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Colour on the Wing

A 13 night/14 day bird life extravaganza throughout Central and Southwest Sri Lanka – in your own private a/c car with personal driver and specialist guides.

From £1,600 per person

Example Itinerary

Colour on the Wing -14 Days / 13 Nights

Colombo > Sigiriya Sanctuary > Polonnaruwa > Peridenya > Kandy > Udawattakalle Sanctuary > Nuwara Eliya > Horton Plains > Hakgala > Yala National Park > Bundala National Park > Kalametiya > Udawalawe National Park > Sinharaja Rain Forest > Kitulgala

Stunning bird life habitat – coast to mountain, plains to rain forest  – with your own car, driver and guides.

DAY 1: Colombo > Sigiriya

You’ll be met on arrival in Colombo by our representative and transferred to Sigiriya. You’ll meet your qualified chauffeur/ornithologist guide and check-in at your hotel. Late afternoon you’ll go birding around the hotel garden.

Possible noteworthy species to be seen: Ceylon Green-Pigeon, Black Flower-pecker, Black-hooded Oriole, Indian Pitta, Brown-headed Thrush, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher.

DAY 2: Sigiriya

You may choose to visit the world famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress first or simply to go birding in Sigiriya sanctuary accompanied by a local guide.

Possible noteworthy species to be seen: Shaheen (local race of the Peregrine), Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo,  Indian Cuckoo, Crested Tree swift, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Coppersmith Barbet, Indian Pitta, Ceylon Wood shrike, Large Cuckoo shrike, Black-headed Thrush/Jungle Prinia, White-rumped Shama, Purple Sunbird, Thick-billed Flowerpecker, Great Racket-tailed Drongo.

DAY 3: Sigiriya > Matale > Kandy

You’ll visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peridenya, on the banks of the Sri Lanka’s longest river Mahaweli. Built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and expanded by the British, it is 147 acres in extent and provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers that attract a wide diversity of bird life – and flying foxes.

Possible noteworthy species to be seen: Common Hawk-cuckoo, Alexandrine Parakeet, Ceylon Small Barbet, Large Cuckoo shrike, Indian Pitta.

DAY 4: Kandy > Nuwara Eliya

After an early Breakfast you’ll head out birding in Udawattakalle Sanctuary

Possible noteworthy species to be seen: Emerald Dove, Ceylon Hanging Parrot, Layard’s Parakeet, Black-backed Dwarf Kingfisher,Yellow-Fronted Barbet, Ceylon Small Barbet, Crimson-Backed Flame back, White-Rumped Shama,Tickle’s Blue Flycatcher.

On arrival in Nuwara Eliya you’ll enjoy Bird watching at Victoria Park and Galway Land Sanctuary.

Possible noteworthy species to be seen: Yellow-Eared Bulbul, Common Blackbird, Sri Lanka Bush-Warbler, Grey-Headed Canary,  Kashmir & Dusky Blue Flycatcher, Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch, Ceylon White-Eye, Forest Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Indian Blur Robin, Pied Ground-Thrush, Indian Pitta, Kashmiri Flycatcher.

DAY 5: Horton Plains

You’ll set out on an early hours visit to Horton Plains – part of the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and dramatically different from the coastal plains thousands of feet below. The Plains were prized hunting and fishing grounds for the British who ‘discovered’ them in the early 19th century. Horton Plains is a bird’s Paradise.

Possible noteworthy species to be seen: Ceylon Woodpigeon,Yellow Eared Bulbul, Pied Bush Chat, Ceylon Whistling Thrush, Common Blackbird, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Grey-Headed Canary, Kashmir & Dusky Blue Flycatcher, Velvet Fronted Nuthatch, Ceylon White-Eye.

In the evening you’ll go birding to Hakgala Botanical Gardens.

Possible noteworthy species to be seen: Ceylon Woodpigeon, Brown Wood Owl,Thick Billed Flowerpecker.

DAY 6: Nuwara Eliya > Yala

Late afternoon take a Game Drive in Yala National Park, the second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Known for its wide variety of wild animals and birds – especially aquatic birds.

Of 215 bird species in the park, six are endemic to Sri Lanka – the Sri Lankan Grey Hornbill, Sri Lankan Jungle fowl, Sri Lankan Wood-pigeon, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul, and Brown-capped Babbler. 90 species of water birds inhabit the wetlands of Yala, half of them migrants. Black-necked Stork and Lesser Adjutant can be seen in the park. The migrant Great White Pelican and resident Spot-billed Pelican have also been recorded. There are numerous Peacocks. Other species seen are: Oriental Darter, Painted Stork, Black-Winged Stilt, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Great Thick-Nee, Small Pratincole,Yellow Wattled & Red Wattled Lapwing, Pacific Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Little-Ringed Kentish, Mongolian & Greater Sand Plover, Marsh, Wood and Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Brown-Headed Gull, Caspian, Gull-Billed & Whiskered, Tern, Bengal Bush lark, Ashy-Crowned Finch-Lark.

DAY 7: Yala > Bundala > Yala

Early morning game drive into Yala National Park, followed by a late afternoon visit to Bundala National Park which is also a bird’s paradise.

Possible noteworthy species to be seen: Greater Flamingos/Northern Pintail/ Garganey/Water cock/Black-Winged Stilt/Eurasian Stone Curlew/ Great Thick-Knee/ Small Pratincole/ Yellow-Wattled & Red Wattled Lapwing Pacific Golden Plover/Grey Plover/Little Ringed, Kentish, Mongolian & Greater Sand Plover/Marsh, Wood, Trek & Curlew Sandpiper/Little Stint/Brown Headed Gull/Caspian/Great Crested, Lesser Crested, Gull-Billed, Whiskered, White Winged, Saunders and Little Tern/ Bengal Bush lark/ Oriental Skylark/ Ashy-Crowned Finch-Lark.

DAY 8: Yala > Kalametiya > Udawalawe

Travel to Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary for a boat Safari on the lagoon.

Possible noteworthy species to be seen: Purple Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron,Yellow Bittern, Black Bittern, Brahminy Kite, Shikara, Purple Swamp hen, Pheasant-tailed Jacana and other common water birds such as Pipits & Wagtails.

Continue to Udawalawe for a late afternoon Safari into Udawalawe National Park – renowned for its herds of elephant and as an exciting location for bird enthusiasts. It centres on the Udawalawe Reservoir; lightly vegetated with a stark beauty it makes game-watching easy.

Possible noteworthy bird species to be seen: Spot-Billed Pelican, Oriental Darter, Cormorants, Lesser Adjutant, Montagu’s Harrier, Pied Harrier, Crested Hawk-Eagle, White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Grey Headed Fish Eagle, Barred Button Quail, Ceylon & Orange-Breasted Green-Pigeon, Plum Headed Parakeet, Blue-Faced Malkoha, Sirkeer Malkoha, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Prinias.

DAY 9: Udawalawe > Sinharaja

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and biodiversity hotspot – designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site. The hilly virgin rainforest is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Of Sri Lanka’s 26 endemic birds, the 20 rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal and Sri Lankan Blue Magpie.

Possible noteworthy bird species to be seen: Oriental Honey Buzzard, Rufous-Bellied Eagle, Shikara, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Eagle, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Ceylon Spur Fowl, Ceylon Jungle Fowl, Ceylon Wood Pigeon, Red Faced Malkoha, Green-Billed Coucal, Chestnut-Winged Cuckoo, Serendib Scops-Owl, Chestnut-Baked Owlet.

DAY 10: Sinharaja

After breakfast leave for the Rain Forest again. Such is the diversity of habitat that each of your days in Sinharaja will offer you a wide variety of bird spotting and photography opportunities.

More noteworthy species in Sinharaja include: Ceylon Frog Mouth, Malabar Trogon, Yellow-Browed Bulbul, Himalayan Black Bulbul, Spot Winged Ground Thrush, Ceylon Scaly Thrush, Ceylon Rufus Babbler, Ashy-Headed Laughing Thrush,  Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Ceylon Blue Magpie, White-Faced Starling, Ceylon Hill Myna.

DAY 11: Sinharaja

Your last day in the Rain Forest of Sinharaja. Make sure that you’ve cleaned and dried your camera equipment to avoid moisture build up on lenses and bodies – your own included!

We think you’ll find that your time in these lush forests has been truly rewarding – not least because you’ll have come to realise that your guide is truly gifted at spotting birds amongst the foliage.

DAY 12: Sinharaja > Kitulgala

Kitulgala is also rain forest area and one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka. The Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed on the Kelani River near Kitulgala.

This area has most of the rainforest bird species found at Sinharaja, but the secondary forest and cultivation at Kitulgala is more open – so elusive endemic species like Sri Lankan Spurfowl, Green-billed Coucal and Spot-winged Thrush may be easier to see. Kitulgala is a primary spot for bird watching enthusiasts.

DAY 13: Kitulgala > Colombo

A last chance to spend some time in Kitulgala Reserve before leaving for Colombo. You’ll no doubt have seen a good share of the possible noteworthy species here:

Black eagle, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Ceylon Spur Fowl, Ceylon Jungle Fowl, Ceylon Green Pigeon, Ceylon Hanging Parrot, Layard’s Parakeet, Green-billed Coucal, Serendib Scops Owl, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Brown Hawk Owl, Ceylon Frog-mouth, Black-backed Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceylon Swallow, Ceylon Grey Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul, Gold-fronted Leaf Bird, Spot-winged Ground Thrush, Legge’s Flowerpecker, Brown-capped Babbler, Ceylon Rufous Babbler, Ceylon Hill Myna, Ceylon Crested Drongo.

DAY 14: Colombo

Depending on your flights, why not explore the city and its curios or simply chill on Galle Face or in Victoria Park to spot a last few flashes of colour on the wing?