Birdwatching in Sri Lanka
Endemic Birds of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a country blessed with the
‘Monsoon - Seasonal Winds,’ water and lots of greenery.
You will be able to see so many birds, people and plants up close and easily.
With 33 endemic species living there, you can also see the winter migratory birds from November to April, so the forests and shores are bustling with song.
From the gardens at the hotel, in the fields as you drive, and in the forests of the National Parks, you will continue to meet many wild bird species.

Endemic Birds of Sri Lanka

Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a treasure trove of endemic species. Depending on the era and on the organization that is certifying it, the number of endemic bird species fluctuates from 20-47, but below, 33 species that are currently recognized as “Endemic Species” in Sri Lanka will be showcased.

セイロンケズメシャコ Sri Lanka Spurfowl
Sri Lanka Spurfowl

A pheasant species that inhabits rainforest areas. The faces of the males are characterized by red skin with white patterns, and they have extra spurs. It is a challenging bird to observe, but there are chances to see it in the Sinharaja and Kitulgala forests. They live in pairs and are territorial.

Galloperdix bicalcarata
セイロンヤケイ Sri Lanka Junglefowl
Sri Lanka Junglefowl

This is the national bird of Sri Lanka. It is found in bushes and forests throughout most of Sri Lanka and can be seen commonly during sightseeing tours of archeological sites. The male’s red crest with a striking yellow pattern; collar of gold feathers; and its red legs make it a dazzling bird to see.

Male:66-72.5cm Female:35cm
Gallus lafayetii
セイロンカノコモリバト Sri Lanka Woodpigeon
Sri Lanka Woodpigeon

A large pigeon that inhabits the rainforest areas of the Central Mountains of Sri Lanka, around the Horton Plains National Park as well as the Sinharaja Forest. A white pattern on the back of the neck is a distinguishing feature.

Columba torringtoniae
ハイビタイアオバト Sri Lanka Green Pigeon
Sri Lanka Green Pigeon

A small pigeon found from the lowlands to the hills of Sri Lanka. The face is yellow, and the wings have yellow lines. Males have dark red upper backs but the females are green. They are usually observed in pairs or in small groups.

Treron (pompadora) pompadora
ズアカサトウチョウ Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot
Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot

A brightly colored parakeet with a red head observed in the lowland to hilly areas of the wet zone, located around the center to the southwest part of the island. Due to their distinct call, their small size and short tails, they are easily distinguishable from the other parrots.

Loriculus beryllinus
セイロンミドリワカケインコ Layard's  Parakeet
Layard's Parakeet

A large bodied, bright green, long-tailed parakeet which is found in both wet lowland forests and in the hills. Head is gray; throat is black; and the bill color is different for the sexes: reddish pink in males and dark gray in females. They are often observed in pairs and in small groups.

Psittacula calthropae
アカガオバンケンモドキ Red-faced Malkoha
Red-faced Malkoha

A large bird with a bright red face, it inhabits forests from the lowlands to the hilly areas. Contrary to its very flashy appearance, it is quite difficult to photograph because it is usually shy and is good at hiding.

Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus
セイロンバンケン Green-billed Coucal
Green-billed Coucal

A cuckoo species that inhabits the hilly wet forests of southwestern Sri Lanka. Due to habitat deforestation and fragmentation, they only live limited areas such as the Sinharaja Forest. With a pale green beak, it serves as a watchdog of the forest, heard more often than its seen.

Centropus chlororhynchos
セレンディブコノハズク Serendib Scops Owl
Serendib Scops Owl

A small reddish-brown owl with sparse bright spots on its lower body. This is the most recently 'discovered' endemic bird in Sri Lanka, it was first identified in Sinharaja in 2001 and introduced as a new species in 2004. Currently, it is confirmed to inhabit Sinharaja and Kitulgala, but the number of individuals is quite small.

Otus thilohoffmanni
クリセスズメフクロウ Chestnut-backed Owlet
Chestnut-backed Owlet

A small owl species with a rounded head, a chestnut-colored back and white streaks in front. It is a diurnal owl that can only be found in areas such as Sinharaja Forest. They are usually solitary but are sometimes seen in pairs.

Glaucidium castanotum
キビタイゴシキドリ Yellow-fronted  Barbet
Yellow-fronted Barbet

A large barbet species with a blue face and throat; central face feathers and a mustache that are bright yellow; and a deep green body. Observed in the Sinharaja Forest and in areas of the southwestern part of Sri Lanka.

Megalaima flavifrons
ヒノドゴシキドリ Crimson-fronted Barbet, Sri Lanka Small Barbet
Crimson-fronted Barbet /
Sri Lanka Small Barbet

A small barbet species with a red forehead, orange around the eyes, and blue on the margins of the face. It is found in a wide range of places, from the lowlands to the hilly areas of Sri Lanka.

Megalaima rubricapillus
スリランカコサイチョウ Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill
Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill

A small hornbill species with a gray upper body and whitish lower body, widely distributed in the islands of Sri Lanka. They are found in pairs and in flocks and prefer dry places. It does not have the upper mandible bulge (Casque) found in other hornbills.

Ocyceros gingalensis
セアカコガネゲラ Crimson-backed Flameback
Crimson-backed Flameback

A large woodpecker with a dark red back and a scaly pattern of black and white feathers on the belly. The males have a red head and females have a black head speckled with white spots. Usually, they live in pairs in the lower layers of the forest.

Chrysocolaptes stricklandi
スリランカサンショウクイ Sri Lanka Woodshrike
Sri Lanka Woodshrike

A small gray bird with a thick beak, a black mask and white eyebrows. Inhabits arid regions in thickets and shrubs from the lowlands to the hills. It was originally considered to be a subspecies of a Common Woodshrike.

Tephrodornis affinis
Sri Lanka Blue Magpie

Found in the southwestern part of Sri Lanka, this large, long-tailed blue bird has a striking white edge on its tail; a maroon head and wings; it’s red beak and eye ring are also distinctive features. It is one of the most popular endemic species of Sri Lanka and can be observed in the Sinharaja Forest. It is a bird that decorates the cover of the Helm field guide “Birds of Sri Lanka.”

Urocissa ornata
スリランカコシアカツバメ Sri Lanka Swallow
Sri Lanka Swallow

This swallow species has a deep chestnut-colored belly and lower back, with a deeply notched forked tail. It is commonly seen in the open areas of farmland and boarders of the forest from the lowlands to the foothills of the mountains. Often it is seen in pairs or small groups.

Cecropis hyperythra
スリランカオウチュウ Sri Lanka Crested Drongo
Sri Lanka Crested Drongo

A large drongo species characterized by the glossy black plumage; with a long, deeply forked tail; and a signature tuft of feathers on the forehead. It inhabits the wetlands of Sri Lanka from lowland forests to the foothills. Usually observed in pairs and often in mixed flocks. With a varied repertoire of complex whistling, bell-like and scratching sounds, their song so interesting and pretty.

Dicrurus lophorhinus
エボシヒヨドリ Black-capped Bulbul
Black-capped Bulbul

A medium-sized bulbul species with a bright yellow belly and contrasting black head. They live anywhere there are trees, including forests, open woodlands and gardens from the lowlands to the foothills. Usually seen in pairs or in small groups.

Pycnonotus melanicterus
キミミヒヨドリ Yellow-eared  Bulbul
Yellow-eared Bulbul

A medium-sized, plump, olive-colored bulbul species with a yellow chest, the head has yellow feathers behind its eyes, and white spots above both eyes. There are white horn-shaped markings protruding from the base of its beak. It lives in small groups in the canopy of hilly forests, thickets, and gardens.

Pycnonotus penicillatus
セイロンオウギセッカ Sri Lanka Bush Warbler
Sri Lanka Bush Warbler

A small, brown-colored bird. Short, lightly gray eyebrows and red eyes in males but the females have a golden-yellow color. Seen being solitary or in pairs, in the dense understory of rainforests from the hills to the highlands of Sri Lanka.

Bradypterus palliseri
セイロンジチメドリ Brown-capped  Babbler
Brown-capped Babbler

A small babbler species, cinnamon-colored from the face to the belly, and the head is dark brown. They live in forests, forest edges, and thickets, and are usually seen in pairs.

Pellorneum fuscocapillus
スリランカマルハシ Pomatorhinus melanurus
Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler

It has a long, curved, bright yellow-orange beak; long white eyebrows; deeply maroon-colored wings; and a pure white throat and belly. Found from the lowlands to the montane forests often in the underbrush, usually moving in pairs and in mixed flocks.

Pomatorhinus melanurus
セイロンヤブチメドリ Orange-billed  Babbler,  Ceylon Rufous Babbler
Orange-billed Babbler / Ceylon Rufous Babbler

A large babbler species; brown in color; orange beak and legs; and yellow eyes. It moves in groups and is usually found in noisy flocks in the understory of rainforests. Sings well and produces various sounds. With a limited distribution, it is mainly seen in the Sinharaja forest.

Turdoides rufescens
セイロンガビチョウ Ashy-headed  Laughingthrush
Ashy-headed Laughingthrush

A medium-sized Laughingthrush species; gray head; dark colored beak and legs. One of the hardest species to find, but when seen, is found in small groups near the ground and in the lower layers of dense forests from the lowlands to mountain foothills. Can be observed in the Sinharaja Forest.

Garrulax cinereifrons
セイロンキュウカンチョウ Sri Lanka Hill Myna

Sri Lanka Hill Myna

A medium-sized myna species with a yellow skin fold on the nape that differs from the similar species, the Lesser Hill Myna, in the shape of this yellow skin fold and a darker orange beak. It lives in small groups in the canopy and in surrounding forests of hilly areas.

Gracula ptilogenys
シロガオムクドリ White-faced Starling
White-faced Starling

A small starling species with a white face, a gray abdomen and throat. Found in pairs and small groups, usually in the canopy of lowlands and foothills. It is a bird that only lives in specific areas and is difficult to photograph.

Sturnornis albofrontatus
セイロンルリチョウ Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush
Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush

Males are navy blue appearing almost black; with bright blue spots on the shoulders. Females are reddish brown with similar blue spots on the shoulders. Usually hiding very well in the shaded understory or on the ground of thick mountain forests. Can be observed only in limited places, one of those is the Horton Plains.

Myophonus blighi
セイロンジツグミ Zoothera spiloptera
Sri Lanka Spot-winged Thrush

Has a large dark spot on its abdomen; white spots on its brown wings; and black facial stripes under its eyes that are very distinct for this thrush species. It mainly inhabits wetlands and is observed in the Sinharaja forests.

Zoothera spiloptera
スリランカトラツグミ Sri Lanka Thrush, Sri Lanka Scaly Thrush
Sri Lanka Thrush /
Sri Lanka Scaly Thrush

A large brown thrush species with a long beak, black scales spread all over its body and a brown abdomen. This species is difficult to observe, as it lives in the dense understory of rainforest hills in limited areas.

Zoothera imbricata
セイロンヒタキ Dusky Blue  Flycatcher, Dull Blue Flycatcher
Dusky Blue Flycatcher /
Dull Blue Flycatcher

A beautiful large flycatcher species with a blue body; a bright blue forehead; and a pale gray belly. It inhabits the mountainous regions of Sri Lanka and is usually solitary or in pairs, in the dense understory of montane forests. Observed near Nuwara Eliya and Horton Plains.

Eumyias sordidus
Legge’s Flowerpecker

With a white throat and a yellow lower belly, this is a small bird. Males have a dark blue head and back, while females are dark gray. Usually found in pairs, they feed on nectar and nuts from trees in and close to wetland forest areas. Its habitat is limited, such as around Sinharaja Forest.

Dicaeum vincens
セイロンメジロ Sri Lanka White-eye
Sri Lanka White-eye

A dark olive-colored bird with a large white eye ring and a yellow throat. Active in flocks and found in the canopy of the hills and mountains. It is similar looking like an Oriental White-eye, but the Ceylon White-eye is slightly larger, has a longer beak, with a duller coloration overall.

Zosterops Ceylonensis
COLUMN-Wild Birds of Sri Lanka-

Sri Lanka Frogmouth
- It is really popular, but it is not an endemic!

Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger
Body length: 23cm

Although it's not endemic to Sri Lanka, the frogmouth is a rare bird, found only in the Western Ghats of South India and in Sri Lanka. It is nocturnal; inhabits woodland areas; is a difficult bird to find because its plumage resembles dead leaves; and it roosts quietly on branches. When it is on guard in its roost, it turns its beak upward and mimics a broken branch. If you are lucky, you may be able to see a cute pair or parent birds sitting with their chicks in the roost. The two sexes have different plumage colors, with males having a gray plumage and the females have a brown plumage.


Pair of Frogmouthss

A Male Frogmouth and It’s Chick

COLUMN-Birds of Sri Lanka-

Migratory Birds That Visit Sri Lanka

水辺に集まるオオアジサシ Great Crested-Tern

Great Crested-terns gathering at the waterside

From November to March, you can see a large number of migratory birds. They migrate from northern Eurasia across to Central Asia, through the Indus River system and the Indian subcontinent, to finally reach Sri Lanka for the winter. There are also migratory birds that breed in India and fly down to Sri Lanka to overwinter. The shorebirds like sandpipers and plovers can be seen in Mannar in the northwest and Bundala and Kumana National Parks in the southeast. Kashmir Flycatcher, Indian Pitta, Paradise Flycatcher (a portion of them breed in Sri Lanka), and Indian Blue Robin from India are also popular amongst international birders. Since you can see the unique resident birds, plus all the migratory ones, the total number of species you may see in one trip increases! Winter in Sri Lanka is said to be the best season for birding!

アカモズ Brown Shrike

Brown Shrike

インドヤイロチョウ Indian Pitta

Indian Pitta

Forest Wagtail

ハリオハチクイ Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

カワリサンコウチョウ Asian Paradise Flycatchers

Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Bird Watching Spots in Sri Lanka

Bird Watching Spots
in Sri Lanka

Highly influenced by the monsoon rains, Sri Lanka is quite blessed. From the rain-fed forested areas to the dry coastal areas, you can expect to see wild birds every where on the island. Here are some of the most popular birding spots.

#01Sinharaja Forest

This is the best place to go to see the endemic birds of Sri Lanka. Out of the 33 species, you might see 21 endemic species here. Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the National Parks were preserved well as hotspots for biodiversity with endemic species of trees, insects, mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. You can encounter wild birds not only in the Parks, but in the surrounding forests and gardens in the surrounding houses as well. Some of the species you might see include: Ceylon's Spurfowl, Serendib Scops Owl, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Green-billed Coucal, Sri Lanka Drongo, Orange-billed Babbler, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie and just to name a few. There are times when you will see mixed feeding flocks all at once. It is not endemic, but you may also have a good chance to see Sri Lanka Frogmouth as well. With convenient access from Colombo, you may need your rain gear and gear for protection from leeches, but we highly recommend this Forest.


The dense Sinharaja Rainforest

セアカコガネゲラ Crimson-backed Flameback

Crimson-backed Flameback

セイロンガマグチヨタカ Sri Lanka Frogmouth

Sri Lanka Frogmouth

スリランカオウチュウ Sri Lanka Crested Drongo

Sri Lanka Crested Drongo

Sri Lanka Blue Magpie

Left top:Malabar trogon/
Left bottom:Banded crake
Right:Square-tailed bulbul

#02Horton Plains National Park

At an altitude of 2,100- 2,300m (6890- 7546 ft) this National Park is made up of cloud forests and grasslands. The rich biodiversity made it a unique feature and it was registered in 1988 as a World Natural Heritage Site. In the early morning we will start at the foot of the Mountain Nuwara Eliya and drive for about an hour to get to the top. Along the way, there are some stops, for a chance to see the rare endemic Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush. Here, 21 of the endemic birds might be seen, include examples such as: Sri Lanka White-eye, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, Yellow-eared Bulbul, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, and the Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush.

The Horton Plains National Park

The Horton Plains National Park covered in Cloud Forest

カオムラサキラングール Purple-faced leaf Monkey

Purple-faced leaf Monkey

キミミヒヨドリ Yellow-eared Bulbul

Yellow-eared Bulbul

インドツバメ Hill Swallow

Hill Swallow

クロノビタキ Pied Bushchat

Pied Bushchat

インドクロウタドリ Indian Blackbird

Indian Blackbird

セイロンメジロ Sri Lanka White-eye

Sri Lanka White-eye

セイロンヒタキ Dull-blue Flycatcher

Dull-blue Flycatcher

#03Bundala National Park

In 1991, it was Sri Lanka’s first National Park designated as a Ramsar Convention Wetland. The dry zone parks are dotted with shrubs, bordered by several lagoons and it serves as a valuable stopover point for waterfowl that come for the winter months. Greater Flamingos migrate from the Great Rann of the Kutch wetlands in Gujarat (India). Many other water birds can be seen in the area Salt Fields, like the sandpipers and plovers which come from the Arctic and northern Eurasia. In Sri Lanka the vagrant migratory bird, the Bay-baked Shrike, can also be observed.

Sri Lanka Elephant

Cormorants and Terns seen foraging in lush lagoons.

Little Stint

Small Pratincole

Caspian Tern

#04Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park was created to protect the wildlife and serve as the reservoir catchment area, created as a result of the construction of the reservoir on the Walawe River. It consists of grasslands, shrubs and large water bodies, and it is a very important habitat for Sri Lankan elephants. Here you can observe many endemic species such as the Sri Lankan Hornbill, Brown-capped Babbler, and Red-faced Malkoha. The open grasslands might provide opportunities to see raptors such as Changeable Hawk Eagles, Crested Serpent Eagles, White-bellied Sea Eagles, and Grey-headed Fish Eagles. The Park is also known for sightings of the Barred Buttonquail.

ri Lanka Elephant

Malabar-pied Hornbill

Changeable Hawk Eagle

White-bellied Sea Eagle

Crested serpent eagle

#05Forests and National Parks around Sigiriya

Sigiriya is the largest tourist destination of Sri Lanka, and you can see many birds just in the immediate premises of the hotels, ruins and in the surrounding natural areas. In the morning, if you take a walk around the hotel grounds, before going to Sigiriya Rock, you might see various pigeon species of Sri Lanka such as the Green Imperial Pigeon and the Sri Lanka Green Pigeons. Then near the water, you may have a chance to see the Common Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, and the Pheasant-tailed Jacana. Close to Sigiriya, are Minneriya National Park and Kaudulla National Park, where you can observe many waterside birds, as well as raptors like the Grey-headed Fish Eagle, and the Crested Serpent Eagle.

Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill

Common Kingfisher

Brown-headed Barbet

・Minneriya National Park

Close to Sigiriya, this national park is visited by many tourists on safari to observe the Sri Lankan wild elephants. Elephant gatherings of hundreds of elephants can be seen in the summer. The area contains large attractive reservoirs built by ancient dynasties, which created lush grasslands that are used by the wildlife. You can enjoy birding to see both resident and migratory birds in the forests and around the water.

A herd of elephants in Minneriya National Park

ミドリハチクイ Green Bee-eater

Green Bee-eater

インドトキコウ Painted Stork

Left Top:Painted Stork /
Left Bottom:Grey-headed Fish Eagle
Right:Asian Paradise Flycatcher

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