Bird Watching Tours in Sri Lanka

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bird watching tours in sri lanka

You probably wonder why Sri Lanka Birding Tours is such a popular thing in Sri Lanka nature holidays. Having 33 endemic bird species and a total list of over 430 species, bird watchers and Ornithologists from all over the world consider a Bird watching tours in sri lanka is the Best Wildlife Holidays Sri Lanka.

Even though Sri Lanka is a small country, it has number of best birding sites in the world. Endemic species of sri lanka, endangered birds in sri lanka, and migratory birds in sri lanka are the key factors which makes the Sri Lanka Birding Tours a unique experience and makes the Sri Lanka Wildlife Tours to be very a famous activity among the tourists.

Most of the endemic birds, such as the striking Sri Lanka Red-faced Malkoha & Sri Lanka Green billed Coucal are restricted to the wet zone, while birds such as the Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush and the Sri Lanka Yellow-eared Bulbul reside in the hill country. Others, like the brilliantly plumaged Sri Lanka Junglefowl, and the shy Sri Lanka Brown-capped Babbler can be found in forests and sanctuaries throughout the island.

The large lakes (irrigation reservoirs) in the dry zone attract numerous varieties of duck, while larger aquatic birds such as the stork, heron, egret, spoonbill, pelican, and ibis can easily be seen in the wetlands.

Migratory birds of sri lanka fly over from Northern India, Siberia, Scandinavia and Western Europe including large flocks of sandpipers, stints, plovers, terns and harriers starts arrive in Sri Lanka and settle along the lagoons and salterns of the eastern, north-western and south-eastern coasts around mid august.

Sinharaja World Heritage Wilderness area, Bundala Ramsar site, Yala National Park and Uda Walawe National Park, Horton Plains National Park are popular Sri Lanka Excursions. These will give all the endemics plus some other spectacular species.

Sri Lanka – Birding Tour

13 Nights / 14 Days




Our programmes are offered in the following 3 standard. Accommodation options have been selected after careful evaluations.

Value: Basic but clean. With a typical Sri Lankan touch , relaxed atmosphere and personalized service at Small family / enterprise run operations.

Standard: 3 Star equal: Better comforts and facilities with extra comforts. Mostly large establishments with Standardized service.

Luxury: High standards of quality, décor, service and much more, with many extra comforts and activities to indulge yourself. We have offered locations with a unique Sri Lankan individuality, measuring up to international standards.
Day 1

Day 01 - Arrival – Negombo/Waikkal(HB)


  • Arrival & transfer to a hotel in Waikkala At leisure after a long flight.
  • Birding Trail in the evening (Optional)
  • Dinner & overnight stay at:
    Value – Hotel Sunset Beach or similar
    Standard & Deluxe Ranweli Holiday Village or similar.

This hotel is located in a nature reserve and situated on a sandy beach with a swimming pool. At leisure at the hotel after a long flight.

Waikkala is located in the Puttalam District, which falls into the dry zone category. Waikkala is in the midst of marine, coastal, estuarine, mangroves, marshland and man made habitat systems. All of these have contributed to the avifaunal diversity visible in the immediate surrounding. Much of the avifauna is characteristically wetland. More than 60 species of birds can be observed here. More than 60 species of birds can be observed here. Eg: Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Purple Coot, Painted Stork, Stork Billed Kingfisher and others.

Optional - MUTHURAJAWELA is located south of Negombo in the Colombo district. A vast area of marshland and mangrove vegetation with an extent of 3100 hectares of which 1000 hectares is declared as sanctuary. This important wetland habitat is home to 85 resident birds.

Optional - Evening Bird watching trail. (Bird watching trail by boat for Standard & Deluxe Tour)

Day 2Day 02 - Waikkal - Kitulgala (HB)


  • After breakfast proceed to Kithulgala.
  • Check-in at the hotel.
  • Evening free for bird watching.
  • Dinner & overnight stay at:
    Value/Standard - Rafters Retreat or similar.
    Luxury - Plantation Hotel or similar.

Bird Watching Sri Lanka Sri Lankan Wood Pigeon

KITHULGALA is one of the most scenic locations in the island and also a centre for many nature and adventure related activities which include White Water Rafting, visits to rainforests and the Belilena prehistoric cave. It is also one of the gateways to the hill country.

We will do some birding in the remnant Wet Zone forests close to the Kitulgala Rest House in the evening go across the Kelani River in a dugout canoe to visit the Kelani Valley Forest Reserve which is a lowland tropical rainforest with a high diversity of endemic fauna and flora.

Some of the birds to be seen in this area include the Sri Lankan Wood Pigeon, White Faced Starling, Green-billed Coucal, Sri Lanka Magpie, Red Faced Malkoha, Malabar Trogon, Sri Lanka Orange-billed Babbler Sri Lanka Chestnut-backed Owlet and the lesser Yellow Nape.


Day 3Day 03 - Kitulgala – Sinharaja (HB)


  • After breakfast begin your journey to Sinharaja Rainforest, early in the morning via Ratnapura.
  • Observe the ‘Pooja’ at Ratnapura Maha Saman Devala.
  • Visit Ratnapura Gem City.
  • Check in at hotel in Sinharaja.
  • Village walk in the evening.
  • Overnight stay at:
    Value - Hotel Blue Magpie, Martin’s Lodge or similar.
    Standard - Rain Forest Edge or similar.
    Luxury - Boulder Garden Hotel or similar.

RATNAPURA MAHA SAMAN DEVALA is an important shrine for Buddhists. It is a shrine devoted to God Saman, a Buddhist deity who is regarded as the guardian of Ratnapura.

Gem mining in RatnapuraRATNAPURA - CITY OF GEMS. A land of stirring myth and legend, for you, raises your eyes. This area has a long history for finest gems in the world specifically best rubies in the world.

The extent to which Ratnapura still yields its fabulous gems is sufficient to account for the early tales of their profusion and splendor. Yes, Ratnapura (also called the city of rubies) remains to this day the convergence of Sri Lanka's mineral wealth, the place to which the detritus of the rocks sweep down and are held lovingly in the dips and rises of a land that seems to stir in its sleep, then pulls the coverlets of green and gold around it.

Bird Watching Sri Lanka Sri Lanka GemsGEM INDUSTRY Gems are a very important mineral resource in Sri Lanka. According to the chronicles, Sri Lankan gem industry has a very long history and dates back even before the 6th century B.C. It is one of the oldest industries of Sri Lanka, which still plays a major contribution to Sri Lankan economy. In ancient times Sri Lanka was known as the "Ratnadeepa" (the island of gems) by foreigners. There is much evidence available on the ancient Sri Lankan gem industry and gems and they are found in the chronicles and records of monks, tourists, explorers, historians and others.

Even after thousands of years, the traditions of Gem mining has not changed other than adding a Diesel driven water pump to remove water in the pit! We will be visiting one of these Gem mines and lean the trade locale way! Be careful where you keep your feet! It may be a priceless Ruby!

Finishing the Gem City visit, we arrive at our hotel and you are free to relax over a warm cup of tea or have an exploration in and around the area to get a feeler of a rainforest and forest related village life.

Sinharaja is surrounded by 22 villages with a population of approximately 5000 people. Only two villages, Warukandeniya and Kolonthotuwa are located within the reserve. The long history of human habitation in and around today's reserve, in fact compounds the problem of managing and conserving the forest. Most of the ancient harmless are found along the southern boundary of the reserve on the bank of Gin Ganga with a few located on the north- western side. Numerous ancient footpaths exist on the periphery of the reserve while there are three footpaths that run across the interior of the forest.

Day 4Day 04 - Sinharaja (HB)

Today you are going to create lifelong memories in a world heritage rain forest!


  • After a very early breakfast, armed with our exploration kits and the correct attire we proceed in to the forest.
  • After forest exploration, come back to the hotel.
  • Overnight stay at:
    Value - Hotel Blue Magpie, Martin’s Lodge or similar.
    Standard - Rain Forest Edge or similar.
    Luxury - Boulder Garden Hotel or similar.


The forest steeped in deep legend and mystery. The word Sinharaja means, lion (Sinha) king (Raja) and the popular belief is that the legendary origin of the Sinhala people in Sri Lanka is from the descendants of the union the lion king who once lived in the forest and a princess. Sinharaja Forest Reserve is one of the least disturbed and biologically unique lowland rain forests now remaining in Sri Lanka.

For more technical reading about the forest

Day 5Day 05 - Sinharaja (HB)


  • After a very early breakfast, armed with our exploration kits and the correct attire we proceed in to the forest for the 2nd exploration.
  • After forest exploration, come back to the hotel.
  • Overnight stay at:
    Value - Hotel Blue Magpie, Martin’s Lodge or similar.
    Standard - Rain Forest Edge or similar.
    Luxury - Boulder Garden Hotel or similar.


Day 6Day 06 - Sinharaja - Udawalawe (FB)


  • Finishing breakfast, proceed to Udawalawe National Park.
  • Arrive at the Park entrance and driven to Mahoora Safari Campsite by 4WD Jeep
  • Enjoy the Sri Lankan lunch at the campsite.
  • Evening safari at Udawalawa National Park.
  • On conclusion, return to the Mahoora Safari Campsite which lit by, lanterns and the campfire.
  • BBQ dinner & accommodation:
    Value/Standard - Mahoora Mobile safari Camp
    Standard/Premium – Mahoora Mobile safari Camp
    Deluxe/Luxury - Mahoora  Mobile safari Camp

White Bellied Sea EagleUdawalawe National ParkThis 30821 hectares dry zone game park was declared as a protected national park in 1972 and has an annual rainfall of 1524 mm and a average temperature of 29.40C.

This park is world famous for it’s Elephants, seen in all their playfulness, whole herds of them, adults and babies bathing and playing in the water or feeding.

This safari would be an unforgettable bird watching experience as “Udawalawe” is one of the best parks for bird watching too.

The endemic species of bird called Red Faced Malkoha has its favorite habitat in the 192 square km parkland. Serpent Eagles, Hawk Eagles, White Bellied Sea Eagles, Black Eagles, Black Capped Bulbuls, Racket Tailed Drongos, Malabar Pied Horn Bills, White Necked Storks, Open Bills, Ibis, Shama - The forest Nightingale, Strol Billed Kin Fishers and peacocks are found in fair numbers.

Among the migrant birds are the forest wagtails, Indian Pitta, Whiskered Terns, Osprey Sand Pipers and Terns.


What is the best way to experience nature? To be with the nature, of course!

And to be with the nature, what better way than camping?

Mahoora Mobile Safari Camps are for the real wildlife & nature enthusiasts who want to immense themselves in true spirit of Safari & nature and not for faint-hearted.

Forget any ideas about cramped tents and sitting on the ground for meals – this is camping in style! Our mobile Safari Camps are set up prior to your arrival, transporting in comfortable tents, a fully equipped kitchen, chairs and tables, hammocks, flushable toilets, showers and even cold beer.   On your return from the afternoon safari, you will be welcomed with a hearty barbecue meal in a magical setting – the whole area is lit up with traditional flame torches and a roaring campfire. So sit back, relax and let our experienced staff cater to your every need.

Depending or style, (Luxury, Premium or Standard) we would throw in an array of comforts to make your “back- to- basics” camping safari more “luxurious or comfortable”. However, it must be appreciated that we are a mobile camping operation and not a permanent camp or a lodge.

Day 7Day 07 - Udawalawe - Yala (HB)


  • Morning safari at Udawalawe National Park.
  • After finishing the safari, leave for Bundala.
  • Bird safari at Bundala National Park and Kalametiya Sanctuary.
  • Check in at a hotel in Tissamaharama
  • Dinner & overnight stay at:
    Value/Standard – Priyankara Hotel or similar
    Luxury Yala Village Hotel or similar.

Udawalawe National Park is also a good bird watching site in sri lanka.

Among the migrant birds are the forest wagtails, Indian Pitta, Whiskered Terns, Osprey Sand Pipers and Terns.

Greater Flamingo - BundalaBundala National Park

The high species richness of birds in the Bundala National Park resulted in it being declared as Sri Lanka’s first Ramsar site in 1990. A wetland of international importance for migratory waterfowl. The park consists mainly of dry thorny scrubland and lagoons. The highlight of Bundala is the migratory Greater Flamingo, which visits in large flocks of over 1000 individuals, from Rann of Kutch- India. In particular we may find Indian Cormorant, Yellow Bittern, Black-crowned Night and Purple Herons. The area is also famous for crocodiles.


Kalametiya sanctuary is situated in the Hambantota District and falls into the dry zone category. Major habitat types are lagoons, mangroves and scrublands. These lagoons support breeding colonies of pelicans, herons, egrets and open-billed stork and large wintering populations of migratory ducks and shorebirds.

Day 8Day 08 - Yala - Nuwara Eliya (HB)


  • After breakfast, leave for morning safari at Yala National Park.
  • On conclusion, proceed to Nuwara eliya.
  • Visit Hakgala Botanical Garden en route.
  • Check in at hotel in Nuwara Eliya – little England or Scotland!!
  • Dinner & overnight stay at:
    Value Windsor Hotel or similar.
    Standard – Grand Hotel or similar.
    Luxury – Tea Factory Hotel or similar

Yala National Park lies 24 km northeast of Tissamaharama and 290km from Colombo on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka and spans Southern and Uva provinces. The park consists of 97,878ha. The altitude is 90m from sea level. The vegetation in this park comprises secondary forest, possibly a few hundred years old at the most.   It is predominantly semi-arid thorny-scrub, interspersed with pockets of fairly dense forest. Small patches of mangrove vegetation occur along the costal lagoons. Yala is renowned for the variety of its wildlife and its fine coastline and associated coral reefs.

Dull Blue FlycatcherA large number of important cultural ruins bear testimony to earlier civilizations and indicate that, much of the area was populated and well developed.

Hakgala Gardens

The Haggala botanic gardens were founded in 1860 by the eminent British botanist Dr. G.H.K. Thwaites who was superintendent of the more famous gardens at Peradeniya. Haggala botanical gardens were once the pleasure garden of Ravana of the Ramayana epic and according to many, it was one of the places where the beautiful Sitha was hidden by the demon king.

Nuwara EliyaThe Dull Blue Flycatcher, a highland bird species that is endemic to Sri Lanka, is probably the star of Hakgala. Though its privacy is restricted by human presence, this sparrow-sized flycatcher is abundant in the park. The Sri Lanka White-eye, a tiny sociable bird is a frequent visitor to the flowers at Hakgala. Often seen feeding on the nectar of the flowers, this acrobatic bird sometimes hangs downwards while sucking nectar. It also feeds on little insects and caterpillars, searching every leaf for its prey.

Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya has a cool sparkling climate with the temperature changing around 13degC this is an exquisite and healthy city famous for its wide range in flowers. With buildings of English architecture everywhere in the city, it is affectionately called little England. The Victoria Park in the center of Nuwara Eliya, the highest town in Sri Lanka. Yellow-eared Bulbul, Blackbird, in winter Pied Thrush and Kashmir Flycatcher are very common.

Day 9Day 09 - Nuwara Eliya – Horton Plains – Nuwara Eliya (HB)


  • After breakfast Proceed to Horton Plains
  • Evening at leisure after a city tour.
  • Dinner & overnight stay at Nuwara Eliya.
  • Dinner & overnight stay at:
    Value Windsor Hotel or similar.
    Standard – Grand Hotel or similar.
    Luxury – Tea Factory Hotel or similar

Ceylon Whistling Thrush - Horton PlainsHORTON PLAINS is perhaps the most awesome and forbidding region of Sri Lanka.   Located on a high windswept plateau at about 7,000 feet (2,134 meters) elevation, a visit to these plains is well worth the effort.

The most awe-inspiring site is the World’s End, considered the finest view in all of Sri Lanka. The terrific escarpment drops vertically for approximately 1,000 feet (328 meters) and falls away almost as steeply for another 4,000 feet (1,312 meters).   In the early morning the Indian Ocean rims the horizon 50 miles (81 kilometers) to the south.

The Horton Plains form the eastern extremity of the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary. It extends through the alpine ruggedness for some 25 miles (40 kilometers), from west of Adam’s Peak (which you saw on your way to Sinharaja).   Black eagles, blue magpies and other rare birds can be found here, not to mention the occasional black leopard, deer, sambar, jackals and purple-faced Monkey.

Day 10Day 10 - Nuwara Eliya - Kandy (HB)


  • After breakfast do an experiential /educational visit to a tea factory / plantation and learn about the tea culture.
  • Leave to Kandy.
  • Check in at a hotel in Kandy.
  • Afternoon commence a city tour of Kandy, including visit Scared Temple of the Tooth Relic, Udawattakelle sanctuary & evening witness of Cultural dance show
  • Dinner & overnight stay at:
    Value Hotel Suisse or similar.
    Standard – Thilanka Hotel or similar.
    Luxury – Mahaweli Reach Hotel or similar

Dalada MaligawaKANDY was the last stronghold of the Buddhist political power against colonial powers. It is also the home of the Temple of the Tooth relic. It’s Sri Lanka’s second largest city and home to a Sinhalese cultural tradition of which Sri Lankans are justifiably proud.

Kandyan DancingDALADA MALIGAWA - The Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Malgawa dates from the 16 th century, though most of the present buildings were built in the 19 th century. Entering the shrine over a moonstone step, you pass a stone depicting the Indian goddess Lakshmi and a wall with frescoes illustrating the Buddhist conception of hell. The upper stories house the relic of the tooth, caged behind the gilded iron bars. Behind the toothrelic sanctuary is a hall with a number of golden Buddha statues and modern paintings, showing Buddha's life and the arrival of Buddhism in the land. We end our tour just before the evening drumming begins, which precedes the ceremonious opening of the window for the public viewing of the casket with the tooth.

Experience a Cultural performance

You can see the compelling traditional Kandyan dancing at one of the city’s cultural performance centers. The team of drummers and dancers will show you the traditional Kandyan dancing where it will be one of your lifelong memories of the tour!

UDAWATTAKELE is a Buddhist sanctuary and there is a temple in the vicinity. Vegetation comprises fairly dense forest, mostly plantation and secondary formations. About 80 species of bird have been recorded from the area.

Day 11Day 11 - Kandy – Sigiriya (HB)


  • After early breakfast, leave to Sigiriya.
  • En route visit Spice Garden at Matale.
  • En route visit Dambulla Cave Temple.
  • Check in at Hotel in Sigiriya.
  • Evening do birding trail around the hotel premises.
  • Dinner & overnight stay at:
    Value – Hotel Sigiriya or similar.
    Standard – Sigiriya Village Hotel or similar.
    Luxury – Habarana Lodge or similar

SPICE GARDEN at Matale which grows spices and herbs used for Sri Lankan cuisine and medication. For centuries, spices have been one of Sri Lanka's celebrated exports. Spices mostly grown in home gardens (as a home industry) and used not only to flavor food but also in medicine and cosmetics. Visit a Spice Garden and sample such scents and flavors as cinnamon, ginger, pepper, vanilla, cardamom etc… Spices of Sri Lanka attracted the early sea faring merchants who made the long voyages to purchase this precious merchandis

Dambulla Cave TempleDAMBULLA CAVE TEMPLE was built by King Walagambahu in the 1st century B.C. and it is a World Heritage Site. It is the most impressive of Sri Lanka's cave temples. The complex of 5 caves with over 2000 square metres of painted walls and ceilings is the largest area of paintings found in the world. The history of the 5 caves, containing over 150 images of Buddha, goes back to 1st century BC when king Valagambahu took refuge here. The second cave, the most elaborate and most spectacular of the five, is the largest which is 170ft long, 75ft broad and 21ft high. There is a large reclining Buddha statue and statues of two kings namely, Valagambahu who took first took refuge there and did most of the consctuction and Nissankamalla who later did more work. In the center of this cave is a large contaianer to collect the water that drips from the rock ceiling even during the dry season. This place is worth visiting not only for the cave temple, but also for the beautiful view over the countryside we get from near the caves situated at arount 150mt above the road.

Evening bird watching around the premises. In Sigiriya we are trying to go after the dry zone birds we missed in Udalwawe & Yala.

Day 12Day 12 - Sigiriya (HB)


Sigiriya Rock

Sigiriya Rock located in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka and considered to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. It dates back from over 7,000 years ago, through the pre-historic to the proto-historic to the early history of Sri Lanka . Around 3rd Century BC devotees to the sangha (Buddhist clergy) prepared and donated a monastery consisting of rock-shelters and caves.

Possible noteworthy species: SHAHEEN (Local race of the Peregrine), Grey-bellied Cuckoo, 'Square-tailed' Drongo-cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo, Crested Treeswift, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Coppersmith Barbet, Indian Pitta, Ceylon Woodshrike, Large Cuckooshrike, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Ceylon Grey Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Ceylon Small Barbet, White-browed Fantail, Tawny-bellied Babbler, Orange-headed Thrush, Jungle Prinia, White-rumped Shama, Purple Sunbird, Thick-billed Flowerpecker, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo.

Evening bird watching around the premises.

Day 13Day 13 - Sigiriya - Negombo (HB)


  • After breakfast proceed to Negombo.
  • Rest of the day at leisure to enjoy at the Beach.
  • Optional -  birding tour around hotel premises.
  • Dinner & overnight stay at:
    Value – Sun Set Beach Hotel or similar.
    Standard – Goldi Sand Hotel or similar.
    Luxury – The Beach Hotel or similar

Day 14Day 14 - Negombo - Departure

After breakfast, departure.


Make an inquiry


Child Policy
02 - 12yrs 50% on Adult’s rate
Bellow 2 years FOC


  • Accommodation on half board basis starting with dinner on day 01 till breakfast on day 14.
  • Lunch on day 06 for Cam ping option only.
  • Transportation throughout the tour in an Air conditioned Car/Van/Mini Coach/Bus with English speaking chauffeur Guide. Please note the total mileage calculated for this tour is for 1,100 Kms. [which is quite sufficient]  If exceeded the above quoted mileage a supplement of US$ 0.4/ 0.4/0.6/1.00Per km will be charged. (If you extend the tour you will have to pay an additional fee for keeping the vehicle & airport transfer)
  • Entrance fees / Trekkers fees / at Sinharaja Rain Forest and experiential village walk /trek .
  • Trekker fee for birding trail at Kelani Valley Forest Reserve.
  • Entrance fees & Jeep safaris and all other fees at Udawalawe, Bundala, Kalametiya & Yala National parks.
  • Entrance fee for Horton Plains National Park.
  • Entrance fee to Hakgala Botanical Garden.
  • Entrance fee for Dalada Maligawa & Cultural show in Kandy.
  • Entrance & Tracker fee for Udawattakele birding trail.
  • Cost of the nature trail in Sigiriyal.
  • Entrance fee for Sigiriya & Dambulla
  • Service charges and all Government taxes.
  • All government taxes


  • Expenses of personal nature.
  • Lunch during the tour
  • Optional Activities mentioned in the programme.
  • Services of an English Speaking Bird Guide his accommodation plus skilled local guides at relevant locations. (Given Separately)
  • Tips and Porterage at hotels.


  • Personal effects for windy/rainy/warm weather conditions should be carried by the clients.
  • Insect repellents, sun burn lotions etc, are recommended.


Full payment with the confirmation



  • 90 Days or more - 200 US $ Administrative fee
  • 60 to 89 Days - 15 % of the tour cost will be charged
  • 30 to 59 Days - 25 % of the tour cost will be charged
  • 14 Days to 29 Days - 50 % of the tour cost will be charged.
  • 8 Days to 13 Days - 75 % of the tour cost will be charged.
  • Less than 7 days no refund.

*Days will be counted from the 6.00am on the tour starting day.