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THE SPLENDOURS OF SERENDIB (Sri Lanka: july/august 2009) (1 Viewer)

Steve G

Some of the cultural sights:


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Steve G


Indian Flying Fox
Black-naped Hare
Palm Squirrel
Layard's Squirrel
Giant Squirrel (Highland & Lowland races)
Toque Macaque (Highland & Lowland races)
Hanuman Langur
Purple-faced Leaf Monkey (Southern race, Bear Monkey, Northern race)
Spotted Deer
Wild Boar
Water Buffalo
Asian Elephant
Sloth Bear
Golden Jackal
Grey Mongoose
Ruddy Mongoose
Brown Mongoose


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Steve G

Bird list to follow soon!


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Steve G


Little Grebe (Nuwara Eliya Lake)
Spot-bellied Pelican (various wetlands)
Indian Cormorant (various wetlands)
Little Cormorant (various wetlands)
Oriental Darter (various wetlands)
Grey Heron (various wetlands)
Purple Heron (Tissa Tank)
Striated Heron (Kandalama Tank)
Black-crowned Night Heron (Tissa Tank, Kandalama Tank)
Little Egret (various wetlands)
Intermediate Egret (Tissa Tank, Kandalama Tank)
Cattle Egret (widespread)
Great White Egret (various wetlands)
Indian Pond Heron (various wetlands)
Painted Stork (various wetlands)
Asian Openbill (various wetlands)
Woolly-necked Stork (various wetlands)
Lesser Adjutant (various wetlands)
Eurasian Spoonbill (various wetlands)
Black-headed Ibis (various wetlands)
Lesser Whistling Duck (Tissa Tank, Kandalama Tank)
Oriental Honey-buzzard (Sinharaja NP)
Brahminy Kite (widespread around wetlands)
Shikra (Yala NP, Hunas Falls Hotel, Sigiriya)
Black-shouldered Kite (Udawalawe NP, Yala NP, Minneriya NP)
Crested Serpent Eagle (Udawalawe NP, Yala NP, Minneriya NP, Sigiriya)
Black Eagle (Hunas Falls)
Changeable Hawk Eagle (Sinharaja NP, Udawalawe NP, Yala NP, Minneriya NP)
White-bellied Fish Eagle (Udawalawe NP, Yala NP, Minneriya NP, Kandalama)
Grey-headed Fish Eagle (Udawalawe NP, Yala NP, Minneriya NP)
Shaheen (Sigiriya Rock)
Indian Peafowl (widespread)
(*Sri Lankan Spurfowl -heard only, Sinharaja NP)
*Sri Lankan Junglefowl (Sinharaja NP, Minneriya NP)
Barred Buttonquail (Udawalawe NP)
White-breasted Waterhen (various wetlands)
Purple Swamphen (Tissa Tank)
Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Tissa Tank)
Black-winged Stilt (various wetlands)
Great Thick-knee (Yala NP)
Yellow-wattled Lapwing (Yala NP)
Red-wattled Lapwing (various wetlands)
Little Ringed Plover (Minneriya NP)
Kentish Plover (Minneriya NP)
Mongolian Plover (Minneriya NP)
Common Sandpiper (Yala NP, Minneriya NP)
Green Sandpiper (Minneriya NP)
Wood Sandpiper (Minneriya NP)
Marsh Sandpiper (Minneriya NP)
little Stint (Minneriya NP)
Curlew Sandpiper (Minneriya NP)
Gull-billed Tern (Yala NP)
Whiskered Tern (Kandalama Tank)
*Sri Lankan Wood Pigeon (Sinharaja NP, Hunas Falls Hotel)
Spotted Dove (widespread)
Emerald Dove (Sinharaja NP, Hunas Falls)
Orange-breasted Green Pigeon (Udawalawe NP, Yala NP)
~Sri Lankan Green =Pompadour Green Pigeon (Sinharaja NP, Tissa)
Green Imperial Pigeon (Sinharaja NP, Tissa, Udawalawe NP)
*Sri Lankan Hanging Parrot (Sinharaja NP, Hunas Falls Hotel)
*Layard's Parakeet (Sinharaja NP, Hunas Falls Hotel)
Rose-ringed Parakeet (widespread)
*Red-faced Malkoha (Sinharaja NP)
Blue-faced Malkoha (Udawalawe NP, Minneriya NP, Sigiriya, Amaya Lake Hotel)
Sirkeer Malkoha (Yala NP)
Asian Koel (widespread)
Common Hawk Cuckoo (one on the road from Horton Plains)
*Green-billed Coucal (Sinharaja NP)
Greater Coucal (widspread)
Collared Scops Owl (near Tissa)
*(Serendip Scops Owl -heard only; Sinharaja NP)
*Chestnut-backed Owlet (Puhu Aramba, near Hunas Falls)
Spot-bellied Eagle Owl (Blue Magpie Lodge near Sinharaja)
Brown Fish Owl (eventually seen at the Sigiriya Rock Moat)
Barn Owl (Polonnaruwa)
Sri Lankan Frogmouth (Sinharaja NP)
Indian Nightjar (good views at the Hibiscus Gardens Hotel near Tissa)
Jerdon's Nightjar (road from Minneriya to Sigiriya)
Indian Swiftlet (on the ascent to Nuwara Eliya)
Asian Palm Swift (Yala NP, Amaya Lake)
Little Swift (Yala NP, Sigiriya Rock)
Crested Treeswift (Udawalawe NP, Yala NP)
Malabar Trogon (Sinharaja NP)
Stork-billed Kingfisher (Udawalawe NP, Yala NP, Minneriya)
White-throated Kingfisher (widespread)
Eurasian Kingfisher (various wetlands)
Pied Kingfisher (Yala NP)
Little Green Bee-eater (widespread)
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Minneriya NP)
Indian Roller (a few on powerlines in the north, Mineriya NP)
Hoopoe (widespread in the lowland NPs)
Malabar Pied Hornbill (Udawalawe NP, Yala NP)
*Sri Lankan Grey Hornbill (Sinharaja, Minneriya, Amaya Lake)
*Yellow-fronted Barbet (Sinharaja NP, Hunas Falls Hotel)
~Ceylon Small Barbet=Crimson-fronted(Amaya Lake,Sigiriya)
Coppersmith Barbet (widespread in dry zone)
Brown-headed Barbet (widespread in dry zone)
Lesser Yellownape (Sinharaja NP, Horton Plains NP)
~Crimson-backed Woodpeceker=Great Flameback(Sinharaja)
Black-rumped Flameback (Sri Lankan red-backed race @ Tissa & Kandy)

* -denotes endemics

~ -proposed endemics, not universally accepted as separate species by all authorities.


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Senior Member
This has to be the best Trip Report yet on BF. You've missed your true vocation, Steve ;)

Thanks for taking the time to share so much detail :t:


Leading a life of quiet desperation
Thanks for a tremendous trip report. I've always wanted to visit Sri Lanka-now that I see the wildlife is so fantastic I'd like to go even more.........

Steve G

Trevor, thanks for your encouragement.

Mark, thanks for your supportive comments. The wildlife in Sri Lanka is fantastic -and it's everywhere! The island really is worth a visit -we found it ideal for a family holiday.


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Steve G


Rufous-winged Lark (Udawalawe NP, Yala NP)
Oriental Skylark (Udawalawe NP, Minneriya NP)
Paddyfield Pipit (widespread -lowlands & uplands)
~Sri Lankan Swallow=hypererythra race of Red-rumped (widespread)
Hill Swallow (Hunas Falls)
~Ceylon Woodshrike=Common Woodshrike (Yala NP, Tissa Tank, Sigiriya)
Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike (Tissa Tank woodlands)
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike (Hakgala Botanical Gardens, Hunas Falls Hotel)
Ashy Woodswallow (seen by the Colombo-Sinharaja road)
Small Minivet (Hibiscus Hotel near Tissa, Hunas Falls Hotel)
Flame Minivet (Sinharaja NP,Tissa Tank woodlands, Horton Plains,Amaya Lake)
Golden-fronted Leafbird (Sinharaja NP)
Jerdon's Leafbird (Tissa,Hunas Falls Hotel, Amaya Lake Hotel)
Common Iora (Tissa, Amaya Lake Hotel)
Black-hooded Oriole (Tissa, Hunas Falls Hotel, Amaya Lake Hotel)
Red-vented Bulbul (Widespread)
Black Bulbul (Sinharaja NP)
White-browed Bulbul (Sinharaja NP, Yala NP, Amaya Lake Hotel)
Yellow-browed Bulbul (Sinharaja NP, Amaya Lake Hotel)
~Black-capped Bulbul =Black-headed Yellow Bulbul (Sinharaja NP, Polonnaruwa)
*Yellow-eared Bulbul (Horton Plains NP)
White-rumped Shama (Yala NP, Amaya Lake Hotel)
Oriental Magpie Robin (widespread)
Black-backed Robin (widespread)
Pied Bushchat (Horton Plains)
*Sri Lankan Whistling Thrush (near Nuwara Eliya)
*Spot-winged Thrush (Sinharaja NP)
~Sri Lankan Scaly Thrush (Sinharaja NP)
Eurasian Blackbird –Indian race, which is possibly a different species (Horton Plains)
*Brown-capped Babbler (Sinharaja NP, Yala NP)
Dark-fronted Babbler (Sinharaja NP, Yala NP, Amaya Lake Hotel)
Yellow-billed Babbler (widespread)
*Orange-billed Babbler (Sinharaja NP)
~Sri Lankan Scimitar Babbler =Indian Scimitar Babbler (Sinharaja NP, Hunas Falls Hotel)
*Ashy-headed Laughingthrush (Sinharaja NP)
*Sri Lankan Bush-warbler (Horton Plains NP)
Zitting Cisticola (Yala NP, Minneriya NP)
Plain Prinia (Hibiscus Hotel gardens –near Tissa)
Common Tailorbird (widespread)
Black-naped Monarch (Sinharaja NP)
Asian Paradise-flycatcher (Yala NP, Amaya Lake Hotel)
White-browed Fantail (Yala NP, Sigiriya Rock)
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher (Nuwara Eliya, Hakgala Botanical Garden, Horton Plains, Hunas Falls)
*Dull-blue Flycatcher (Nuwara Eliya, Hakgala Botanical Garden, Horton Plains)
Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher ( woodland by an Eco-lodge restaurant on way to Nuwara Eliya, Amaya Lake)
Great Tit (Hakgala Botanical Garden, Horton Plains NP, Hunas Falls Hotel)
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Hakgala Botanical Gardens, Horton Plains)
Pale-billed Flowerpecker (widespread)
Thick-billed Flowerpecker (only seen in grounds of Amaya Lake Hotel)
*White-throated (=Legge’s) Flowerpecker (Sinharaja NP)
Purple Sunbird (only seen at Yala NP)
Loten’s Sunbird (Amaya Lake Hotel)
Purple-rumped Sunbird (widespread)
Oriental White-eye (Hunas Falls Hotel)
*Ceylon White-eye (Horton Plains NP, Hakgala Botanical Gardens)
White-throated Silverbill (Amaya Lake Hotel)
White-rumped Munia (Sinharaja NP)
Black-headed Munia (Yala NP)
Scaly-breasted Munia (Tissa Tank woodland, Amaya Lake Hotel)
Baya Weaver (Tissa Tank woodland)
House Crow (mainly around Colombo and Negombo)
Large-billed Crow (widespread)
*Sri Lankan Blue Magpie (Sinharaja NP)
White-bellied Drongo (widespread)
~Sri Lankan Crested Drongo =subspecies of Greater racket-tailed Drongo (Sinharaja NP)
Greater racket-tailed Drongo (Minneriya NP)
*White-faced Starling (Sinharaja NP)
Common Myna (widespread)
Southern Hill Myna (Hunas Falls)
*Sri Lankan Myna (Sinharaja NP)

* -denotes endemics

~ -proposed endemics, not universally accepted as separate species by all authorities.


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Well-known member
Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures as well as the descriptions of the trip. Hard to believe you had technical difficulties (with the flash), as you caught so many birds and animals so beautifully!


Well-known member
Fantastic trip report! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell your stories, post very useful gen., and excellent images.

Jon Turner

Well-known member
I keep saying I want to go back to places I have already visited, and trip reports like this certainly have me yearning to rediscover the joys of Sri Lanka.

Our trip wasn't a birding, or even a wildlife trip, but we did go to many of the places you mentioned, (except Sinharaja) and I think I ran up a list of about 120 species, all identified (probably dubiously) personally. Tickell's Blue Flycatcher from the swaying back of an elephant was a moment I'll long remember, and Flame Minivet on my way to breakfast was a chance encounter. I seem to remember that I put my back out on the first morning of our fortnight and was therefore pretty slow moving, but it didn't stop me getting up the Sigiriya fortress!

When we were on the coast, I put up the scope to see what was passing by, and way out to sea a constant stream of Shearwaters were on the move - I put them down as Flesh-footed, but at that distance, I really couldn't be sure.

Anyway, many thanks for sharing your experiences, and posting so many stunning images!



ps thanks for the list too!

Dave Williams

Well-known member
Only just caught up with this report Steve. As with previous ones, superbly detailed and illustrated and with some great tips for any potential traveller !
Once again, I can see me setting forth armed with a print off and retracing your footsteps !!!!
cheers and thanks. Dave.


Well-known member
Fantastic trip report Steve. And also very timely as I'm looking into a trip there in March to combine blue whale watching, some diving, a quick stop for the elephants then the leopards at Yala and a bit of birding at Singharaja with Jetwing eco. So your description of Martin's place and Yala safaris was very useful. We're also now considering extending the trip to include a hop over to india to see the Taj and then Bandhavgarh and Kanha for tigers. Probably going to take 3 weeks altogether if I can swing the time off at work.

Just judging by your report, is the driving around yala quite sedate? It can be rather manic in India's parks (often at the expense of seeing much!).

All the best


Earnest lad

Well-known member
Dear Fellow forum members.
Please does anyone know how much a night (single person ) it costs at Martins lodge, sinharaja?
Thank you

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