Welcome to Birdquest

SRI LANKA

Tuesday 26th December 2017 — Friday 5th January 2018
(11 days)


Leaders: Craig Robson and local bird guides

Group Size Limit: 9

Tour Category: Mostly easy walking and good quality accommodations almost throughout

Wintering Indian Pittas are usually relatively easy to see in Sri Lanka and always prove popular (Pat Wileman)

Wintering Indian Pittas are usually relatively easy to see in Sri Lanka and always prove popular (Pat Wileman)

If you gaze at an atlas, Sri Lanka, the one-time Ceylon, seems like a large teardrop falling into the ocean from the southern tip of the Indian peninsula. This green and beautiful island attracts many western visitors, and for the birdwatcher it is the 33 endemic species that are the most exciting prize of a visit to this jewel of the Indian Ocean. We shall be concentrating on trying to see all of these, from the secretive Sri Lanka Spurfowl and spectacular Sri Lanka Blue Magpie to the recently-described Serendib Scops Owl and the tiny Legge’s Flowerpecker, during our visit.

Sri Lanka has a great deal more to offer those interested in Asian birds than its large number of endemic specialities, as it not only possesses a comparatively rich resident avifauna (including a host of restricted-range species shared only with peninsular India), but also hosts an exciting selection of migrant visitors from both northern Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Combine the island’s excellent birding with attractive scenery and an ancient culture and you have a potent combination. Not only does Sri Lanka have a diverse avifauna but, after two millennia of Buddhist-inspired regard for wildlife, many birds are tame and approachable, whilst even large mammals, including Asian Elephants, survive in good numbers in spite of a burgeoning human population.

Our itinerary is specially designed to cover all the Sri Lankan endemic specialities and during our journey through the island we will cover all the principal habitats, including the lowland and foothill rainforests of the wet zone, the jungles of the dry zone and the grasslands and cloud forests of the highlands.

Following our arrival at Colombo airport, we head eastwards to Kitulgala in the foothills, home of such endemics as Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Layard’s Parakeet, Green-billed Coucal, Serendib Scops Owl, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul, Spot-winged Thrush, Brown-capped and Orange-billed Babblers, Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler, Legge’s Flowerpecker and Sri Lanka Crested Drongo.

Our next port of call is the superb Sinharaja Forest, the largest tract of surviving rainforest in Sri Lanka and home to the majority of the island’s endemic birds, and in particular Sri Lanka Spurfowl, the spectacular Red-faced Malkoha, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Ashy-headed Laughingthrush, White-faced Starling, Sri Lanka Myna and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie.

From here we travel into the dry zone of the southeast, first visiting Uda Walawe National Park, home of the endemic Sri Lanka Swallow and Sri Lanka Woodshrike, as well as many other interesting birds, and then exploring the bird-rich ‘tanks’ and coastal lagoons at Tissamaharama and Bundala.

From the dry zone we climb up into the central massif, to Nuwara Eliya and the cool uplands of Horton Plains National Park, where we will be looking for such endemics as Sri Lanka Woodpigeon, Crimson-backed Flameback, Yellow-eared Bulbul, the elusive Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Sri Lanka Scaly Thrush, the skulking Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Dull-blue Flycatcher and Sri Lanka White-eye, and also for exciting winter visitors such as the beautiful Indian Pitta, Kashmir Flycatcher and the handsome Pied Thrush. Finally, we will visit ancient Kandy before the time comes for us to leave this fascinating and beautiful part of the world.

Birdquest has operated tours to Sri Lanka since 1995.

Important: The Birdquest group size limit is significantly lower than for most tours to Sri Lanka. As much of the birding is in forest areas, this represents a significant advantage for our participants.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/lodges are of good standard almost throughout. Blue Magpie Lodge at Sinharaja is simple and electricity is limited to night-time. Road transport is by small coach. Roads are variable in quality (averaging good to mediocre).

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there are some moderate grade walks.

Climate: Generally warm or hot, dry and sunny at lower altitudes but cool or rarely even quite cold at higher altitudes. Overcast weather or early morning mist is not uncommon and some rain is possible at this season. It will be rather humid in coastal areas.

Bird/Mammal Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.

Can be taken together with: SOUTHERN INDIA

Tour Price: £2390, €2820, $3130 Colombo/Colombo.

Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Single Room Supplement: £250, €295, $328.

Deposit: £300, €360, $390.

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.110.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

The Sri Lanka Frogmouth, which is endemic to Sri Lanka and Southern India, is always a much-wanted species (Craig Robson)

The Sri Lanka Frogmouth, which is endemic to Sri Lanka and Southern India, is always a much-wanted species (Craig Robson)

The Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill is yet another of the endemics we will seek out (Craig Robson)

The Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill is yet another of the endemics we will seek out (Craig Robson)

Sometimes we find Sri Lanka Frogmouths at a daytime roost (Dave Farrow)

Sometimes we find Sri Lanka Frogmouths at a daytime roost (Dave Farrow)

Jungle Owlet looks cute but is a fierce predator of small birds (Dave Farrow)

Jungle Owlet looks cute but is a fierce predator of small birds (Dave Farrow)

Most of Sri Lanka's endemics are forest denizens, including the secretive Chestnut-backed Owlet (Craig Robson)

Most of Sri Lanka's endemics are forest denizens, including the secretive Chestnut-backed Owlet (Craig Robson)

... and Spot-winged Thrush (Craig Robson)

... and Spot-winged Thrush (Craig Robson)

The delightful Yellow-eared Bulbul (Craig Robson)

The delightful Yellow-eared Bulbul (Craig Robson)

... and White-throated (or Legge's) Flowerpecker are two of the more showy Sri Lankan endemics (Craig Robson)

... and White-throated (or Legge's) Flowerpecker are two of the more showy Sri Lankan endemics (Craig Robson)

... whilst Crimson-backed Flameback is one of a whole series of recently recognized endemics (Pat Wileman)

... whilst Crimson-backed Flameback is one of a whole series of recently recognized endemics (Pat Wileman)

Exciting winter visitors include the stunning Pied Ground Thrush (Craig Robson)

Exciting winter visitors include the stunning Pied Ground Thrush (Craig Robson)

Other wildlife is abundant with many interesting mammals, reptiles and insects such as this Indian Moon Moth (Craig Robson)

Other wildlife is abundant with many interesting mammals, reptiles and insects such as this Indian Moon Moth (Craig Robson)

The group watching Asian Elephants on a jeep safari through the savanna at Uda Walawe (Craig Robson)

The group watching Asian Elephants on a jeep safari through the savanna at Uda Walawe (Craig Robson)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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