National Parks


Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Sinharaja Forest Reservewas designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Though small in area, it supports an amazing range of trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals within its dense vegetation. Mammals such as the Sambhur Deer, Monk Deer, Barking Deer, Badger Mongoose, Golden Palm Civet and the Purple-Faced Leaf Monkey are also found within the reserve. Leopard and Elephants sightings are extremely limited. Of Sri Lanka’s 26 endemic bird species, 20 are found here, including the Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo, Orange-Billed Babbler, Red-Faced Malkoha, Green-Billed Coucal and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie. Mixed feeding flocks are a common sight and over 100 such
flocks have been identified.


Kumana National Park

Kumana National Park(bird sanctuary) is part of the Yala National Park and is renowned for its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. With the Kumbukkan Oya forming its southern boundary and over 20 lagoons and tanks, Kumana is one of the most important bird nesting and breeding grounds in Sri Lanka. 255 bird species have been identified, including Black-Necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Eurasian Spoonbill, as well as migrants such as Asian Open-Bill, Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Great Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Spot-billed Pelican, Indian Cormorant, Little Cormorant, Common Moor-Hen, Watercock, Purple Swamp-Hen, White-Breasted Water Hen, Pheasant-Tailed Jacana, Black-winged Stilt, Lesser Whistling Duck and Little Grebe.


Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park, designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, covers an area of 3,698 hectares (14.28 sq mi) and serves as a wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala is home to 197 bird species, including the Greater Flamingo, which visits in large flocks of over 1,000 individuals, Lesser Whistling Duck, Garganey, Little Cormorant, Indian Cormorant, Grey Heron, Black-Headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Asian Open Bill, Painted Stork and rare species such as , Black-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant and Eurasian Coot. Bundala is also home to 32 species of fish, 15 species of amphibians, 48 species of reptiles, 32 species of mammals and 52 species of butterflies.


Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home

Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home was established in 1995 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation within the Udawalawe National Park to nurture and protect orphaned and abandoned baby elephants. The objective of this home is to release and integrate these elephants into their natural jungle habitat, once they are mature enough to live on their own. The Foster Parent Scheme, initiated by the Park, enables individuals and institutions to provide for the upkeep of the baby elephants, including food and medical care, until they are ready for reintegration into the wilds. Foster parents are given the opportunity to name these baby elephants and personally release them into the wilds, once they reach a certain age.


Knuckles World Heritage site - Trekkers Camp

The camp is located in the Riverston (northern) part of the Knuckles range, which combines virgin forest with streams, rivers and wildlife at an altitude of 1400 meters above sea level. More than 200 bird species are found here, including fifteen which are endemic to Sri Lanka - Jungle Fowl, Yellow-Fronted Barbet, Small Barbet, Sri Lanka White-Eye, Black Headed Bulbul, Yellow Eared Bulbul, Dusk Blue Flycatcher, Brown Capped Babbler, Sri Lankan Grackle, Sri Lankan Lorikeet, Sri Lankan Warbler, White Faced Starling, Spot Wing Thrush, Sri Lankan Blue Magpie and Layard’sParakeet.


Minneriya National Park

(182 km from Colombo). The Minneriya tank, built by King Mahasen in the third century CE, occupies pride of place in the Minneriya Nationa Park, attracting herds of 150 – 200 elephants. Some recent counts place the number of elephants within the park as high as 700. The park is home to 24 species of mammals, including the Gray Slender Loris,160 species of birds, 9 species of amphibians, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish, and 75 species of butterflies. Minneriya is known as a habitat for large aquatic birds such as the Lesser Adjutant, Painted Stork, Spot-Billed Pelican and endemic species such as Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Brown-Capped Babbler, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Black-crested Bulbul and Crimson-fronted Barbet. The park also attracts Little Cormorants, Great White Pelican, Ruddy Turnstone, and Grey Heron.


Yala National Park

Yala National Park encompasses an area of 979 square kilometres (378 sq miles), comprising 5 blocks. It is Sri Lanka’s most visited National Park and hosts a wide range of eco-systems, from monsoon forests, to freshwater and marine wetlands. Yala is home to 215 bird species and 44 types of mammals, including Sri Lankan Elephants comprising 300–350 individuals. Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Wild water buffalo, Toque Macaque, Golden Palm Civet, Red Slender Loris, and Fishing Cat can also be sighted. Yala boasts one of the highest Leopard densities in the world. Birds include Lesser Flamingo, Pelicans, Purple Herons, Night herons, Egrets, Purple Swamp-Hen, and Oriental Darter and thousands of waterfowl which migrate during the winter.


Wilpattu National Park

Wilpattu National Park covers an area of 131, 693 hectares and its unique feature is the existence of natural lakes and sand-rimmed water basins filled with rainwater. Wilpattu is renowned for its Leopards (Panthera pardus kotiya), whose total population is not yet known. Wilpattu is home to about 31 species of mammals, including Elephant, Sloth Bear, Leopard, Water Buffalo, Sambhur, Spotted Deer and Mongoose. Bird species include the Painted Stork, Open Bill, Little Cormorant and Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl, as well as species of Owls, Terns, Gulls, Eagles, Kites and Buzzards. Reptiles found in the park are the Monitor Lizard, Mugger Crocodile, Common Cobra, Rat Snake, Indian Python, Pond Turtle and the Soft Shelled Turtle.


Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park covering 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi), was created to provide a sanctuary to animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe reservoir. The terrain covers forests, plains, marshes, the Walawe river and its tributaries. The park is located about 200 kms South-East of Colombo and is home to over 400 Elephants, Water Buffalo, Water Monitor Lizard, Sambur Deer, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, Indian Munjac, Sri Lankan Spotted Chevrotain, Wild Boar, Rusty Spotted Cat, Golden Palm Civet, Toque Macaque, Tufted Grey Langur, and Indian Hare.. Endemic birds include the Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Brown-Capped Babbler and Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl, while the White Wagtail and Black-Capped Kingfisher are migrant species. Uddawalawe also attracts water birds such as Cormorants, Spot-Billed Pelican, Asian Open Bill, Painted Stork, Black-Headed Ibis and Eurasian Spoonbill, as well as birds of prey such as White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Grey-Headed Fish Eagle, Booted Eagle, and hangeable Hawkeagle.


Kandalama Bird Santuary

Over 145 species have been spotted in the area surrounding the Kandalama tank, including arboreal, terrestrial and aquatic birds, as well as waders and raptors. Sri Lanka Spur fowl, Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl, Sri Lanka Grey Horn-bill, and Brown-Capped Babbler; Crested Serpent Eagle, White–Bellied Sea Eagle; Little and Intermediate Egrets, Eurasian Open Bill, Grey Heron; Indian Pitta, Barbets, Bulbuls, Parakeets, Egrets, Woodpeckers, Sunbirds, Flower Peckers and Fly Catchers are some of the birds that are seen here.


Horton Plains National Park

Horton Plains National Park (altitude 2,100–2,300 metres) is a protected area featuring open grassland, cloud forest, pools and waterfalls. Noted for its bio-diversity, the Plains’ vegetation includes subtropical evergreen forests with around 750 species of plants belonging to 20 families. Fauna covers 24 species of mammals, including the Sambar deer, 87 species of birds and several species of reptiles and amphibians. The 870 m (2,854 ft) World's End sheer precipice and Baker's Falls are popular tourist attractions. Birds recorded at Horton Plains include Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, (Clissa Ornata), Dusky Blue Fly-Catcher (Eumyias Sordida), Sri Lanka White-Eye (Zoterops Ceylonensis), and Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon (Columba Torringtonni).



Set up in 2002, Kaudulla National Park is yet another step taken towards forming a protected network of elephants’ traditional migratory routes, especially in the Polonnaruwa area. Covering an expanse of 6,996 hectares, the most noticeable feature of this park is the herd of elephants, numbering around 250, which gather in the vicinity of the tank, especially during the dry season from April to August. The vegetation, comprising mostly of mixed evergreen grassland and riverside forests, supports limited wildlife. A considerable number of birds can be seen at Kandulla.