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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : http://www.baurs.com/travel2/experts.htm
Including all food, transport in a large, modern AC minivan, driver/guide and all the hotels were pre-booked 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.
per person sharing twin US $ 1,550
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 Colombo 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 very humid
After a good nights rest and a hearty breakfast, watching Stork-billed Kingfisher, at the Kitulgala Rest House we were out by 6.30 keen to start ticking off the endemics. A quick 5 minutes 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+ minutes 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 identified 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’ backyard – 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 minutes 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-fronted leafbirds, Oriental Magpie Robins, Pale-bellied 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, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrots buzzing over plus a couple watched for 10 minutes feeding in the trees by the entrance track. Green Imperial Pigeon, Tickell’s Blue Fly, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Red-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 Owl. 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 Flycatcher and Black-rumped Flameback. The path leading down towards the river yielded many birds, Green Warbler, Oriental 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 Honey Buzzards, 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 Oriental Honey Buzzards and a Shikra. A very grand lunch at the Ratnaloka Tour Lodge was very welcome and from the balcony we found a Black-rumped Flameback and 3 Sri Lanka 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 very 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 Sri Lanka 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 45minutes 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 very 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 minutes 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-tailed Bee-eaters, Waterhens, Yellow-fronted 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-billed Leaf Warbler, Lesser Yellownape, a superb white morph Paradise Flycatcher, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Sri Lanka 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 Laughingthrushes. 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 Sri Lanka 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 including a couple more Red-faced Malkohas, a close Blue Magpie, Sri Lanka Scimitar Babblers, Ashy-headed Laughingthrushes 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-faced 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 very close by I managed a very poor of the Sri Lanka 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 minutes .
Decided we would spend the afternoon lazing around the hotel + area, close Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Little Swift, Sri Lanka Swallow, Sri Lanka Green Pigeons, Oriental White-eye, very good views of 2 Sri Lanka 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 seconds, 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 down pour 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-billed Pelicans, and a Yellow Wagtail was feeding by the jeep. A few raptors were hunting including 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-crowned 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-tailed Jacanas.
Rain interrupted the afternoon but had eased off by 5pm so we headed out to a coconut plantation nearby and after 40minutes 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 roof, 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-winged 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-winged 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-winged 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 Sri Lanka 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 immature 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 including Great Thick-knees, parts of the park were inaccessible due to flooding. Other birds of note were another Grey-headed Fish-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-billed Leaf Warblers, a dazzling but brief male Kashmir Flycatcher along with his much dowdier female, Grey-h-Canary Flycatcher, Sri Lanka 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 10minutes.
A pleasant walk to mini worlds end yielded many Pied Bushchats, Dark-fronted Babblers, Sri Lanka 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 Sri Lanka 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 Flycatcher 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 minutes later a very 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 Sri Lanka Woodpigeon, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike but inevitably the rain and mist rolled in so we headed back.
Simon still wanted to see male Kashmir Flycatcher 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 Flycatcher.
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 Flycatcher 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. Oriental 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-bellied Sea-eagle, Forest Wagtail, Sri Linka Myna, Brown Flycatcher, Black-hooded Oriole, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrots, Red-rumped 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-bellied 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.
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 – VERY 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