“Sometimes I think that the point of birdwatching is not the actual seeing of the birds, but the cultivation of patience.
Of course, each time we set out, there's a certain amount of expectation we'll see something, maybe even a species we've never seen before, and that it will fill us with light. But even if we don't see anything remarkable - we come home filled with light anyway,”
― Lynn Thomson, Birding with Yeats: A Mother's Memoir!
Sri Lanka is a year-round birdwatchers’ paradise, attracting hundreds of species of bird from various parts of the world, to all corners of the island.
Of the island’s 427 recorded species, resident birds amount to approximately 250 while endemic birds number at 33.
Sri Lanka’s diverse geographic locations and environments which range from wet, dry zone, forest and jungle, hill country and low lands plays haven to a range of birds; some of which are restricted to certain areas while many others can be seen throughout the island.
The island’s two distinct monsoon seasons, hilly interior and various wet and dry zones means there is plenty of birdlife to satisfy birders year-round. Fir best weather, the ideal time to visit for birding remains between November and March, when migrant birds arrive.
Around mid-August is when the first migratory species are believed to arrive in Sri Lanka in large flocks flying from as far as Scandinavia and Western Europe to settle along the eastern, north-western and south-eastern coasts. The month of December has been declared as National Bird Month by Sri Lanka’s Field Ornithology Group, the national affiliate of Bird Life International.
Storks, herons, egrets, spoonbills and pelicans, the Ceylon flycatcher, Green beater, eagles, herons and woodpeckers are just a handful of the birds that flock to Sri Lanka.
These feathered friends are seen in just about every corner of the island; the highest densities however hang out in and around sanctuaries spread throughout the island, namely Kumana National Park, the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary and Udawatte Kele.