Grey headed canary flycatcher
The beautiful island of Sri Lanka boasts palm-fringed beaches and mystical mountains, traversed by gurgling rivers and dense jungles; and is famous for its wildlife, with indigenous elephants, leopards, and bears roaming the national parks, Blue Whales, Sperm Whales and dolphins swimming the seas and diverse avifauna in the trees and skies.
With over 450 endemic and migrant bird species, Sri Lanka is a mesmerizing destination for bird watching. There are several locations island-wide known to be fabulous places to discover Sri Lanka’s avifauna. One is the remote area of Anawilundawa Wetlands, a bird sanctuary which well deserves shining a close light on.
Anawilundawa Wetland Bird Sanctuary is a national park located in the northwestern part of the island, about 100 km away from the bustling capital Colombo. The area stretches over 1,397 hectares and is well-known amongst bird lovers.
What makes the area an excellent locale for birds to breed and overwinter, is the three totally different eco-systems that converge there. Brackish water wetlands with salty marshland and water gardens are complemented by a freshwater system of man-made tanks and canals, built in the 12th century. The adjoining costal area with its sand dunes and beaches is the third eco-system creating the bird paradise.
Anawiludawa is home to more than 150 different types of birds. The domestic species, of course, are in the sanctuary all around the year. To observe the migratory birds, October to April is the best time to visit. If you are lucky you may see the Ibis, the Cormorant, the Egret, the Stalk, the Purple Swamp Hen and the Pheasant Tailed -Jacana nesting!
Apart from our feathered friends, you will certainly come across some mammals, too. The cheeky Toque Monkeys are often scrambling around, and the Indian Otter, the Rusty Spotted Cat and the Fishing Cat are residents as well. Even five endangered types of the shy nocturnal Slender Loris are indigenous to the region.
Making Anawilundawa even lovelier are the 74 species of butterflies flitting and flying around, adding beautiful splashes of color.
Does staying in an eco-lodge and embracing the small wonders of Sri Lanka’s diverse nature sound like you? Then a visit to Anawiludawa Wetland Bird Sanctuary will definitely be a hit. Don’t expect to find fancy restaurants, cool bars or rowdy parties, but if you’re seeking an idyllic and tranquil spot, it’s a brilliant place to be for bird and nature lovers seeking to get off the beaten path.