Endemic Birds of Sri Lanka

The variety of habitats that can be found in Sri Lanka make its biological riches similar to that of an entire sub-continent rather than an Island. The isolation and diversity of ecosystems have led to a high level of endemism with it being recognised by Birdlife International as an EBA (Endemic Bird Area) with 34 species found nowhere else in the word. This tour is all about finding every single endemic birds species whilst simultaneously acquiring an appreciation for this wonderful and welcoming country. You will be greeted at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo by your naturalist guide who will take you directly to your accommodation near the Sinharaja Forest Reserve where you will base yourself for the next two nights. The reserve contains the largest tract of natural rainforest in the whole of Sri Lanka and is a fantastic location for lowland endemics with 28 unique avian species residing here. The mixed species bird flocks that travel through the canopy are some of the largest and longest studied in the world and have been dubbed “The Sinharaja Birdwave”. On the final morning you will take the opportunity to focus on any of the endemic species you are yet to see and after a leisurely breakfast you will head to the famous Yala National Park. The emphasis is now on dry habitat endemics such as Sri Lanka Woodshrike and finding these species will be the main aim of the game drives that you undertake during the day and the following morning. Over 200 species have been recorded within the national park limits including Blue-faced Malkoha, Green Bee-eater, Orange-breasted Green Pigeon and flocks of the charismatic Malabar-pied Hornbill. It is also known to have a large population of mammals with Sri Lankan Leopard sightings being increasingly common. Following a final morning birdwatching in the National Park you will be transferred to Nuwara Eliya in the central highlands, this picturesque montane town is a perfect base for searching for highland endemics. You will spend the next two days exploring the sites that give you best opportunity to see the highland endemics and includes a visit to Horton Plains National Park which at 7000 feet above sea level is the highest National Park in Sri Lanka. Your final stop is the lush Makandawa Forest Reserve, this rainforest reserve is the perfect location for any of the lowland endemics you have yet to encounter. You will have a night here to enjoy before you are transferred back to the airport for your return flight, hopefully having seen all of Sri Lanka’s endemic bird species.

Why we love this trip

  • A global biodiversity hotspot, this island nation has a wealth of wildlife and a large concentration of endemics species of various wildlife.
  • “The Sinharaja Birdwave” provides a great natural spectacle.
  • Yala National Park is renowned for incredible Leopard sightings.
  • Great chance to see Asian Elephants as Sri Lanka has c. 15% of the worlds population in only 3% of their entire range.
  • Realistic chance of seeing all 34 endemic species throughout the duration of your trip
  • The chance to visit a UNESCO world heritage site at Horton Plains National Park.
  • Arguably one of the best and most diverse wildlife watching destinations in the world.


Southern, Sri Lanka.


8-days between June and April.

What to look for

Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Sri Lanka Jungefowl, Red-faced Malkoha, Serendib Scops Owl, Chesnut-backed Owlet, Yellow-eared Bulbul, Spotted-winged Ground Thrush, Sri Lanka Scaly Thrush, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Asian Elephant, Sri Lanka Leopard, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Sloth Bear, Spotted Deer, Rhino-Horned Lizard and many more.

Please contact us for further details.

Reference: ZBT-ESL1, Supplement Codes: AT, F, SPS