arriving around 11:30 a.m. After lunch we birded the hotel grounds for a while and picked up several species. After a mid-afternoon break from the heat, we went into the Kitugala Forest Reserve. This is a nice forest and we saw lots of birds. We waited until dark and tried for the Sri Lanka Frogmouth, but rain was coming and it didn't show. Night at the Plantation Hotel.

March 22 - Went into the Kitugala Forest reserve both in the morning and the afternoon. By the time the day was over, we had seen 11 of Sri Lanka's endemics in this area. These included Sri Lanka Hanging-Parrot, Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Sri Lanka Gray Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Spot-winged Thrush, Brown-capped Babbler, Orange-billed Babbler, White-throated Flowerpecker, and Sri Lanka Magpie. Night at the Plantation Hotel.

March 23 - Birded for about an hour and a half near the hotel, where Upali briefly saw a Layard's Parakeet, another endemic (and 12th for this location), but we missed it. We then drove to Sinharaja National Park. We walked from Martin's guest house to the research station, about 2 miles, birding along the way. Our driver, Chamindah, came along later to tell us he had spotted a frogmouth roosting in a bush. While he was walking quietly along the road to come find us, he saw a leopard walk across the road about 50 yards in front of him. Needless to say, it frightened the wits out of him. We looked for the perched frogmouth, but didn't find it again. After dark, Upali was able to tape in a frogmouth for a nice look. Night at Martin's guest-house. Martin's is a very basic place, but the food is good, it has a flush toilet, the bed is comfortable, and the view from the dining area is superb.

March 24 - We went down the hill near the park entrance and walked a forest track for about a kilometer. This was where Upali was able to tape out the Sri Lanka Spurfowl, arguably Sri Lanka's hardest endemic to find. We then birded our way back up the hill to the guest-house. Later in the day, Upali found the frogmouth roosting at eye level in a tree, and we were able to get within 8 feet of it for some incredible views. Night at Martin's guest-house.

March 25 - We had done so well here that we decided to not spend an additional night at Martin's, even though it was originally planned that way. We left after breakfast and drove to a town near the Uda Walawa National Park. We had lunch and then went to the park for an afternoon safari. You have to rent a jeep to go in, as nobody is allowed out of the vehicle. We had some great birds in the park and saw Asian Elephants up close. After we came out of the park, we birded around the entrance gate and had lots of birds there. Night at Uda Walawa Safari Hotel, a nice place.

March 26 - We had an early breakfast and then drove to Tissamaharama and the Priyankara Hotel (very nice). After lunch, we birded the area around this town. There are lots of swampy areas, flooded rice paddies, and ponds, which makes it super for water-loving birds. We found a pair of White-naped Woodpeckers at a nest hole, and then at dusk, found both Indian and Jerdon's nightjars. Night at Priyankara Hotel.

March 27 - This morning we took another jeep safari, this time into the Yala National Park. This is a huge national park, but the public is only allowed into one section of it, although that section is very large in itself. We added many species here, but the highlight was a sighting of a Sloth Bear and her two cubs. After our mid-day break we went to an area called Bundala, where there was a company that had a salt evaporating operation and there were lots of ponds and flats. We had several more trip birds there. Night at Priyankara Hotel.

March 28 - We did some more birding in the wet areas around Tissamaharama before breakfast, and then drove to the town of Nuwara Eliya. We had lunch enroute and then checked into our hotel in the early afternoon. Later we went to Victoria Park in downtown, making our way through a massive funeral for a recently deceased Buddhist monk. We found all the park's specialties in a couple of hours. After doing this, we stopped for some shopping at a discount clothing section, where we were able to buy some nice clothes at very cheap prices. Night at a hotel called "The Rock".

March 29 - Started early (4:30 a.m.) and drove to the Horton Plains in order to be there by daylight. It worked, as we saw the Sri Lanka Whistling-Thrush as it got light. We later added Dull-blue Flycatcher and Sri Lanka Bush-warbler, also both endemics, and a few more trip species. Our afternoon session was spent driving around the area trying to find the Black-throated Munia. We never found it and it was to be one of the very few misses on our trip. Night at The Rock.

March 30 - We had breakfast and then drove to the small town of Bibile, where we checked into a private guest-house. Along the way we stopped long enough to check a known site for Brown Wood-Owl. We tried seeing it from the road but couldn't, so we went into the woods. When we got near the roost, the owl flushed and we didn't ever find it again. So many birders have looked for this owl that it's very shy now. After eating lunch in Bibile, we went out into a dry area and eventually found one of our target birds, the Painted Francolin. This whole area was the prettiest that we saw in Sri Lanka. Lots of solid rocky cliffs and some nice forests. There was another guest-house in the town itself, but ours was built and run by private owners. I don't know the name of it.

March 31 - We spent the morning and the afternoon birding in the Bibile area. The last bird we saw that night was a Gray Nightjar. Just before that, I had been walking back to the van when I walked within a few feet of a Russel's Viper. Upali said it was poisonous, but not deadly. It's one of the few snakes we've ever seen on a birding tour. Night at the private guest-house.

April 1 - After breakfast, we drove to Kandy, birding some along the way. This was mostly a travel day. Night at the Queen's Hotel.

April 2 - Drove to Sigiriya, arriving around noon. Afternoon birding consisted of a walk around the Sigiriya rock. We didn't add much these last two days, but the Sigiriya area was lovely and worth going to. Night at the Sigiriya Hotel, probably the nicest place we stayed at on the trip.

April 3 - Morning and afternoon birding in the Sigiriya area. We added the Shaheen Race of the Peregrine Falcon here. Night at the Hotel Sigiriya.

April 4 - Morning birding in the Sigiriya area and then drove back to the airport, which is north of Colombo. We had reserved a hotel room so we could shower and clean up before our long trip home. This was a great idea and allowed us time to re-group and freshen up for a long, arduous journey home.

A few comments. This trip cost about $2,500 US, very reasonable by any standards. The breakdown was $750 for Upali, $700 for lodging, $610 for the van and driver, and about $450 for miscellaneous expenses and drinks. Our driver, Chamindah, was very good and we recommend him. In Sinharaja park, we were required to have a park guide with us and we had a guy named Thandula. He was good and knew most of the birds and their calls. We recommend him as well. The price above includes tips for all the local guides we used and waiters at the hotels. Pay is low in Sri Lanka, so please be kind when tipping. It goes a long way and the trip is very economical anyway. This was a good time to go to Sri Lanka, even though the weather was hot and humid most of the time. Most of the residents were coming into the breeding season and were singing a lot and trying to defend territories. Of all the birds we had a reasonable chance to see, we only missed three: Brown Wood-Owl, Orange-headed Thrush (a migrant), and the Black-throated Munia. We also saw lots of mammals and other critters. They're listed at the end of the species list.

Species List

(E) = endemic

Little Grebe - Seen several times, except in Kitugala and Sinharaja.
Spot-billed Pelican - Seen easily in the southern dry zone, primarily around Tissamaharama.
Indian Cormorant - Easily seen in several of the areas where there were lakes, ponds, etc.
Great Cormorant - Only found one day at a water reservoir near Bibile (1st).
Little Cormorant - Abundant.
Darter - Seen several times in areas with lakes, ponds, etc.
Gray Heron - Seen several times.
Purple Heron - Easy and pretty in breeding plumage.
Great Egret - Abundant.
Intermediate Egret - Easily seen, but not as abundant as Great.
Little Egret - Common.
Indian Pond-Heron - Abundant.
Cattle Egret - Abundant.
Black-crowned Night-Heron - Seen a few times around Tissamaharama and Sigiriya.
Yellow Bittern - Only seen twice: Tissamaharama (26th), and Sigiriya (2nd).
Black Bittern - Only seen twice: An immature seen flying across a pond behind our hotel near Uda  Walawa (26th), and one at a reservoir near Sigiriya (3rd).
Painted Stork - Gorgeous (for a stork!). Seen easily around Tissamaharama and Yala Park.
Asian Openbill - Seen easily around Tissamaharama and rice fields around Sigiriya.
Wooly-necked Stork - Seen sparingly at Uda Walawa, Bibile, and on the way to Kandy.
Black-necked Stork - Only one bird seen at Yala Park on the 27th.
Lesser Adjutant - Only sighting at Yala Park on the 27th.
Black-headed Ibis - Easily seen in the rice paddies around Tissamaharama, Bibile, and Sigiriya.
Eurasian Spoonbill - The only sighting was a pair at Yala Park on the 27th.
Lesser Whistling-Duck - Common around Tissamaharama and again around Sigiriya.
Cotton Pygmy-Goose - Only seen twice: once at a distance near Sigiriya (2nd), and a pair seen fairly well   flying away at another wet area, also near Sigiriya (4th).
Northern Pintail - Our only sighting was a fairly large flock seen at a distance at Bundala (27th).
Garganey - Only seen around Tissamaharama area, but seen on 3 days.
Oriental Honey-buzzard - Common raptor, seen nearly everywhere we went.
Black-shouldered Kite - Seen a couple of times around Tissamaharama and then once near Nuwara Eliya.
Brahminy Kite - Seen a couple of times around Tissamaharama and Sigiriya.
White-bellied Sea-Eagle - Seen outside Uda Walawa Park, inside Yala Park, and near Kandy.
Gray-headed Fish-Eagle - Only seen once in Yala National Park (25th).
Crested Serpent-Eagle - Arguably Sri Lanka's commonest raptor. Seen almost everywhere.
Shikra - Seen several times in several different areas. Great looks at perched birds a couple of times.
Black Eagle - Pair seen out from Bibile (31st; one was perched). Another was seen on the way to Kandy.
Rufous-bellied Eagle - Scarce, but seen 4 different times: Kitugala, Horton Plains, Bibile, and Kandy.
Changeable Hawk-Eagle - Fairly common and seen in many different places. Mountain Hawk-Eagle- Perched bird seen very well at research station in Sinharaja Park on the 23rd. Seen poorly the next day, also in Sinharaja.
Peregrine Falcon - Shaheen race (orange chest and belly) seen only around Sigiriya Rock on the 3rd.
Painted Francolin - Seen very well outside of Bibile on two occasions; one in p.m. and one in a.m.
Sri Lanka Spurfowl (E) - Only briefly seen crossing a forest track in Sinharaja, in response to Upali's   taping.
Sri Lanka Junglefowl (E) - Seen well in Kitugala, Sinharaja research station (where they come to the food  scraps thrown out by the people there), and Sigiriya. Not hard to find.
Indian Peafowl - Common in Yala Park. Also seen in the Tissamaharama area.
Barred Buttonquail - Seen well in Uda Walawa. Also seen around Tissamaharama and Bibile.
Slaty-legged Crake - Seen pretty well in Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya (28th). Only sighting for the trip.
White-breasted Waterhen - Common anywhere there's water.
Watercock - Saw several on the 27th and  28th in flooded rice paddies near Tissamaharama. One was in breeding plumage.
Purple Swamphen - reasonably easy in any wet area or rice paddy around Tissamaharama and Sigiriya.
Common Moorhen - Seen a few times around Tissamaharama and again around Sigiriya.
Pheasant-tailed Jacana - Common (and stunning) around Tissamaharama and Sigiriya.
Black-winged Stilt - Easily seen in the Tissamaharama area.
Eurasian Thick-knee - Only seen on the 27th in Yala National Park.
Great Thick-knee - Only seen on the 27th in Yala National Park.
Small Pratincole - Only seen at a salt evaporating operation in Bundala, on the 27th, but got a great look a several, in spite of high winds.
Yellow-wattled Lapwing - Seen several times in the Tissamaharama area.
Red-wattled Lapwing - Common throughout Sri Lanka.
Pacific Golden Plover - Seen a couple of times in the Tissamaharama area; not common where we were.
Black-bellied Plover - Only seen once on the 27th , while leaving Yala National Park.
Little Ringed Plover - Seen sparingly around Tissamaharama and once near Bibile.
Snowy (or Kentish) Plover - Seen only near Yala National Park on the 27th.
Mongolian (or Lesser Sand) Plover - Seen around Yala National Park and again around Sigiriya.
Pintail Snipe - Seen well a few times around Tissamaharama and again at Sigiriya.
Black-tailed Godwit - Only seen once on the 27th, while leaving Yala National Park.
Common Redshank - Only seen on the 27th, and then again driving from Bibile to Kandy.
Marsh Sandpiper - Easy to see around Tissamaharama; saw again in rice paddies near Sigiriya.
Common Greenshank - Seen several times in the Tissamaharama area.
Green Sandpiper - Only saw one bird at a pond inside Uda Walawa Park (25th).
Wood Sandpiper - A few sightings at Yala, driving from Bibile to Kandy, and then near Sigiriya.
Common Sandpiper - Common throughout Sri Lanka.
Ruddy Turnstone - Only seen on the 27th, near Yala National Park.
Little Stint - Several seen in the Yala National Park area.
Curlew Sandpiper - Several seen around Tissamaharama and Yala National Park.
Brown-headed Gull - A few seen well on the 27th, including a breeding adult, at Bundala.
Gull-billed Tern - A few seen around Tissamaharama and Yala.
Caspian Tern - A couple of birds seen on the 27th at Bundala.
Great Crested Tern - Only one bird seen on the 27th at Bundala.
Little Tern - Fairly common around Tissamaharama and Yala.
Saunder's Tern - Only one bird found on the 27th at Bundala.
Whiskered Tern - The commonest tern, seen several times on the trip.
White-winged Tern - Fairly common around Yala and Bundala.
Rock Dove - I think I've seen this species in every country I've ever been in!
Sri Lanka Wood-Pigeon (E) - A few birds seen very well in Sinharaja Park and a few more seen in the  Horton Plains area.
Spotted Dove - Abundant (although quite lovely).
Emerald Dove - Several seen quite well at Kitugala, Sinharaja, Bibile, and Sigiriya.
Orange-breasted Green Pigeon - Several seen very well around Tissamaharama, Yala, Bibile, and Kandy.
Pompadour Green Pigeon - Seen well several times throughout the trip.
Yellow-footed Green Pigeon - Only found on the 31st, near Bibile. We had a flock of about 10 birds or so. Got them in the scope for some super views.
Green Imperial Pigeon - Common. Seen in most areas.
Alexandrine Parakeet - Several seen around Tissamaharama. Also seen at Bibile and Sigiriya.
Rose-ringed Parakeet - Fairly common. Seen almost everywhere.
Plum-headed Parakeet - Uncommon. Seen first outside Uda Walawa. Seen well near Bibile. Beautiful bird!
Layard's Parakeet (E) - Uncommon. Seen in Sinharaja Park first. A few sightings later at Nuwara Eliya and Sigiriya.
Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot (E) - Fairly common around Kitugala and Sinharaja. Also seen at Nuwara Eliya and Bibile.
Chestnut-winged Cuckoo - Only saw this incredible beauty once at Kitugala area on the 26th.
Pied Cuckoo - Only saw this species once on the 26th. Seen at a swampy area near Tissamaharama in the  afternoon. Upali heard one again near Bibile on the 1st.
Indian Cuckoo - One bird seen near Bibile on the 30th. One was also heard near Sigiriya on the 3rd.
Banded Bay Cuckoo - Uncommon. Heard on the 23rd and the 28th. Finally seen very well on the 30th and 31st near Bibile.
Grey-bellied Cuckoo - Scarce. Upali had one on the 25th, but we didn't see it. We finally saw one well outside of Kandy on April 2nd. Upali had another one briefly at Sigiriya.
Asian Koel - Heard throughout Sri Lanka. Finally seen well at Uda Walawa.
Blue-faced Malkoha - Uncommon. Seen well at Tissamaharama on the 26th and 27th. Upali also briefly saw single birds at Bibile and Sigiriya.
Sirkeer Malkoha - Scarce. Seen at Uda Walawa on the 25th, Yala Park on the 27th, and at Bibile on the 30th.
Red-faced Malkoha (E) - Scarce. Seen fairly well at Kitugala on the 22nd, and in Sinharaja on the 24th.
Greater Coucal - Fairly common.
Green-billed Coucal (E) -Very difficult. Only saw one bird in Kitugala on the 21st, but got a great look at it.
Brown Fish-Owl - One bird seen very well on the 25th at a daytime roost in Uda Walawa Park. Upali knew  the bird roosted in this area.
Chestnut-backed Owlet (E) - One bird seen extremely well in the scope on the 21st in Kitugala. We heard another one again the next day, but didn't try to tape it out.
Sri Lanka Frogmouth - Seen by flashlight in Sinharaja on the 23rd. The next day we found one at its daytime roost and were able to approach it closely for fabulous looks without disturbing it. Heard on the 30th in Bibile.
Grey (or Jungle) Nightjar - Heard some calling on the 31st near Bibile, and was able to tape one in for a great look.
Jerdon's Nightjar - Seen briefly at Tissamaharama on the 26th. Seen well on the 2nd near Sigiriya Hotel.
Indian Nightjar - Seen briefly but fairly well on the 26th and 27th at Tissamaharama.
Indian Swiftlet - Common and seen in several areas.
Brown-backed Needletail - Only seen on the 25th at Uda Walawa Park.
Grey-rumped Treeswift - Fairly common around Kitugala, Sinharaja, Tissamaharama, and Bibile.
Asian Palm Swift - Common. Seen in most areas.
Alpine Swift - Scarce. Seen on the 27th in Yala Park, and on the 29th at Nuwara Eliya.
Little Swift - Easily seen at Uda Walawa, Tissamaharama, Bibile and Sigiriya.
Malabar Trogon - Several birds seen around the research station at Sinharaja Park on the 23rd and 24th only.
Common Kingfisher - Not uncommon. We had them in several places throughout the trip.
Oriental Dwarf (Black-backed) Kingfisher - We only had 1 between Kitugala and Sinharaja, but got a great look at it. Upali saw one briefly at Kitugala and again at Sigiriya Hotel. He called it the stunning kingfisher and it certainly was. What an incredibly beautiful bird! He also said that there were no  known sites to reliably find it. You just half to luck up on one somewhere, and we got lucky.
Stork-billed Kingfisher - Finally found one on the 28th, near Tissamaharama, but then found it again at Bibile and also Sigiriya.
White-throated Kingfisher - One of the commonest birds we found, but still beautiful. Seen everywhere.
Black-capped Kingfisher - Only saw one bird in Yala National Park on the 27th.
Pied Kingfisher - Only saw it twice; once near Tissamaharama on the 28th, and again near Bibile on the 1st.
Little Green Bee-eater - Fairly common. Started seeing it at Uda Walawa and saw it the rest of the trip.
Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Fairly common. Seen almost everywhere, except Kitugala.
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater - Fairly common. Not seen at Sinharaja and Sigiriya, but seen everywhere else.
Indian Roller - Not uncommon. Seen at Uda Walawa, Tissamaharama, and Sigiriya.
Hoopoe - only one bird seen on the 27th in Yala National Park. Upali heard one in Bibile.
Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill (E) - Fairly common. Seen in Kitugala, Sinharaja, Bibile, and Sigiriya.
Malabar Pied Hornbill - Uncommon. Only seen on the 25th at Uda Walawa and Bibile on the 30th and 1st.
Brown-headed Barbet - Common. Heard and seen almost everywhere.
Yellow-fronted Barbet (E) - Common. Seen everywhere except Tissamaharama area.
Crimson-fronted Barbet - Fairly common around Bibile and Sigiriya. Not seen elsewhere. Endemic race.
Coppersmith Barbet - Common, but not seen at Kitugala and Sinharaja.
Brown-capped Woodpecker - Scarce. Only found then near Bibile on the 30th and 31st. Upali heard one near Sigiriya on the 2nd.
Yellow-crowned Woodpecker - Uncommon. Seen at Uda Walawa on the 25th and Yala on the 27th. Upali saw one at Bibile on the 31st.
Lesser Yellownape - Scarce. Seen at Kitugala on the 21st and 22nd, Sinharaja (24th), and Bibile (31st).
Black-rumped Flameback - Common. Seen almost everywhere.
White-naped Woodpecker - One pair seen very well near Tissamaharama on the 26th. One seen while driving from Tissamaharama to Nuwara Eliya on the 28th.
Greater Flameback - Uncommon. Seen at Kitugala on the 21st, but sparingly thereafter. We saw it again on the 2nd at Sigiriya.
Indian Pitta - Fairly common. Seen at most locations. We got a point blank look at Victoria Park on the 28th. Beautiful.
Rufous-winged Bushlark (or Lark) - Common at Uda Walawa. Also seen at Yala, Bibile, and Sigiriya.
Ashy-crowned Sparrow lark - Scarce. Seen at Yala National Park (27th) and once again near Bibile (1st).
Oriental Skylark - Only seen once on the 27th at Bundala salt farm.
Barn Swallow - Common around Uda Walawa, Tissamaharama, Nuwara Eliya, and Sigiriya.
Hill Swallow - We only saw a few in the Horton Plains area on the 29th.
Red-rumped Swallow (endemic sub-species) - Common and found in most places.
Forest Wagtail - Fairly common. Seen at Uda Walawa (50+), Nuwara Eliya, and Sigiriya.
Citrine Wagtail - Only saw one bird in Uda Walawa Park on the 25th.
Yellow Wagtail - Only saw this species once on the 26th, near Tissamaharama.
Grey Wagtail - Fairy common. Seen at Kitugala, Nuwara Eliya, and Sigiriya.
Paddyfield Pipit - Fairly common. Seen at Tissamaharama, Nuwara Eliya, and Bibile.
Blyth's Pipit - Only saw one bird at Bundala on the 27th.
Large Cuckoo-shrike - Uncommon. Seen at Kitugala (22nd), Uda Walawa (25th), and Sigiriya (2nd & 3rd).
Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike - Scarce. Only seen at Yala (27th), and Bibile (31st). Heard on the 3rd.
Small Minivet - Common. Seen in most places from the 26th until the end of the trip.
Scarlet Minivet - Somewhat less common. Seen at Sinharaja and Sigiriya.
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike - Uncommon. Horton Plains (28th) and Bibile (30th, 31st, and 1st).
Black-crested (or Black-headed Yellow) Bulbul - Fairly common. Seen at Kitugala, Sinharaja, and Bibile.
Red-vented Bulbul - Abundant everywhere.
Yellow-eared Bulbul (E) - Seen fairly easily around Nuwara Eliya and Horton Plains (28th and 29th).
White-browed Bulbul - Easily found. Seen at Sinharaja, Uda Walawa, Yala, Bibile, and Sigiriya.
Yellow-browed Bulbul - Fairly common at Kitugala, and Sinharaja. Found later at Bibile too.
Black Bulbul - Common at Kitugala, Sinharaja, and Nuwara Eliya.
Blue-winged (or Jerdon's) Leafbird - Uncommon. Seen at Sinharaja (25th), Nuwara Eliya (28th), and Sigiriya (3rd).
Golden-fronted Leafbird - Seen at Kitugala (22nd), Sinharaja (23rd & 24th), Bibile (31st), and Sigiriya (4th).
Common Iora - We didn't see it at Kitugala and Sinharaja, but saw it everywhere else.
Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush (E) - Only found on the 29th in the Horton Plains, but saw 4-5 birds.
Pied Thrush - 4 birds were found in Victoria Park on the 28th.
Spot-winged Thrush (E) - Uncommon. Found at Kitugala (22nd & 23rd), Sinharaja (24th & 25th), and heard on the 29th at Horton Plains.
Scaly Thrush - Two different birds seen near the research station in Sinharaja on the 23rd.
Eurasian Blackbird - Only found in the Horton Plains on the 29th.
Zitting Cisticola - Seen at Tissamaharama, Nuwara Eliya, and Bibile.
Grey-breasted Prinia - Fairly common. Seen at Uda Walawa, Tissamaharama, Nuwara Eliya, and Bibile.
Jungle Prinia - Same as Grey-breasted Prinia. Fairly common.
Ashy Prinia - Common. Found at Uda Walawa, Nuwara Eliya, Bibile, and Sigiriya.
Plain Prinia - Common. Same places as Ashy Prinia.
Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (E) - We found 4-5 birds on the 29th in the Horton Plains.
Blyth's Reed Warbler - Uncommon. Found at Kitugala (23rd), Nuwara Eliya (28th & 29th), and Bibile (1st).
Clamorous Reed Warbler - Uncommon. Found near Tissamaharama on the 26th and 28th.
Common Tailorbird - Found in most places we went.
Greenish Warbler - Scarce. Only found in Sinharaja (23rd), and Victoria Park (28th).
Large-billed Leaf Warbler - Fairly common at Kitugala and Sinharaja. Seen again at Bibile.
Asian Brown Flycatcher - Only saw one bird on the 22nd at Kitugala Forest Reserve.
Brown-breasted Flycatcher - Scarce. Only seen at Kitugala (21st) and Sinharaja (23rd &24th).
Kashmir Flycatcher - What a pretty bird! Only saw one at Victoria Park on the 28th, but was able to get it in the scope for some great looks.
Dull-blue Flycatcher (E) - Saw it in the Horton Plains in the morning and also at a botanical gardens near Nuwara Eliya, both on the 29th.
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher - Fairly common and pretty. Found at Kitugala (21st & 22nd), Bibile (30th & 31st), and Sigiriya (2nd).
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher - Scarce. Only found them in the Horton Plains (29th), and on the way to Bibile (30th).
Indian Blue Robin - Scarce. Saw one pretty well in Victoria Park on the 28th. Upali saw one later (2nd).
Oriental Magpie Robin - Common. Seen almost everywhere except Kitugala and Sinharaja.
White-rumped Shama - Uncommon. Upali hear them in several places, but we finally saw one in Bibile (31st). Had another one in Sigiriya on the 2nd.
Indian Robin - Common. Seen in most places except Kitugala and Sinharaja.
Pied Bushchat - Fairly common around Nuwara Eliya.
White-browed Fantail - Common. Seen in most places from the 25th on.
Black-naped Monarch - Fairly common. Seen in Kitugala, Sinharaja, and Bibile.
Asian Paradise-flycatcher - Common. Seen everywhere we went. We got to see several males of both the brown and white phases. Always stunning!
Ashy-headed Laughingthrush (E) - Scarce, but seen well at Sinharaja (23rd & 24th only).
Brown-capped Babbler (E) - Scarce. One came to Upali's whistle and landed 6 feet from us on the 22nd! It was heard again on the 23rd and 3rd. We saw another one on the 4th in Sigiriya.
Indian Scimitar-babbler - Uncommon. Only seen at Kitugala (22nd), and the Horton Plains (29th).
Tawny-bellied Babbler - Uncommon. Seen at Bundala (27th), Bibile area, and Sigiriya (3rd).
Dark-fronted Babbler - Fairly common at Kitugala and Sinharaja. Also found at Horton Plains (29th) and Sigiriya (4th).
Yellow-eyed Babbler - Scarce. Only found on the 26th near Tissamaharama.
Orange-billed Babbler (E) - Common around Kitugala and Sinharaja.
Yellow-billed Babbler  - Very common. Seen almost everywhere.
Great Tit - Seen several times around Nuwara Eliya (28th, 29th, & 30th).
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - Not uncommon. Sinharaja (23rd), Uda Walawa (25th), Horton Plains (29th), Nuwara Eliya (30th), and Bibile (31st).
Purple-rumped Sunbird - Common. Seen every day.
Purple Sunbird - Seen every day after the 24th.
Long-billed Sunbird - Fairly common. Seen everywhere except Nuwara Eliya and Bibile.
Thick-billed Flowerpecker - Scarce. Heard on the 28th, and finally seen well on the 30th near Bibile.
White-throated Flowerpecker (E) - Seen well in Kitugala and Sinharaja. Not seen elsewhere.
Pale-billed Flowerpecker - Fairly common. Seen most places except Uda Walawa and Tissamaharama.
Sri Lanka White-eye (E) - Uncommon. Found at Sinharaja (24th) and Nuwara Eliya (28th & 29th).
Oriental White-eye - Fairly common. Found at Kitugala, Tissamaharama, Nuwara Eliya, Bibile, and Sigiriya.
Black-hooded Oriole - Common. Seen nearly everywhere.
Brown Shrike - Common. Seen nearly everywhere.
Common Woodshrike - Not uncommon. Seen at Tissamaharama, Nuwara Eliya, and Bibile.
Ashy Drongo - Only seen once in Yala National Park on the 27th.
White-bellied Drongo - Common. Seen most places, but not around Tissamaharama.
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo - Found in Kitugala and Sinharaja (21st-24th), heard in Bibile (31st), and seen again in Sigiriya (2nd).
Ashy Woodswallow - Scarce. Only seen near Tissamaharama (27th), and Sigiriya (2nd).
Sri Lanka Magpie (E) - Scarce. Only seen at Kitugala (22nd), and Sinharaja (24th).
House Crow - Common in the cities.
Large-billed (or Jungle) Crow - Common.
Southern Hill Myna - Seen only once on the 21st in Kitugala Forest Reserve.
Sri Lanka Myna (E) - Only seen in Sinharaja (23rd, 24th, and heard on the 25th).
Common Myna - What can I say..common!
White-faced Starling (E) - Only seen for a few seconds one day in Sinharaja Park on the 23rd.
Brahminy Starling - Scarce. Only seen one day in Yala National Park (27th). Snappy looking bird!
Rosy Starling - Uncommon. Only seen at Uda Walawa (25th), Yala (27th), and near Tissamaharama (28th).
Streaked Weaver - Uncommon. Only found near Tissamaharama on the 26th.
Baya Weaver - Uncommon. Only found near Tissamaharama on the 27th and 28th.
White-throated Munia - Only found one day at Uda Walawa Park (25th).
White-rumped Munia - Fairly common, but only found around Bibile (30th & 1st) and Sigiriya (2nd & 3rd).
Scaly-breasted (or Nutmeg) Munia - Common. Found almost everywhere.
Black-headed Munia - Uncommon. Found at Uda Walawa (25th), Tissamaharama (26th & 28th).
House Sparrow - Seen in the larger cities. Ugh!

Mammals and other creatures list

Purple-faced Leaf Monkey (plus the highland race of this species in the Horton Plains area)
Grey Langur Monkey
Toque Macaque
Golden Jackal
Stripe-necked Mongoose
Black-tipped Rufous Mongoose
Brown Mongoose
Grey Mongoose
Samba Deer
Spotted Deer
Mouse Deer
Water Monitor
Land Monitor
Marsh Crocodile
Palm Squirrel
Giant Squirrel
Black-naped Hare
Wild Pig
Water Buffalo
Asian Elephant (primarily in Uda Walawa; some within 15-20 feet of our jeep)
Sloth Bear (with 2 cubs, in Yala National Park)
Rat Snake
Russell's Viper
Horned Lizard
Green Lizard
Common Garden Lizard
Tree Gecko
A few unidentified species of bats

About 25 or so species of butterflies, some of which were gorgeous.
I have tried to make this report as accurate as possible, with the hopes it will help somebody enjoy their own trip to Sri Lanka in the future. This is a wonderful, friendly nation and my wife and I highly recommend a trip there someday. We had a great time and it was a wonderful experience. If there are any mistakes, they are mine alone, and I would like to hear about them (either at -
- or telephone 865-435-4547 in the USA).

Ron Hoff
Clinton, Tennessee   USA

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