Sri Lanka: Mammals & Birds

In search of the special mammals and birds of this Indian Ocean island

At a Glance


Mammal and birds tour with the emphasis on the more difficult to see mammals and endemic birds.


Sri Lanka


Target mammals include Fishing, Rusty-spotted and Jungle Cats, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Golden Palm Civet, Grey and Red Slender Loris, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and Indian Pangolin along with a range of commoner endemic and more widespread mammals.

Target birds include endemics such as Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Sri Lankan Blue Magpie and many other species.

Dates and Prices:

Dates: March 2023 (TBC)

Leader: TBC

Prices: TBC

  • Fishing Cat, Sri Lanka
  • Golden Jackal, Sri Lanka
  • Indian Nightjar, Sri Lanka
  • Stripe-necked Mongoose, Sri Lanka
  • Little Green Bee-eater, Sri Lanka
  • Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Sri Lanka
  • Small Indian Palm Civet, Sri Lanka
  • Peacock, Sri Lanka
  • Fishing Cat, Sri Lanka
  • Chital, Sri Lanka

Tour overview

After a successful first tour to Sri Lanka in 2019 when all four Sri Lankan cats were seen along with a range of other exciting mammals, we are planning to offer a similar trip in 2023.  We have made a few changes to the previous itinerary most notably to extend the tour by a day to enable us to include two nights in the vicinity of Wilpattu National Park which increases out chances of encounters with Rusty-spotted Cat, Fishing Cat and Leopard.  

The focus remains Sri Lanka’s exciting cats and endemic mammals and we will have several long spotlighting drives to help us find species such as Fishing and Rusty-spotted Cats, Golden Palm Civet and Grey and Red Slender Loris.  We also expect to find many commoner mammals including good numbers of Asian Elephants.

Although this is primarily a mammal tour, we will also try to see a number of Sri Lanka’s endemic birds.

The tour intends to visit a number of localities including Kanneliya Rainforest, Lunugamvehera National Park, Kataragama, Hakgala Botanical Gardens, Horton Plains National Park, Kandy, Sigiriya, Minneriya or Kaudulla National Parks, Wilpattu National Park and Anawilunawa RAMSAR Sanctuary.

For anyone who wishes to do so, there is also the opportunity to arrange an extension to Sinharaja Rainforest to look for more of Sri Lanka’s endemic birds including the famous Serendib Scops Owl.


Day 1: Fly to Colombo.

Day 2: Early morning arrival Colombo. Transfer to Kanneliya. Late afternoon and evening spotlighting walks at Kanneliya.

Day 3: Morning Kanneliya Rainforest. Drive to Kataragama. Evening spotlighting along the Kataragama to Buttala road.

Day 4: Morning drive in Lunugamvehera National Park. Afternoon relaxing around hotel. Spotlighting session along Kataragama to Buttala road or Kataragama to Bundala road.

Day 5: Morning relaxing around hotel. Afternoon drive in Lunugamvehera National Park. Spotlighting session along Kataragama to Buttala road or Kataragama to Bundala road. 

Day 6: Morning drive in Lunugamvehera National Park. Late morning/afternoon transfer to Nuwara Eliya. Late afternoon visit to Hakgala Botanical Gardens.

Day 7: Morning optional walk in Horton Plains NP. Afternoon drive to Kandy. Evening spotlighting in grounds of hotel.

Day 8: Morning drive to Sigiriya. Afternoon birding at Sigiriya. Long spotlighting session around Sigiriya.

Day 9: Morning lie in. Afternoon jeep safari in Minneriya or Kaudulla National Park depending on the location of the Elephants. Long spotlighting session around Sigiriya.

Days 10: Morning lie in. Afternoon walk in Pidurangala forest /rock temple in looking for bats, Purple-faced Leaf Monkeys, mongooses and squirrels. Long spotlighting session around Sigiriya.

Day 11: After breakfast drive to Wilpattu. Afternoon birding around hotel and village. Evening spotlighting in buffer zone outside national park. 

Day 12: Morning jeep safari in Wilpattu National Park, afternoon at leisure around hotel. Evening spotlighting in buffer zone outside national park.

Day 13: Morning jeep safari in Wilpattu National Park. Afternoon drive to Katunayake with birding at Anawilundawa RAMSAR Sanctuary on route.

Day 14:  Morning flight back to the UK arriving back early evening.

NB: the exact itinerary will be subject to weather and local conditions and is subject to government and local permissions.

Potential Mammals (selected species only)

Asian Elephant, Grey Slender Loris, Red Slender Loris, Toque Macaque, Tufted Grey Langur, Purple-faced Langur, Indian Hare, Indian Gerbil, Lesser Bandicoot Rat, Indian Crested Porcupine, Sri Lanka Giant Squirrel, Sri Lankan Palm Squirrel, Layard’s Striped Squirrel, Indian Flying Fox, Schneider's Leaf-nosed Bat, Cantor's Leaf-nosed Bat, Lesser Asian False-vampire, White-spotted Chevrotain, Yellow-striped Chevrotain, Malabar Red Muntjac, Chital, Sambar, Wild Boar/Eurasian Wild Pig, Thick-tailed Pangolin, Leopard, Rusty-spotted Cat, Fishing Cat, Jungle Cat, Small Indian Civet, Northern Palm Civet, Golden Civet, Ruddy Mongoose, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Indian Brown Mongoose, Indian Grey Mongoose, Golden Jackal, Sloth Bear, Eurasian Otter.

Potential Birds (selected species only)

Spot-billed Pelican, Indian Cormorant, Oriental Darter, Painted Stork, Asian Openbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Black-headed Ibis, Indian Pond Heron, Lesser Whistling Duck, Crested Honey Buzzard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Black Eagle, Shikra, Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Indian Peafowl, Grey-headed Swamphen, Barred Buttonquail, Indian Stone-curlew, Great Stone-curlew, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Red-wattled Lapwing, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Pin-tailed Snipe, Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, Common Emerald Dove, Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Green Imperial Pigeon, Layard's Parakeet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Greater Coucal, Blue-faced Malkoha, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Common Hawk-Cuckoo, Eastern Barn Owl, Indian Scops Owl, Brown Fish Owl, Brown Wood Owl, Jerdon's Nightjar, Indian Nightjar, Crested Treeswift, Indian Swiftlet, Asian Palm Swift, Little Swift, Indian Roller, Green Bee-eater, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Stork-billed Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Brown-headed Barbet, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Coppersmith Barbet, Red-backed Flameback, Crimson-backed Flameback, Indian Pitta, Sri Lanka Woodshrike, Large Cuckooshrike, Small Minivet, Orange Minivet, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Marshall's Iora, Jerdon's Bush Lark, Sri Lanka Swallow, Forest Wagtail, Paddyfield Pipit, Black-capped Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Yellow-eared Bulbul, Square-tailed Bulbul, Orange-headed Thrush, Indian Robin, Oriental Magpie-Robin, White-rumped Shama, Ashy Prinia, Plain Prinia, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, White-browed Fantail, Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Brown-capped Babbler, Yellow-billed Babbler, Southern Hill Myna, Black-hooded Oriole, White-bellied Drongo, Brown-breasted Flycatcher, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Cinereous Tit, Pale-billed Flowerpecker, Purple-rumped Sunbird, Purple Sunbird, Loten's Sunbird, Oriental White-eye, Sri Lanka White-eye, Baya Weaver, Scaly-breasted Munia, Black-throated Munia, Black-headed Munia.