Sri Lanka is a birder's paradise. It's a tropical island in the Indian Ocean and called as "pearl of the Indian Ocean" it is situated ten degrees north to equator. Sri Lanka boasts of diverse and favorable climatic conditions. There are natural habitats such as forests, scrublands, grasslands, wetlands, seas and agricultural lands.
Amongst the best places to spot birds in Sri Lanka we cannot forget the Mannar Island. Mannar Island is one of the best spots in Sri Lanka for spotting migratory birds and for other animals also. There are giant tanks made about 1500 years ago which serves as best nesting places for both endemic and migratory birds. Here is a birdwatching region quite different from the wet forest of the Central Highlands, the hill country or the southern wetlands. The land is low, only a few meters above sea level, the climate is exceedingly dry and the area is sparsely populated. There is number of mud flats and saline lakes between the mainland and Mannar Island that attracts lots of wintering birds.The Venkalai sanctuary is one of the best places to spot wading water birds.
What is the best time to visit Mannar Island for bird watching?
December to March is the best period to visit Mannar Island for bird watching as many migratory birds make this area home for the winter period.
How to get in to Mannar Island?
From Colombo to Mannar is a 5+ hour drive while the town of Anuradhapura and Kalpitiya are within 3 ½ hours drive.
How to Explore Mannar Island?
By foot. Stay in a lodge in the area and walk in the birding grounds with an experienced guide.
Opening times of Mannar Island
There is no specific time as it is not a national park. You may do the bird watching walks in the early mornings and late afternoons.
Wildlife of Mannar Island
In Mannar you will see birds such as Greater Flamingos, Black Tail Godwits, Gargneys, Pintail Ducks, Gulls, Plovers, Terns all in flocks of several hundreds. So many Raptors: White Bellied Sea Eagles, Brahamin Kites, Black Kites, Common Kestrels. In addition you can see Crab Plovers and Pied Avocets.
Spending your time at Mannar Island will let you enjoy and observe aquatic birds which inhabits the turquoise water area in the surrounding.