Discover the Wonders of Bird Watching in Sri Lanka:  Shot Spell Birding Tour

7 Days

Overview

Embark on an incredible journey of bird watching in Sri Lanka, where you’ll explore diverse climatic zones and observe some of the island’s most unique avifauna and natural wonders. This short yet comprehensive birding tour focuses on endemic birds in Sri Lanka mostly and offers a rich and immersive experience.

Your adventure begins in Kitulgala, where you can spot fascinating species such as the endemic Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, the White-faced Starling, and the Green-billed Coucal. Next, you’ll head to Nuwara Eliya, where the beautiful Hakgala Botanical Garden awaits, home to the endemic Dull-blue Flycatcher. You’ll then visit the awe-inspiring Horton Plains National Park, which houses the endemic Sri Lankan White-eye.

Then, embark on a birding safari in Bundala Park, Sri Lanka’s first Ramsar site, boasting 197 bird species. Your journey continues to the famous Yala National Park, where you can see 215 bird species along with Sri Lanka’s iconic mammals: the Asian elephant, sloth bears, and leopards.

Spend the final days of your trip in the pristine Sinharaja Rainforest, a biodiversity hotspot where 95% of Sri Lanka’s 33 endemic bird species reside.

Your accommodations will consist of handpicked hotels and glamping sites, minimizing travel time and maximizing your birding experience. This way, you’ll have ample time to enjoy your holiday in Sri Lanka and savor the exquisite accommodations, destinations, and cuisine.

Ideal For

This tour is perfect for bird lovers who don’t have much time but are eager to explore the wilderness and admire the beauty of avifauna, especially the endemic birds of Sri Lanka. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, friends, or a family with kids and teenagers, this tour caters to small groups of all kinds.

Join us for an unforgettable birding adventure in Sri Lanka and experience the beauty of endemic birding tours in Sri Lanka firsthand.



Highlights at a glance

  • Bird watching in Kitulgala for endemic species and nocturnal birds.
  • Hill Country birding in Nuwara Eliya and Horton Plains National Park.
  • Spotting dry zone species in Yala National Park.
  • Birding in one of Sri Lanka’s six Ramsar Sites: Bundala National Park.
  • Exploring a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site: Sinharaja Rainforest.
  • Learning the process of making the world’s finest Ceylon Tea. [ Optional ]

Itinerary

Upon your arrival in Sri Lanka, you will be transferred to Kitulgala which was used as a location in the filming of David Lean’s award-winning film ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ and is considered one of the island’s most picturesque locations as well as a hotspot for endemic birds. Depending on your time of arrival, you can choose to rest at your hotel, or do a short bird-watching trail with your personal guide and hope to encounter some of Sri Lanka’s endemic bird species including the Orange-billed Babbler and the Chestnut-backed Owlet that have been recorded here.

Dinner

After breakfast, enjoy a morning trail in the Makandawa rain forest in Kitulgala which boasts an impressive list of endemic, migratory and resident birds. Many of the wet zone endemics such as the Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Hanging Parrot, Layard’s Parakeet, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul and the Spot-winged Thrush can be sighted here. Afterwards, drive to Nuwara Eliya to spot the hill country species in Hakgala Botanical Garden (or Victoria Park) which are considered as the gathering spot for migratory species. Spend your night in a cozy accommodation in the “Little England”; Nuwara Eliya

Breakfast, Dinner

Before dawn, with packed breakfasts, you will be taken to the Horton Plains National Park in the central highlands of Sri Lanka which is recognized as an Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Horton Plains is home to several resident and endemic species of birds including: the Yellow-Eared Bulbul, Wood Pigeon, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler and most importantly, the endangered Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush and Scaly Thrush. We should also be able to sight the Sambar Deer and the endemic Purple-faced Monkey. Drive to Yala and get ready for the adventures on the following day. You can look forward to your overnight stay at Glamping site in Yala.

Breakfast, Dinner

a group of birds at wasgamuwe in sri lanka experiential journeyEarly in the morning you will transfer to the Bundala National Park for a special jeep safari. Bundala has been internationally recognized as an important wintering ground for migratory birds.Bundala National Park is a fantastic wetland sanctuary that shelters thousands of colourful birds ranging from little bee-eaters to grotesque open-billed stalks. In total, this wildlife wonderland covering 62-sq-km area, is home to 150 species of birds with many imigrating species arriving between August and April. It’s also a winter home to the greater flamingo, and it is possible to see over 1500 flamingos at once! An evening safari at the Yala National Park is organized with a night birding trail and an overnight stay at the glamping Camp in Yala. Boasting the highest leopard population density in the world, the Yala National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts while being widely noted as the best place in the world to film and photograph the Sri Lankan Leopard.

Breakfast, Dinner

a colourful bird at sinharaja forest in sri lanka experiential journeyAfter breakfast you will then be taken to the Sinharaja rainforest, which is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Another highlight of this forest is the mixed-species of bird flocks, averaging up to 42 individual species, which make this the world’s largest mixed-species bird flock. The mixed-species bird flock study of the Sinharaja forest has been continuing since 1981 and is considered the World’s longest bird flock study. Birding highlights include: the Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, White-faced Starling and Scaly Thrush. After lunch, check-in to your hotel in Sinharaja before a bird-watching tour in the forest. We have also planned a night birding trail, where you may spot some of Sri Lanka’s nocturnal species including the Chestnut-backed Owlet and Serendib Scops Owl. Your overnight stay will be at a hotel selected given its close proximity to the forest.

Breakfast, Dinner

Following an early breakfast, enjoy a day of exploration (with packed lunches) in the beautiful Sinharaja rain forest where we will search for more wet lowland forest birds including endemics. Depending on your interest, our guide will also help you to identify many butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, forest mammals and other wildlife. If you are feeling up to it, you could also do a night-walk along the peripheries of the reserve. At the close of the day, you will spend the night at a hotel close to Sinharaja Forest.

Breakfast, Dinner

We’ve reached the end of your 06-night bird watching holiday to Sri Lanka and it is time to depart. Your chauffeur will take you to Colombo Airport in time to catch your departure flight.

Breakfast

Includes / Excludes

Includes

  • 06 nights accommodation on Double/Twin Sharing basis.
  • Breakfast & Dinner basis at all hotels/ Camping sites.
  • Transportation in an air conditioned vehicle with an English Speaking Chauffeur throughout the tour including Airport Transfers.
  • Jeep Safaris in the above mentioned National Park in a Private Jeep including the entry permit costs & government tracker fees. Including 2 jeep safaris at Bundala & Yala National Parks
  • Entry Permits to all the sites, temples, museums & monuments mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Costs of all experiences, community visits, hikes and village walks mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Service charges at the hotels & current applicable taxes by the Sri Lankan Government.

Excludes

  • Any International or Domestic flights.
  • Any Visa fee
  • Christmas & New Year Eve dinner supplement. (24th & 31st December)
  • Any additional beverage or food.
  • Early Check-in or Late Checkout Charges at Hotels.
  • Any tips to the staff.
  • Any expense of personal requirements telephone, laundry, hotel extra bills etc.)
  • Any additional expenses , other than mentioned in the inclusions list above.
What happens after I confirm the tour?

When it comes to the accommodation, all the reservations are subject to availability at the time of confirmation, and as soon as we have received the payment, our Tour Operations Team will take in charge of your tour and proceed with the reservations. In case a hotel mentioned in your itinerary has no availability, we will find you an alternative. No changes will be done without your approval!

Will I receive a schedule with exact timings for my tour?

We will make a rough day-by-day schedule for your tour, but won’t set you exact timings for each and every activity – unless there is a an activity which start at a specific time. Since you will be traveling by private vehicle, with a knowledgeable driver-guide, we want you to have your part in decision making. With the help from him, you may tune the schedule to your rhythm.

Am I allowed to do any extra stops or visits?

Along the destinations included in your itinerary, you are free to take as many stops as you want to. When it comes to additional visits and destinations that are located out of the original route, the extra kilometers will be taken in consideration. For your journey, we will calculate a total mileage that is sufficient for the whole tour and mentioned in your itinerary. If this limit is exceeded, we will charge a supplement according the extra mileage.

Am I allowed to do any changes to my itinerary during the tour?

We’ll do our best to accommodate the programme in your needs and wishes, if something urgent occurs during your tour. In a situation that requires changing the accommodation, the cancellation policies of the hotels concerned are to be taken on account.

Will I need a visa?

Since the 1st of January 2012, all travelers must be in possession of a visa when arriving in Sri Lanka. Citizens from Singapore and The Maldives are the only exempt. Visitors can apply for the official Electronic Travel Authorization (visa) via www.eta.gov.lk, or upon arrival at the airport. There is a small fee to pay, and you must have at least six months left on your passport at the time of travel to obtain one.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

MasterCard and Visa are widely used and accepted by many local shops, restaurants and hotels, but it’s always better to double check. Other major cards such as AmEx and DinersClub are accepted often also.

The Important Stuff

Sri Lanka is a nation where religion and culture occupy an important place in the day-to-day lives of the local people. It is important to be aware of the customs and practices that are particular to the location you are visiting, so here are a few general tips to keep in mind during your travels. Your chauffeur will assist you with more detailed information.

  • If you plan on visiting any temples, ancient or current, you should wear clothing that covers your body from your shoulders down to your knees. Head coverings such as caps or helmets should be removed and shoes must be taken off at the entrance. White coloured clothing is generally a good choice to go with here.
  • Some religious places do not allow photography or videography without prior permission and some may not allow it at all. Refer to signage or ask your chauffeur guide about the policy or protocol. Don’t try to photograph or take videos without permission.
  • If you have any tattoos associated with Buddhism, Hinduism or Islamism, it’s best that you cover them completely in public places. 
  • Smoking is prohibited in indoor public places, workplaces and on public transport.
Overall Trip Rating:
2.5
- Based on 2 travel reviews
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  1. Wonderful Birding Experience
    By Adriana
    from Canada
    March 16, 2024
    My husband and I had a wonderful week of birding with Experiential Journeys! Our driver, Soloman, is well-versed in the bird species we saw and provided us with information about their behaviour. When we visited national parks and rainforests, we were given a birding guidebook and binoculars. It had a good choice of hotels, including a stay in a glamping site. Nothing to complain about; everything was perfectly organized. We had a great time on our brief birding tour.
    Date of Experience: February 22, 2024
  2. Amazing Bird watching tour
    By Linda
    from United Kingdom
    December 8, 2023
    Our birding trip to Sri Lanka was simply incredible. I'd like to thank my guide, Dammika, for his exceptional care and knowledge. To be honest, I'm not sure which one was my favorite. We went on safaris in two parks, Yala and Bundala, and saw a variety of birds and animals. We were also lucky enough to see a few Sri Lankan Leopards. We witnessed numerous different bird species in the forests, including several endemic birds. The nature trails in Sinharaja Rainforest and Horton Plains were spectacular. A truly great trip. We loved all of it. Thank you!
    Date of Experience: November 02, 2023

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Discover the Wonders of Bird Watching in Sri Lanka:  Shot Spell Birding Tour
From USD1,115
/ Adult (Double/ Per Person)
From USD1,894
/ Adult (Single Person)
From USD932
/ Adult (Triple or More/Per Person)
From USD239
/ Single Room Supplement
  • Private Departure
  • Specialist Birding Chauffeur Guide supplement - 180 USD
  • We've taken every possible measure to ensure your safety and comfort during this tour.

    The hotels, tours, add-ons, and guides who are part of this programs are carefully vetted, so that you enjoy the highest quality standards and enjoy your tour with peace of mind. At any given point of the tour you will always be within reach of your guide, either physically or via phone (e. G: when you are out exploring on your own), for any assistance.
  • Pre-Tour additional dates in Kitulgala.
    Post-Tour Beach Stay