Yala National Park is 978.807 km2 hotspot of biodiversity, with hundreds of flora and fauna species claiming it as their home. Alongside this feat, Yala is also one of the 70 ‘Important Bird Areas’ in Sri Lanka, and for good reason. About 215 bird species reside or visit the park, of which seven are endemic to Sri Lanka: the Sri Lankan grey hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis), black-capped bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus), Sri Lanka junglefowl (Gallus lafayettii), crimson-fronted barbet (Psilopogon rubricapillus), blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus), Sri Lanka wood pigeon (Columba torringtoniae), and last but not least, the brown-capped babbler (Pellorneum fuscocapillus).
For the zealous birdwatcher, Yala National Park is an absolute must-visit when in Sri Lanka.
Here, you could spot the peach-and-rust-breasted lesser whistling duck (Dendrocygna javanica), the odd little cormorant (Microcarbo niger), and the resident spot-billed pelicans (Pelecanus philippensis).
During the northeast monsoon, thousands of waterfowl species visit Yala’s lagoons, including northern pintails (Anas acuta), Eurasian curlews (Numenius arquata), and ruddy turnstones (Arenaria interpres), making for a fascinating sighting!
Because of Yala’s diverse ecosystems (from dry monsoon forests to semi deciduous forests, grasslands, freshwater wetlands, beaches, and more), there is no limit to the types of species you find here! This means, you can spot some forest birds here, too, such as the awe-inspiring Indian paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi), and even the orange-breasted green pigeon (Treron bicinctus), with its iridescent plumage.
So, be sure to invest in the best binoculars you can get your hands on and head on over for a bird-watching experience like never before!