Monday, 31 March 2014

Sri Lanka – February 2014

Sri Lanka is now a popular tourist and birding destination, particularly since the end of the civil war with the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) in 2009.  Sri Lanka is also quite a different experience to India, being obviously a lot smaller and less densely populated.  As it’s a relatively easy destination to reach from Australia, Yvonne and I planned a three week trip to explore the island. We flew with Emirates, using Qantas frequent flier points, and the airline is highly recommended.

Initially we were going to do the trip in September but soon realised that the best timing, in order to avoid the monsoon rains, was between November and March, with the peak birding season during January and February. Many of the birds visiting Sri Lanka are northern hemisphere winter migrants and thus birding during summer in Sri Lanka is not as rewarding as the winter months.

In planning the trip I had a look at many birding trip reports for Sri Lanka which all seemed to follow a similar itinerary, usually taking a circular route around the southwest of Sri Lanka. We were keen to visit some of the cultural sites as well, so included Sigiriya for a couple of nights, which has the Rock Fortress, some good wetlands and excellent forests. We also had a night in Kandy in order to visit the very impressive Temple of the Sacred Tooth. I prepared a rough itinerary which incorporated the best birding and cultural sites, allowed some time to relax on the trip and minimised travel distances between sites.

Temple of the Sacred Tooth
I approached five Sri Lankan birding tour companies with my initial itinerary and based on the responses I received, the suggested tour itineraries and the proposed guides, I decided to use Amila Salgado of Birdwing Nature Holidays.  Some of the tour companies have a selection of possible guides, however do not specify a particular guide in their proposals.  I decided to go with Amila as he was enthusiastic, responded very quickly and was proactive in providing alternatives to my proposed itinerary. I also preferred dealing directly with the tour guide when explaining what my trip objectives were. Amila provided a very professional itinerary, has had good feedback from previous clients and has also published a number of scientific papers on Sri Lankan birds.  Ultimately I believe that Amila was an excellent choice and he worked very hard to get the birds we were after and delivered on what he said he would achieve. 
As we were heading north of Kandy, up to Sigiriya, I was thinking of spending some time at Wilpattu National Park which looked interesting and had been visited by a few birders previously. Amila however responded that the Wilpattu had been closed for many years during the civil war and the wildlife had been heavily poached, and as a result was quite timid. Mannar Island was recommended as an alternative to Wilpattu which is excellent for birding and would provide sightings of a number of birds not seen further south. We decided to go along with these recommendations and whilst Mannar Island was pretty basic, it was an excellent area for birding.  

Mannar Island has formed a land bridge with India on at least 17 occasions over the past 500,000 to 700,000 years. Adam’s Bridge (or Rama’s Bridge) as it is known, is evident from satellite images and still links Sri Lanka with India via a shallow reef.

Map of Sri Lanka with the Mannar Island link to India
Overall it was a very successful trip thanks to the excellent planning and bird guiding provided by Amila plus the expert driving and bird spotting skills provided by Athula.  

One of the standouts of the trip was the friendliness of the Sri Lankans.  In addition, the scenery in Sri Lanka was quite stunning, ranging from the wetlands, to the rainforests and the hills.  Sri Lanka is however probably not the best destination to visit for the beaches and national parks, particularly if one is used to the pristine beaches in Australia and the game viewing experiences of Southern Africa.  

Wetlands at Tissa
Whilst Uda Walawa and Bundala National Parks were worth visiting with excellent birding and wildlife viewing, the Yala National Park was quite disappointing. The game viewing vehicles in Yala all drive too fast, follow too closely and keep overtaking, so it’s no wonder the Leopard and Sloth Bear are very difficult to find. It’s also not very pleasant getting covered in dust whilst trying to look for wildlife.
Coastline at Bundala National Park
The weather for the trip was generally hot and humid, except in the higher altitudes, where it was warm and very pleasant. We had some light rain on one morning at Nuwara Eliya and some heavy rain in the late afternoon at Sigiriya.  As a result of the dry weather we didn’t have any issues with leeches and didn’t bother wearing leech socks in the lowland rainforests.

Birding Highlights
As regards birding, the first priority was to see as many of the 33 endemics as possible, then to whittle away at my potential lifer list of 137 for the regular bird species occurring in Sri Lanka.  During the trip Amila and Athula managed to show us all 33 endemics, with all birds being seen well and which was quite remarkable. Overall we saw a total of 264 birds with 112 lifers for the trip. So a very high success rate considering that some of the potential lifers were sea birds which we didn’t target seeing.

The number of endemics ranges from 26 to 33 birds depending on taxonomy, with the IOC currently recognising 33 endemics. The 33 endemics were defined by Rasmussen and Anderton in 2005 as shown on the Ceylon Bird Club website.  In addition, Sri Lanka currently has 68 endemic subspecies, some of which are possible future splits, such as the Sri Lanka Square-tailed Bulbul (spp humii), Indian Blackbird (ssp kinnisii) and Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher (spp jerdoni).

Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher
One of the standout birds was the Sri Lanka Bay Owl, which was found by Athula and can be a very difficult bird to locate. The other highly prized target, the Serendib Scops Owl only recently discovered by Deepal Warakagoda in 2001, was located by Amila in the same area of rainforest on the following day. Both owls are very small and easily overlooked, requiring a lot of hard work by the guides to locate them at their daytime roosts. We managed to get half-decent photos of both owls much to the envy of some other birders we met at Sinharaja.
Sri Lanka Bay Owl (about 27cm high)
Amila is passionate about finding the owls, frogmouths and nightjars and we saw a total of 12 night birds which was excellent. The Spot-bellied Eagle-owl gave us a good run-around and whilst it was heard many times, it was a very difficult bird to see.

Vagrant Birds
In addition we saw two rare vagrants to Sri Lanka, these being the Eyebrowed Thrush and Lesser Whitethroat. The Eyebrowed Thrush was located by Athula in Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya following a tipoff by a birding guide the previous day.

The Lesser Whitethroat was first spotted by Amila in the Uda Walawa National Park and luckily Amila was able to get some fairly decent photos of the bird.

There are three possible Whitethroat species which could occur in Sri Lanka, which are the Hume’s, Desert and Lesser Whitethroat. We both agreed that it couldn’t be a Hume’s Whitethroat (Sylvia althaea), the commonly occurring Whitethroat in Sri Lanka, so it was a debate of whether it was a Desert Whitethroat (Sylvia minula) or Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca). Our researching of various Indian and Sri Lankan field guides, HBW and internet photos had us a bit confused, with me favouring a Lesser Whitethroat and Amila favouring a Desert Whitethroat, although it could have been either bird depending on which illustrations were used. 

Amila then sent the photos to a warbler expert Lars Svensson from Sweden who responded with, “Your bird is a Lesser Whitethroat, Sylvia curruca. I personally do not separate between curruca or minula (not between althaea or margelanica either). The taxonomy is complex but I prefer to see them all as one polytypic species. This Lesser Whitethroat looks most like ssp. blythi, but I cannot safely exclude ssp. halimodendri. In the case of minula and margelanica, these either winter in Pakistan or NW India, or their wintering grounds are poorly known. I think we can exclude them. It is also a little too dark brown above for being a typical minula.”
Trip Report
Saturday: 8th February 2014
Departed Melbourne at 19:00 on the Emirates flight to Singapore. After a short changeover in Singapore, we flew to Sri Lanka on Emirates arriving at 01:40 on Sunday morning. An ETA is necessary for Australian nationals prior to arrival and this was easily obtained through the internet at a cost US$30.

Colombo is a modern airport and we were quickly through customs and collected our luggage.  Our prebooked transport to our accommodation didn’t materialise, so the very helpful help desk made a few phone calls and arranged for alternative transport. We later heard that the driver had fallen asleep in the car park, not surprising given the time we arrived.

Sunday: 9th February
We had booked accommodation at the Airport Villa for two nights (Saturday/Sunday) to give us a chance to get some decent sleep and relax before our birding trip. We had the entire villa to ourselves, which was very spacious, comfortable and had a great swimming pool. The villa had a live-in chef who was available to cook your meals if required. Located in Seeduwa it was conveniently close to the airport, whilst being in a quiet location.

Eastern Garden Lizard
There were wetlands over the fence and this provided some good local birding with a nice range of birds being seen from the patio and pool.  The Greater Coucal and White-breasted Waterhen were garden birds, as were the Yellow-billed Babbler which were often seen together with the Palm Squirrel.  We saw 30 birds during the day including a nice pair of Indian Stone-curlew in an open field and flocks of Rosy Starling flying over in the late afternoon.

Indian Thick-knee or Stone-curlew
Monday: 10th February
After a hot breakfast, we were picked up at 07:30 by Athula who was to be our driver for the next 17 days. Given the very poor driving standards in Sri Lanka it’s advisable to have a local driver. In addition to driving, Athula assisted with bird guiding and was very talented at finding the difficult rainforest birds.

We drove through to Amila’s house in Kaduwela, with a brief stop at a roadside wetland. After meeting up with Amila and having a cup of tea, we were shown the resident pair of Brown Hawk Owl in the gardens. I also handed over the very nice Swarovski Swarovision binoculars to Amila which I had bought in Melbourne the previous week. With the recent swings in US$:A$ exchange rates, it’s a lot cheaper to purchase binoculars in Australia and also get the GST refunded at the airport.
We then drove onto Sisira’s River Lounge in Kithulgala, arriving at 11:30. The lodge is situated in a secluded valley overlooking the Kelani River, with the accommodation also overlooking the river. Whilst basic, the accommodation was quite comfortable and spacious, with an open air shower and bathroom.  One of the first birds seen was the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher between the accommodation and dining area.

Kelani River
After lunch we did a walk through the local farming area which had some good birding. Highlights for the day included Yellow-fronted Barbet, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Green Imperial Pigeon, Brown-backed Needletail, Orange Minivet, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Orange-billed Babbler, Sri Lanka Hanging Parakeet, Red-backed Flameback, Lesser Yellownape and Chestnut-headed Bee-eater.

Yellow-fronted Barbet

Tuesday: 11th February
We started off with some early morning birding around the lodge area with Alexandrine Parakeet, Layard’s Parakeet, Black-capped Bulbul, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Green Warbler, Sri Lanka Swallow and Spot-winged Thrush being seen.

Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill

After breakfast we drove down to another lodge, where we saw the attractive Chestnut-backed Owlet in the adjacent woodland, and then took the local dug-out canoe across the Kelani River. We walked up into the lowland rainforests, with Crimson-backed Flameback being seen along the way. Whilst waiting for the guides to locate some owls, we saw a number of nice birds, such as Jerdon’s Leafbird and Dark-fronted Babbler, and had great views of the stunning Red-faced Malkhoa.

Chestnut-backed Owlet
Amila then came back to let us know that an owl had been located. We scrambled up the steep forest slopes to find Athula with the Sri Lanka Bay Owl, what a magnificent sighting. After taking some photos we headed back to the river. 
Later in the afternoon we did some more birding around Sisira’s River Lounge with Indian Honey Buzzard, Southern Hill Myna and Sri Lanka Junglefowl being seen.

Wednesday: 12th February
We had early morning start with another trip into the Kithulgala rainforests. This time Amila was successful in locating our main target, the Serendib Scops Owl. We managed to get some half-decent photos of the owl and it’s apparent when comparing the photos with the field guide illustration, that the field guide doesn’t show the ear tufts. We were very pleased to see this owl and to have great views, particularly as it’s a recently discovered species and difficult to locate.


Serendib Scops Owl (about 17cm in height)

Whilst we were waiting for Amila and Athula to locate the owl, we found the stunning Sri Lanka Blue Magpie in the trees alongside the stream. 

Sri Lanka Blue Magpie
We birded till lunch time and then headed back to the lodge to clean up, before driving to Sinharaja in the afternoon. Other good birds seen in the morning included Indian Black Eagle, a pair of Malabar Trogon, Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler, Sri Lanka Hill Myna and Black-throated Munia.
The road to Sinharaja deteriorated rapidly as we got closer and was a very unpleasant drive for the last couple of hours. We then had to transfer into a jeep for the last section of road, which is very rocky, arriving at Martin’s Place just before 9pm.

Whilst Martin’s Place is conveniently situated adjacent to the Sinharaja Rainforest, it was the most basic and uncomfortable accommodation that we had for the trip. It’s a choice between travelling the awful last section of road in a jeep every time you want to visit the forest or staying at Martin’s Place. I think that the lesser of two evils is a stay at Martin’s Place, which after all does have great views of the rainforest and great birds around the accommodation.

Thursday: 13th February

In the early morning, we had Sri Lanka Blue Magpie and Spot-winged Thrush visiting the dining area, really quite special to see these birds up close.  Today was an important day to get the balance of the rainforest endemics and we headed off early into the forest.
Stripe-tailed Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis caudolineolatus) - very small tree-snake 
One of the first targets seen was a pair of Sri Lanka Thrush (Scaly Thrush) which can be very difficult to get good views in the gloomy forest floor. We then managed good views of the Green-billed Coucal which is one the most difficult endemics to find.  Walking alongside a river we saw the Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon which can also be difficult to find.

Boulenger's (Sri Lankan) Keelback (Xenochrophis asperrimus) - water snake doing some fishing
The next key endemic was the White-faced Starling which we saw around midday, just when the birding was slowing down. On the walk back to the lodge, Athula located the stunning and very small Sri Lanka Frogmouth.
Sri Lanka Frogmouth (about 23cm in height)
After lunch back at Martin’s Place, I went off with Amila and Athula to find the Sri Lanka Spurfowl, a bird that is very easily spooked and sees you long before you see it. So after a lot of patience, we managed to get excellent views of this stunning bird, much more impressive than shown in the field guide.

Green Forest Lizard
We wrapped up all our key target birds by the end of the day with sightings of Legge’s Flowerpecker, Sri Lanka Small Flowerpecker, Ashy-headed Laughingthrush, Sri Lanka Drongo, Black-naped Monarch and Asian Paradise Flycatcher.
We had planned on staying for three nights at Martin’s Place but as we had seen all our target birds, Amila suggested that we leave a day early and spend some additional time at Uda Walawa, which was a very good suggestion.
Friday: 14th February
After some early morning birding close to the lodge, where we saw Red-faced Malkoha for the third time, we had breakfast and headed off for Uda Walawa.

We had a very pleasant drive to Uda Walawa with some great scenery along the way and added Indian House Sparrow and Black-headed Ibis to our trip list.
The accommodation and meals at The Safari Village in Uda Walawa were excellent and a welcome change from Martin’s "Construction Camp". In addition, they had WiFi available which enabled up to do some research on the challenging Whitethroat species.

Yellow-wattled Lapwing
After lunch, we did some birding alongside the Uda Walawa Reservoir close to the entrance to the national park. This area had some great birding and we saw the first of many Indian Peafowl and Painted Stork, plus Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Indian Scops Owl, Indian Roller, White-browed Fantail, Jerdon’s Bushlark, Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark, Grey-breasted Prinia, Jungle Prinia, Tawny-bellied Babbler and Forest Wagtail.

Indian Scops Owl
We also had great views of the Marshall’s Iora which is similar to the Common Iora but has the distinguishing feature of the extensive white in black tail. Up until fairly recently it was considered that only the Common Iora occurred in Sri Lanka. However, a Common Iora specimen collected from Nilgala, Uva Province was re-identified as a Marshall’s Iora (Aegithina nigrolutea) in 2003 by Wells et al. Prior to this the Marshall’s Iora would have been overlooked among several plumage variations of the Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia multicolor) believed to occur in Sri Lanka, due to a transitional breeding male plumage variation present in the latter species which is very similar to the plumage pattern of the Marshall’s Iora. The first observation of a live specimen was made in 2006 at the Yala East National Park (Kumana National Park) and then another population was found at the border of Lunugamwehera National Park (Ceylon Bird Club).
Saturday: 15th February
In the morning, Yvonne and I did some birding along the river running though the town of Uda Walawa, which is close to the hotel. This area was excellent for birding with close to 50 species seen in the morning. The highlights included two sightings of Ruddy-breasted Crake, Yellow Bittern, Sri Lanka Woodshrike, Forest Wagtail, Indian Robin and Blyth’s Reed-warbler. 
River at Uda Walawa
In the afternoon we took a game viewing jeep into Uda Walawa National Park. Other than lots of Asian Elephant, Water Buffalo, monitors and mongoose, we saw many great birds including Sri Lankan Crested Hawk-eagle, Great Stone-curlew, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Eurasian Hoopoe, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, Marshall’s Iora, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Indian Silverbill and Tricolored Munia.
Sri Lankan Crested Hawk Eagle
The outstanding birds seen were the Sirkeer Malkoha (great spotting by Amila as it flew over the vehicle into a roadside bush), Indian Nightjar at its daytime roost and the Lesser Whitethroat.
Indian Nightjar

Sunday: 16th February
Before breakfast, Yvonne and I visited the local river area again and saw 43 species of birds in just over an hour. The highlights were Yellow Bittern, Indian Pond Heron, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Alexandrine Parakeet, Orange Minivet and Asian Paradise Flycatcher.

After breakfast we drove to Tissamaharama (Tissa) with a short roadside stop at Tanamalwila Wetlands and then a short walk to the entrance of Lunugamwehera National Park. At the latter site we had good views of Indian Pitta, Cinereous Tit and White-rumped Shama.  Pittas are one of my favourite birds so it was nice to have good views of the Indian Pitta.
At midday we checked into the lovely accommodation at the Hibiscus Garden Hotel which was one of the top places we stayed during our trip. The hotel had upmarket accommodation, which was spacious and very comfortable, with nice touches like Bougainvillea flowers on the bed. The gardens were lovely and they had a large swimming pool. The meals and service by the staff were excellent.
 
Hibiscus Garden Hotel
After lunch, we visited the local wetlands of Tissa which were very attractive and filled with birdlife. Highlights were Lesser Whistling Duck, Black Bittern, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Blue-faced Malkoha, White-naped Woodpecker, Small Minivet and Baya Weaver.

Blue-faced Malkoha
Monday: 17th February
Today we had an early morning start and arrived at Bundala National Park before sunrise. Bundala became the first wetland to be declared a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka in 1991. This is an outstanding national park with plenty of wetlands and we had seen 95 species of birds by the time we left at 10am. 

Black Bittern
Highlights included Black-necked Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Eurasian Black-crowned Night-heron, Small Pratincole, Common Ringed Plover (rare but regular winter migrant), Lesser and Greater Sand Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Watercock, Indian Stone-curlew, Jacobin Cuckoo, Ashy Woodswallow, Grey-headed Wagtail and the Philippine Shrike (ssp lucionensis).

Great Thick-knee or Stone-curlew
After lunch we took a game viewing vehicle to Yala National Park. Whilst we had some good birding, the game viewing was virtually non-existent although the park is reputed to having the highest density of Leopard in the world. The park was far too busy with crazy drivers all vying to get their vehicle in front of the next one. At sunset all the game viewing vehicles leave on mass and it’s a race to get back to Tissa. We were scheduled to have a second visit to the park but we just didn’t want to go through the circus again, so cancelled the second trip.

Green Bee-eater
Highlights of the trip to Yala National Park were Gargeney, Lesser Adjutant, Pin-tailed Snipe, Shahin (Shaheen) Falcon (subspecies of Peregrine Falcon), Tytler’s Swallow (rare subspecies of Barn Swallow) and many Malabar Pied Hornbill.

Malabar Pied Hornbill
Tuesday: 18th February
Birding around the hotel grounds before breakfast had some nice birds including Thick-billed Flowerpecker and Small (Pale-billed) Flowerpecker. After breakfast we visited various wetlands around Tissa and then again in the late afternoon. Whilst the visits to the various lakes was very pleasant we didn’t see any new birds for Sri Lanka.

Tissa Wetlands
In hindsight, it would have been preferable to have had a second visit to Bundala as an alternative to the cancelled trip to Yala National Park.

Sunset over wetlands at Tissa
Wednesday: 19th February
After breakfast, we started our journey northwards, up into the hills, to reach Nuwara Eliya in the late afternoon.

Stripe-necked Mongoose - seen once at Yala NP
We had several stops along the way with the first being at Lunugamwehera National Park where we saw the Jungle Owlet, a difficult bird to locate. At midday we stopped off for lunch at the Grand Ella Motel in Ella, which has good views (on a clear day) down the valley. Whilst having lunch we had nice views of the Indian subspecies of the Oriental Honey Buzzard and Indian subspecies of the Black Eagle soaring up the valley.

Whilst bird watching we were joined by a tour group from India, with one gentleman introducing himself. Turns out that he is a Mechanical Engineer who has a son at RMIT studying for a masters degree in engineering, the same university as my son who is studying Chemical Engineering. During our trip we met many Sri Lankans who had relatives in either Sydney or Melbourne and we were told that Melbourne has about 300,000 Sri Lankan residents. We also met up with a family who had a father living in Melbourne, who had been a boat refugee and had left his family behind.  In fact Kevin Rudd seems to have been very popular in Sri Lanka, probably because he encouraged refugees to come to Australia using boats.   

After lunch we had a very short 20 minute visit to Surrey Bird Sanctuary where we saw Brown Wood Owl and Pied Bush Chat.
On reaching the outskirts of Nuwara Eliya, we stopped at a non-descript roadside farm and saw Alpine Swift, Yellow-eared Bulbul, Sri Lanka White-eye, Sri Lankan Bush Warbler, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Indian Blue Robin and the notoriously difficult Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush.

Yellow-eared Bulbul
We stayed at the Pello Lake Hotel for the next two nights, which was a bit out of town and was very spacious and comfortable, plus had good meals.

Thursday: 20th February
After an early breakfast we headed into Nuwara Eliya to visit Victoria Park arriving there before sunrise at 6:30am. There was light rain which slowed down the birding but we did see two Pied Thrush in the early morning and then the vagrant Eyebrowed Thrush later on, which was very nice. Other good birds included Indian Pitta, Sykes’s Warbler, six Forest Wagtail, Grey Wagtail and Indian Blue Robin. We battled to find the Kashmir Flycatcher and Amila took us to another one of his hotspots, one he hasn’t used for a while, and we had good views of the Kashmir Flycatcher.

Athula looking pleased with himself after finding the Eyebrowed Thrush
The weather cleared up in the afternoon and we were left to our own devices, whilst Amila and Athula went back to Victoria Park for some birding and shopping in town. Would have been nice to have been invited but a second visit to Victoria Park wasn’t on the itinerary. Going out for a western five course meal that night was on the itinerary but somehow that got forgotten?

I spent the afternoon visiting some swamps along the shores of Gregory Lake which was quite pleasant, with some close-up views of Pin-tailed Snipe, a pair of Pied Bush Chat and a female Kashmir Flycatcher.

Friday: 21st February
After a short visit to the swamps along Gregory Lake, we went back to the Whistling Thrush site and had great views of the bird, which was seen partially in sunlight. We also found an Indian Blackbird (heard by Amila and spotted by Athula) and a Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher at the site which was excellent.

As we were leaving the site we saw an eagle fly over the ridge, close to where we were standing, which looked very similar to an Osprey in colour and markings. I thought it was a juvenile Rufous-bellied Hawk-eagle, whilst Amila who managed to get some photos, thought it was a Legge’s (Mountain) Hawk-eagle. Both birds are similar in appearance and after much debate it was agreed that it was a juvenile Rufous-bellied Hawk-eagle, although I would have preferred it to have been the Legge’s Hawk-eagle as we didn’t see one on our trip.
We left the site at 10am and drove northwards to Kandy with a short stop at Glenloch Tea Factory to see the resident Hill Swallow, have a cup of tea and buy some of tea, one of the few places that had a decent range of tea on sale.

We drove into Kandy, going past the Royal Botanical Gardens which we were supposed to visit but didn’t?  Amila did however take us to a good jewellery store and we managed to purchase a nice Topaz necklace for a reasonable price.

View of Kandy from restaurant at lunchtime - away from the busy town
After lunch in Kandy we checked into the very nice Nature Walk Inn, which is in a quieter part of Kandy and overlooks some good forest. From the balcony of the hotel, Amila spotted the Crimson-fronted Barbet which was our last Sri Lankan endemic. I also saw a beautiful adult male Rufous-bellied Hawk-eagle flying over the valley.

Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic

In the evening we went to see some of the local Sri Lankan dancers, which were impressive, some firewalking and then the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic. The temple was very busy as hordes of worshippers, locals and tourists crammed in to see the tooth relic. The temple was very impressive and worth visiting, although probably a lot better when it’s quieter.


Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic
Saturday: 22nd February
Before breakfast, Amila and I did some birding along the road from our hotel, which was quite productive. We found a Common Hawk-cuckoo which was heard initially, then seen flying across the valley several times, before it was seen perching in a tree. We also saw four Crimson-backed Flameback feeding on berries of a fruiting tree which seemed to be strange behaviour for a woodpecker.   

After breakfast we left in the nice clean car (thanks Athula) for Sigiriya, which was to be one of the best places we visited on our trip. We stopped at a Batik factory and Yvonne bought a dress and I was shown how to wear a sarong, which was handy as I bought one in Negombo.
We checked into Hotel Sigiriya before lunch which was the best hotel of our trip with magnificent views of the Sigiriya Rock, huge swimming pool, nice wooded gardens, excellent meals with a huge range of western and local dishes, very friendly staff and good comfortable accommodation with the best bed and pillows of the trip. The hotels in Sri Lanka seem to be very flexible with their check-in and check-out times and we often checked in very early, which is not possible elsewhere in western countries.
Sigiriya Rock
After lunch I found the attractive Orange-headed Thrush in the hotel gardens, then headed off with Amila and Athula for some afternoon birding. Well I thought it was just an afternoon of birding but we ended up getting back after 8pm after some exciting nocturnal birding. It’s just as well we put in the effort on the first night as we had heavy rain on the second day, in the late afternoon, which stopped birding.

Highlights of the afternoon and evening birding were Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Oriental Scops-owl, Spot-bellied Eagle-owl, Sri Lanka Frogmouth (on nest), and Jerdon’s Nightjar. The Spot-bellied Eagle-owl was particularly difficult to see and we could hear it as it moved around the forest. I saw it glide into a tree as a silhouette against the stars but then we couldn’t find it even though we knew more or less where it landed. We eventually did see it fly off from another tree, as it flew through the torch light and that was the best view we managed to get.  The Oriental Scops-owl was heard calling from a number of locations but it also gave us the run-around until we finally managed to get good views of the bird.  

Sunday: 23rd February
We had planned on visiting the Sigiriya Rock in the morning but on arrival we found it to be very busy with hordes of tourists and also expensive, so decided to skip it. Instead we took the pleasant walk back to the hotel doing some birding along the way.  By this stage of the trip it was getting difficult to see new birds but we did see Crested Serpent Eagle perched, Crested Tree Swift on its nest and Indian Pitta.

Rose-ringed Parakeet

In the afternoon we did some more birding along the wetlands and around Sigiriya Rock, with highlights being Square-tailed Drongo-cuckoo, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike on nest and a Wooly-necked Stork flying past, spotted by Yvonne. It then started to rain quite hard and that put an end to birding for the day.

Monday: 24th February
After breakfast we drove to Mannar Island with a 15 minute stop at Giant’s Tank along the way. We kept a look out for Brown Fish Owl on the way but didn’t have any luck. At around Cheddikulam we saw our first Black Drongo. At Giant’s Tank it was quite hot and windy, which made viewing unpleasant, however we did see our first Eurasian Coot and Long-tailed Shrike of the trip.

Twenty minutes later we stopped at the Causeway leading into Mannar for some birding. Here we had quite a few waders and seabirds with the highlights being Western Reef Heron, Brown-headed Gull and Heuglin’s Gull.
We then checked into our accommodation in Mannar, which was clean and comfortable, although fairly basic. Mannar is not your usual tourist destination and doesn’t have much choice as far as accommodation goes. The choice of eating places is even more limited, as we found out at lunchtime, and I wasn’t tempted to try the food for lunch or dinner.

In the afternoon we visited some wetlands, where it was hot and windy, not the best conditions for birding. We then drove through to the north western part of Mannar Island and saw a few birds but couldn’t locate any Crab Plover. After that we revisited the wetlands and then the Causeway area. Highlights of the afternoon’s birding were the impressive Pallas’s Gull, a huge flock of Greater Flamingo (although a long way off), Northern Shoveller, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Eurasian Teal, Grey Francolin, Black Kite, Kentish Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Great Knot and about 60 Painted Stork.
We ended up with just under 90 species of birds for the day with the bulk of the birds being seen on Mannar Island.

That evening Amila suggested that we leave Mannar Island a day early and go through to Negombo, as we had seen most of the target birds that we were likely to see. I had wanted to see Spot-billed Duck but we didn’t have any luck with that. I wasn’t keen on going to Negombo as we had four nights there after our birding trip.  So we agreed to drive down to Chilaw with stops along the way.
Tuesday: 25th February
We did some early morning birding on the Causeway where we saw some Broad-billed Sandpiper in amongst a nice range of birds. At the Mannar wetlands we had some nice views of Pallas’s Gull on the ground then flying over. At Giant’s Tank we had a single Cotton Pygmy Goose and a couple of Indian Reed Warbler.  We stopped to look for Brown Fish Owl on the way but didn’t have any luck. At Puttalam Saltworks we saw some more Broad-billed Sandpiper amongst hundreds of Common Redshank, Lesser Sand Plover, Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint.

We then visited Anawilundawa Wetlands, which is a Ramsar site, but the wetlands had dried up. We did see another Wooly-necked Stork during our 15 minute visit.
We had a late lunch at a rundown hotel in Chilaw and decided to spend the night there. In the late afternoon, I went with Amila and Athula to the Chilaw Sand Spit where we saw over 100 Brown-headed Gull flying past, possibly on migration northwards. We also saw close to 30 Sanderling which were to be our last birds for Sri Lanka.

Wednesday: 26th February
Amila and I went back to the Chilaw Sand Spit for some early morning birding. The conditions were very pleasant, with good light for photography, calm seas and a very light breeze.

After breakfast we drove down to Negombo and were dropped off around midday at Lodge 19, which was to be our accommodation for the next four nights. The accommodation, the freshly prepared meals and the hosts were all fantastic. Amila and Athula couldn’t believe the size of the room we were in, which was a very pleasant place to relax over four days with views over the garden and away from the crazy traffic in Negombo.

Painting at Lodge 19
 
Thursday to Sunday: 27th February to 2nd March
There wasn’t much to do in Negombo, so we did some shopping, visited the various jewellery stores, walked along the beach, visited the smelly fish market, walked along the Dutch canal and saw a few Dutch ruins. Negombo is fine for a short stopover but I wouldn’t recommend it as a tourist destination.

Fishing boat off Negombo Beach
We left before lunch on Sunday to catch our flight through to Singapore and then onto Melbourne, arriving home on Monday morning.

Painting at Lodge 19

Overall it was a very successful trip, thanks to Amila and Athula, going pretty much to plan and with no major upsets.

Birding Resources
eGuide to Birds of the Indian Subcontinent, iPhone App

Birds of Sri Lanka, Helm Field Guides by Warakagoda, Inskipp, Inskipp & Grimmett (2012)
eBird, of limited use given the lack of bird lists submitted for Sri Lanka

Mammals
Elephants (Elephantidae)

Asian Elephant [sp] (Elephas maximus)

Old World Monkeys (Cercopithecidae)

Toque Macaque [sp] (Macaca sinica)

Tufted Grey Langur (Semnopithecus priam)

Purple-faced Langur [sp] (Trachypithecus vetulus)

Squirrels & Marmots (Sciuridae)

Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel [macroura] (Ratufa macroura macroura)

Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel [dandolena] (Ratufa macroura dandolena)

Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel [melanochra] (Ratufa macroura melanochra)

Indian Palm Squirrel [sp] (Funambulus palmarum)

Rabbits and Hares (Leporidae)

Indian Hare [sp] (Lepus nigricollis)

Old World Fruit-Bats (Pteropodidae)

Indian Flying Fox [sp] (Pteropus giganteus)

Mongooses (Herpestidae)

Indian Grey Mongoose [sp] (Herpestes edwardsi)

Ruddy Mongoose [sp] (Herpestes smithii)

Stripe-necked Mongoose [sp] (Herpestes vitticollis)

Dogs (Canidae)

Golden Jackal [sp] (Canis aureus)

Pigs (Suidae)

Wild Boar [sp] (Sus scrofa)

Chevrotains (Tragulidae)

Indian Spotted Chevrotain (Moschiola meminna)

Deer (Cervidae)

Sambar [sp] (Rusa unicolor)

Cattle & Spiral-horned Antelope (Bovidae)

Water Buffalo [sp] (Bubalus bubalis)


Birds
For the trip we saw a total of 264 birds of which 112 were lifers.
The list of birds according to the IOC taxonomy, with subspecies identified where possible, was as follows:

ANSERIFORMES

Ducks, Geese & swans (Anatidae)

Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica)

Cotton Pygmy Goose [coromandelianus] (Nettapus coromandelianus coromandelianus)

Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

Garganey (Anas querquedula)

Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca crecca)

GALLIFORMES

Pheasants, Fowl & Allies (Phasianidae)

Grey Francolin [pondicerianus] (Francolinus pondicerianus pondicerianus)

Sri Lanka Spurfowl (Galloperdix bicalcarata)

Sri Lanka Junglefowl (Gallus lafayettii)

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)

Podicipediformes

Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Little Grebe [albescens] (Tachybaptus ruficollis albescens)

PHOENICOPTERIFORMES

Flamingos (Phoenicopteridae)

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Ciconiiformes

Storks (Ciconiidae)

Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)

Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans)

Woolly-necked Stork [episcopus] (Ciconia episcopus episcopus)

Black-necked Stork [asiaticus] (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus asiaticus)

Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus)

PELECANIFORMES

Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

Eurasian Spoonbill [leucorodia] (Platalea leucorodia leucorodia)

Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)

Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)

Black Bittern [flavicollis] (Dupetor flavicollis flavicollis)

Eurasian Black-crowned Night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax nycticorax)

Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)

Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus)

Grey Heron [cinerea] (Ardea cinerea cinerea)

Purple Heron [manilensis] (Ardea purpurea manilensis)

Eastern Great Egret (Ardea alba modesta)

Intermediate Egret [intermedia] (Egretta intermedia intermedia)

Little Egret [garzetta] (Egretta garzetta garzetta)

Indian Reef Heron (Egretta gularis schistacea)

Pelicans (Pelecanidae)

Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis)

Suliformes

Cormorants, Shags (Phalacrocoracidae)

Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger)

Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)

Continental Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis)

Anhingas, Darters (Anhingidae)

Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)

ACCIPITRIFORMES

Kites, Hawks & Eagles (Accipitridae)

Black-winged Kite [vociferus] (Elanus caeruleus vociferus)

Indian Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus ruficollis)

Crested Serpent Eagle [spilogaster] (Spilornis cheela spilogaster)

Sri Lankan Crested Hawk-eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus ceylanensis)

Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle [kienerii] (Lophotriorchis kienerii kienerii)

Indian Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malaiensis perniger)

Shikra [badius] (Accipiter badius badius)

Besra [besra] (Accipiter virgatus besra)

Black Kite [govinda] (Milvus migrans govinda)

Brahminy Kite [indus] (Haliastur indus indus)

White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

Grey-headed Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus ichthyaetus)

GRUIFORMES

Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)

White-breasted Waterhen [phoenicurus] (Amaurornis phoenicurus phoenicurus)

Ruddy-breasted Crake [zeylonica] (Porzana fusca zeylonica)

Watercock (Gallicrex cinerea)

Indian Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio poliocephalus)

Common Moorhen [chloropus] (Gallinula chloropus chloropus)

Eurasian Coot [atra] (Fulica atra atra)

CHARADRIIFORMES

Stone-curlews, Thick-Knees (Burhinidae)

Indian Stone-curlew (Burhinus indicus)

Great Stone-curlew (Esacus recurvirostris)

Stilts, Avocets (Recurvirostridae)

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Plovers (Charadriidae)

Yellow-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus malarbaricus)

Red-wattled Lapwing [lankae] (Vanellus indicus lankae)

Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)

Grey Plover [squatarola] (Pluvialis squatarola squatarola)

Tundra Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula tundrae)

Northern Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius curonicus)

Indian Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius jerdoni)

Kentish Plover [sp] (Charadrius alexandrinus)

Indian Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus seebohmi)

Tibetan Sand Plover [atrifrons] (Charadrius mongolus atrifrons)

Greater Sand Plover [leschenaultii] (Charadrius leschenaultii leschenaultii)

Jacanas (Jacanidae)

Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus)

Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)

Pin-tailed Snipe (Gallinago stenura)

Siberian Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa melanuroides)

Bar-tailed Godwit [taymyrensis] (Limosa lapponica taymyrensis)

Whimbrel [sp] (Numenius phaeopus)

European Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus phaeopus)

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata orientalis)

Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)

Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)

Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

Ruddy Turnstone [interpres] (Arenaria interpres interpres)

Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris)

Sanderling [alba] (Calidris alba alba)

Little Stint (Calidris minuta)

Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)

Western Broad-billed Sandpiper (Limicola falcinellus falcinellus)

Coursers, Pratincoles (Glareolidae)

Small Pratincole (Glareola lactea)

Gulls, Terns & Skimmers (Laridae)

Brown-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus)

Pallas's Gull (Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus)

Heuglin's Gull (Larus fuscus heuglini)

Gull-billed Tern [nilotica] (Gelochelidon nilotica nilotica)

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)

Greater Crested Tern [sp] (Thalasseus bergii)

Lesser Crested Tern [bengalensis] (Thalasseus bengalensis bengalensis)

Little Tern [sinensis] (Sternula albifrons sinensis)

Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)

Whiskered Tern [sp] (Chlidonias hybrida)

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

COLUMBIFORMES

Doves and Pigeons (Columbidae)

Rock Dove [gymnocycla] (Columba livia gymnocycla)

Feral Pigeon (Columba livia ''feral'')

Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon (Columba torringtoniae)

Eurasian Collared Dove [decaocto] (Streptopelia decaocto decaocto)

Spotted Dove [sp] (Spilopelia chinensis)

Spotted Dove [suratensis] (Spilopelia chinensis suratensis)

Common Emerald Dove [robinsoni] (Chalcophaps indica robinsoni)

Orange-breasted Green Pigeon [leggei] (Treron bicinctus leggei)

Sri Lanka Green Pigeon (Treron pompadora)

Green Imperial Pigeon [pusilla] (Ducula aenea pusilla)

CUCULIFORMES

Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Green-billed Coucal (Centropus chlororhynchos)

Southern Coucal (Centropus sinensis parroti)

Sirkeer Malkoha [leschenaultii] (Taccocua leschenaultii leschenaultii)

Red-faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus)

Blue-faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus viridirostris)

Jacobin Cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus jacobinus)

Asian Koel [scolopaceus] (Eudynamys scolopaceus scolopaceus)

Grey-bellied Cuckoo (Cacomantis passerinus)

Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo [stewarti] (Surniculus lugubris stewarti)

Common Hawk-cuckoo [ciceliae] (Hierococcyx varius ciceliae)

STRIGIFORMES

Barn Owls (Tytonidae)

Sri Lanka Bay Owl [assimilis] (Phodilus assimilis assimilis)

Owls (Strigidae)

Serendib Scops Owl (Otus thilohoffmanni)

Indian Scops Owl [bakkamoena] (Otus bakkamoena bakkamoena)

Oriental Scops Owl [leggei] (Otus sunia leggei)

Spot-bellied Eagle-owl [blighi] (Bubo nipalensis blighi)

Brown Wood Owl [ochrogenys] (Strix leptogrammica ochrogenys)

Jungle Owlet [radiatum] (Glaucidium radiatum radiatum)

Chestnut-backed Owlet (Glaucidium castanotum)

Brown Hawk-owl [hirsuta] (Ninox scutulata hirsuta)

CAPRIMULGIFORMES

Frogmouths (Podargidae)

Sri Lanka Frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger moniliger)

Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Jerdon's Nightjar [aequabilis] (Caprimulgus atripennis aequabilis)

Indian Nightjar [eidos] (Caprimulgus asiaticus eidos)

Apodiformes

Treeswifts (Hemiprocnidae)

Crested Treeswift (Hemiprocne coronata)

Swifts (Apodidae)

Indian Swiftlet (Aerodramus unicolor)

Brown-backed Needletail [indicus] (Hirundapus giganteus indicus)

Asian Palm Swift [balasiensis] (Cypsiurus balasiensis balasiensis)

Alpine Swift [bakeri] (Tachymarptis melba bakeri)

Little Swift [singalensis] (Apus affinis singalensis)

TROGONIFORMES

Trogons and Quetzals (Trogonidae)

Malabar Trogon [fasciatus] (Harpactes fasciatus fasciatus)

CORACIIFORMES

Rollers (Coraciidae)

Indian Roller [indicus] (Coracias benghalensis indicus)

Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Stork-billed Kingfisher [capensis] (Pelargopsis capensis capensis)

White-throated Kingfisher [fusca] (Halcyon smyrnensis fusca)

Common Kingfisher [taprobana] (Alcedo atthis taprobana)

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher [erithaca] (Ceyx erithaca erithaca)

Pied Kingfisher [leucomelanurus] (Ceryle rudis leucomelanurus)

Bee-Eaters (Meropidae)

Green Bee-eater [ceylonicus] (Merops orientalis ceylonicus)

Blue-tailed Bee-eater [javanicus] (Merops philippinus javanicus)

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater [leschenaulti] (Merops leschenaulti leschenaulti)

BUCEROTIFORMES

Hoopoes (Upupidae)

Eurasian Hoopoe [ceylonensis] (Upupa epops ceylonensis)

Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis)

Malabar Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus)

PICIFORMES

Asian Barbets (Megalaimidae)

Brown-headed Barbet [zeylanica] (Megalaima zeylanica zeylanica)

Yellow-fronted Barbet (Megalaima flavifrons)

Crimson-fronted Barbet (Megalaima rubricapillus)

Coppersmith Barbet [indica] (Megalaima haemacephala indica)

Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Yellow-crowned Woodpecker [mahrattensis] (Dendrocopos mahrattensis mahrattensis)

Lesser Yellownape [wellsi] (Picus chlorolophus wellsi)

Black-rumped Flameback [jaffnense] (Dinopium benghalense jaffnense)

Red-backed Flameback (Dinopium benghalense psarodes)

Crimson-backed Flameback (Chrysocolaptes stricklandi)

White-naped Woodpecker [tantus] (Chrysocolaptes festivus tantus)

FALCONIFORMES

Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)

Shahin Falcon (Falco peregrinus peregrinator)

PSITTACIFORMES

Parrots and Macaws (Psittacidae)

Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot (Loriculus beryllinus)

Alexandrine Parakeet [eupatria] (Psittacula eupatria eupatria)

Rose-ringed Parakeet [manillensis] (Psittacula krameri manillensis)

Layard's Parakeet (Psittacula calthrapae)

Passeriformes

Pittas (Pittidae)

Indian Pitta (Pitta brachyura)

Woodshrikes and allies (Tephrodornithidae)

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike [leggei] (Hemipus picatus leggei)

Sri Lanka Woodshrike (Tephrodornis affinis)

Woodswallows (Artamidae)

Ashy Woodswallow (Artamus fuscus)

Ioras (Aegithinidae)

Common Iora [multicolor] (Aegithina tiphia multicolor)

Marshall's Iora (Aegithina nigrolutea)

Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)

Large Cuckooshrike [layardi] (Coracina macei layardi)

Black-headed Cuckooshrike [sykesi] (Coracina melanoptera sykesi)

Small Minivet [cinnamomeus] (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus cinnamomeus)

Orange Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus)

Shrikes (Laniidae)

Brown Shrike [cristatus] (Lanius cristatus cristatus)

Philippine Shrike (Lanius cristatus lucionensis)

Long-tailed Shrike [caniceps] (Lanius schach caniceps)

Old World Orioles (Oriolidae)

Sri Lanka Black-hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus ceylonensis)

Drongos (Dicruridae)

Black Drongo [minor] (Dicrurus macrocercus minor)

White-bellied Drongo [sp] (Dicrurus caerulescens)

White-bellied Drongo [insularis] (Dicrurus caerulescens insularis)

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo [ceylonicus] (Dicrurus paradiseus ceylonicus)

Sri Lanka Drongo (Dicrurus lophorinus)

Fantails (Rhipiduridae)

White-browed Fantail [compressirostris] (Rhipidura aureola compressirostris)

Monarch Flycatchers (Monarchidae)

Black-naped Monarch [sp] (Hypothymis azurea)

Asian Paradise Flycatcher [sp] (Terpsiphone paradisi)

Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Sri Lanka Blue Magpie (Urocissa ornata)

House Crow [protegatus] (Corvus splendens protegatus)

Indian Jungle Crow (Corvus culminatus)

Fairy Flycatchers (Stenostiridae)

Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher [ceylonensis] (Culicicapa ceylonensis ceylonensis)

Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Cinereous Tit [mahrattarum] (Parus cinereus mahrattarum)

Larks (Alaudidae)

Jerdon's Bush Lark (Mirafra affinis)

Oriental Skylark [gulgula] (Alauda gulgula gulgula)

Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark (Eremopterix griseus)

Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Black-capped Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus)

Red-vented Bulbul [haemorrhousus] (Pycnonotus cafer haemorrhousus)

Yellow-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus penicillatus)

White-browed Bulbul [sp] (Pycnonotus luteolus)

White-browed Bulbul [insulae] (Pycnonotus luteolus insulae)

Yellow-browed Bulbul [sp] (Acritillas indica)

Sri Lanka Square-tailed Bulbul (Hypsipetes ganeesa humii)

Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)

European Swallow (Hirundo rustica rustica)

Tytler's Swallow (Hirundo rustica tytleri)

Hill Swallow (Hirundo domicola)

Sri Lanka Swallow (Cecropis hyperythra)

Leaf warblers and allies (Phylloscopidae)

Green Warbler (Phylloscopus nitidus)

Large-billed Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus magnirostris)

Reed warblers and allies (Acrocephalidae)

Indian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus brunnescens)

Blyth's Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum)

Sykes's Warbler (Iduna rama)

Grassbirds and allies (Locustellidae)

Sri Lanka Bush Warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri)

Cisticolas and Allies (Cisticolidae)

Zitting Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola juncidis)

Grey-breasted Prinia [pectoralis] (Prinia hodgsonii pectoralis)

Jungle Prinia [valida] (Prinia sylvatica valida)

Ashy Prinia [brevicauda] (Prinia socialis brevicauda)

Plain Prinia [insularis] (Prinia inornata insularis)

Common Tailorbird [sp] (Orthotomus sutorius)

Babblers and Parrotbills (Timaliidae)

Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler [sp] (Pomatorhinus melanurus)

Tawny-bellied Babbler [phillipsi] (Dumetia hyperythra phillipsi)

Dark-fronted Babbler [sp] (Rhopocichla atriceps)

Dark-fronted Babbler [nigrifrons] (Rhopocichla atriceps nigrifrons)

Fulvettas, Ground Babblers (Pellorneidae)

Brown-capped Babbler [sp] (Pellorneum fuscocapillus)

Laughingthrushes (Leiothrichidae)

Orange-billed Babbler (Turdoides rufescens)

Yellow-billed Babbler [taprobanus] (Turdoides affinis taprobanus)

Ashy-headed Laughingthrush (Garrulax cinereifrons)

Sylviid Babblers (Sylviidae)

Lesser Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia curruca)

Yellow-eyed Babbler [nasale] (Chrysomma sinense nasale)

White-Eyes (Zosteropidae)

Oriental White-eye [egregius] (Zosterops palpebrosus egregius)

Sri Lanka White-eye (Zosterops ceylonensis)

Starlings (Sturnidae)

Sri Lanka Hill Myna (Gracula ptilogenys)

Southern Hill Myna (Gracula indica)

Common Myna [melanosternus] (Acridotheres tristis melanosternus)

Brahminy Starling (Sturnia pagodarum)

White-faced Starling (Sturnornis albofrontatus)

Rosy Starling (Pastor roseus)

Thrushes (Turdidae)

Pied Thrush (Geokichla wardii)

Orange-headed Thrush [citrina] (Geokichla citrina citrina)

Spot-winged Thrush (Geokichla spiloptera)

Sri Lanka Thrush (Zoothera imbricata)

Indian Blackbird [kinnisii] (Turdus simillimus kinnisii)

Eyebrowed Thrush (Turdus obscurus)

Chats and Old World Flycatchers (Muscicapidae)

Indian Robin [leucopterus] (Copsychus fulicatus leucopterus)

Oriental Magpie-robin [ceylonensis] (Copsychus saularis ceylonensis)

White-rumped Shama [leggei] (Copsychus malabaricus leggei)

Asian Brown Flycatcher [pooensis] (Muscicapa latirostris pooensis)

Brown-breasted Flycatcher (Muscicapa muttui)

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher [jerdoni] (Cyornis tickelliae jerdoni)

Dull-blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus)

Indian Blue Robin [brunnea] (Larvivora brunnea brunnea)

Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush (Myophonus blighi)

Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra)

Pied Bush Chat [atratus] (Saxicola caprata atratus)

Leafbirds (Chloropseidae)

Jerdon's Leafbird (Chloropsis jerdoni)

Golden-fronted Leafbird [insularis] (Chloropsis aurifrons insularis)

Flowerpeckers (Dicaeidae)

Sri Lanka Thick-billed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum agile zeylonicum)

Legge's Flowerpecker (Dicaeum vincens)

Sri Lanka Small Flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos ceylonense)

Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Purple-rumped Sunbird [zeylonica] (Leptocoma zeylonica zeylonica)

Purple Sunbird [asiaticus] (Cinnyris asiaticus asiaticus)

Loten's Sunbird [lotenius] (Cinnyris lotenius lotenius)

Old World Sparrows and Snowfinches (Passeridae)

Indian House Sparrow (Passer domesticus indicus)

Weavers (Ploceidae)

Baya Weaver [philippinus] (Ploceus philippinus philippinus)

Waxbills, Munias and Allies (Estrildidae)

Indian Silverbill (Euodice malabarica)

White-rumped Munia [striata] (Lonchura striata striata)

Scaly-breasted Munia [punctulata] (Lonchura punctulata punctulata)

Black-throated Munia [kelaarti] (Lonchura kelaarti kelaarti)

Tricolored Munia (Lonchura malacca)

Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)

Forest Wagtail (Dendronanthus indicus)

Grey-headed Wagtail (Motacilla flava thunbergi)

Grey Wagtail [cinerea] (Motacilla cinerea cinerea)

Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi)

Paddyfield Pipit [malayensis] (Anthus rufulus malayensis)

Blyth's Pipit (Anthus godlewskii)