“Our island’s compact size and great road network makes Sri Lanka a superb bird watching destination in Asia. The country’s incredible 33 endemic species and 60% of the subcontinent birds can be spotted within easy reach across a two-week tour. This sample bird watching itinerary even includes time to explore areas off beat that we found on our travels; and safaris to spot leopards and elephants. A perfect birding tour for those looking for a more private bird watching experience with professional and flexible Naturalists. You will travel across all climatic zones of the island and have a chance to spot over 250 species in beautifully diverse habitats and elevations, including bird watching in the Wetlands of Colombo.”
Chamintha & Rajindra, Founders & Chief Explorers
Itinerary at a glance
Day 1: Negombo
Days 2 and 3: Sigiriya
Days 4 and 5: Kandy
Days 6 and 7: Nuwara Eliya Cloud Forests
Day 8: Kitulgala Forests
Days 9 and 10: Sinharaja Rainforest
Days 11 and 12: Yala and Bundala National Parks
Day 13: Colombo Wetlands
- Duration: 13 days or tailor-made
Private driver and specialised birdwatching Naturalist will accompany throughout.
All trips are tailor-made and private, based on individual client needs and are priced accordingly.
We recommend a night in Colombo to enjoy birdwatching in South Asia’s only accredited Wetland City. If you are keen to photograph birds resident in Europe in their non-breeding plumage, travel to Bundala National Park in the far South or Vankalai Sanctuary in the North between December - March. Birdwatching holidays can be offered all year across the island, but the months of May, October and November are best avoided due to monsoon rains.
“We have returned to Australia after an extraordinary birding trip and safari experience in the jungle. Birds were in abundance and photographic opportunities innumerable.”
Jill Forer-Harrisberg and Brian Harrisberg, Australia
Images courtesy Brian Harrisberg @birdsnatureworld
What you can experience on this tour:
In the Dry, Mixed Evergreen Forests
Explore the lush surrounds and small lakes near the Sigiriya Rock in search of the resident and migrant species of the Peregrine Falcon, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Ceylon Woodshrikes, Oriental Scops Owl, Jerdon’s Nightjar, Blue-faced Malkoha, Ashy and Grey-breasted Prinia and more.
In Kandy and the Botanical Gardens
Search for endemics along a tributary of Sri Lanka’s longest river - the Mahaweli; visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya to search for the beautiful Alexandrine Parakeet, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler, Rose-ringed and Plum-headed Parakeets.
In the Central Highlands
Visit the Victoria Park to spot the Kashmir Flycatcher, Pied Thrush, Forest Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Yellow-Eared Bulbul, Indian Blue Robin among others and the cloud forests of Horton Plains at dawn to tick off the Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler and Sri Lanka White-eye and more during a wonderful day of trekking.
In the Rainforests
You will explore the forests and surrounds of Kitulgala, where across the river lies the Kelani Valley Forest Reserve for a glimpse of the Chestnut-backed Owlet, Green-billed Coucal, and the Serendib Scops Owl and possibly to tick off the Red-faced Malkoha and Blue-faced Malkoha, the Golden-fronted Leafbird, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Spot-winged Ground-thrush and Legge’s Flowerpecker. Inside the World Heritage Site of the Sinharaja Man and Biosphere Reserve and nearby village tracts is our chance to look for the Ceylon Frogmouth, Malabar Trogon, Ceylon Hill-Myna, Ceylon Blue Magpie, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Ceylon Spurfowl, Ceylon Junglefowl, Red-Faced Malkoha and many more, especially if you chance upon the mixed-species feeding flock.
In the Southern Wildlife Parks
You could choose to visit one or both National Parks in the deep south. Yala, is wonderful to observe the Painted & Black-Necked Stork, the Plovers such as the Pacific Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Little-Ringed Plover and Kentish Plover, Great Thick-Knee, Brown Fish Owl, Rosy Starling and a host of other species that dot the Park amidst Sambur, Leopard, Elephant, Sloth Bear, and Giant Squirrels; but can get crowded during peak seasons. Bundala National Park is quieter and wonderful to spot the Waders, Garganey, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Curlew Sandpipers, Marsh Sandpiper, Watercock, Small Pratincole, Yellow-Wattled & Red-Wattled Lapwing, Oriental Skylark, Ashy-Crowned Finch-Lark.
In the Wetlands
You will have a chance to visit two wetlands. In Tissamaharama, search for water birds, Terns, Gulls, the Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Yellow Bittern, Black Bittern, Brahminy Kite, Shikra, Streaked and Baya Weavers, while those who need a shorter tour can visit the Wetlands in Colombo.
On this tour, you have the option to include guided visits to several highlights of Sri Lanka if you wish. Optional excursions could include a trek to the Sigiriya Lion Rock and the Temple of the Tooth Relic, a walk around the Dutch Fort in Galle with a 5th generation resident or a privately guided safari to observe the behaviour of elephants in the wild. If you have some time, enjoy our ‘Other-Side-of-Colombo’ Street Food Tour ending at sunset.
Stylish Accommodation that works well with this itinerary:
This itinerary can include a mix of properties like the Back of Beyond Pidurangala, Jetwing Vil Uyana, Aliya Resort and Spa, Cinnamon Lodge, Ferncliff, Weir House, Cinnamon Citadel, The Grand Hotel, Secret Kandy, Palmstone Retreat, Dune Camp, Chena Huts, Jetwing Warwick Gardens, Uga Residence, Galle Face Hotel, Fairway Colombo, Wallawwa, Jetwing Colombo 7.
We work closely with a range of stylish properties across the island. All hotel and villa recommendations are independent of any affiliations and are based on the finer details of each, to make your holiday just right.
Ceylon Concierge by Ayu
With our personal contacts to Sri Lanka’s top experts we make extraordinary exclusive experiences possible for those who need extra indulgence. Whether its a private charter flight, exclusive whale watching from the skies or on a Yacht guided by a famed author on marine mammals, VIP fast-tracking at the Airport or a magical gourmet experience accompanied by Ceylon’s acclaimed musicians and a private chef. Nothing is too much trouble. Let us know when you enquire. Pricing varies based on your requirements.
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