Sri Lanka Birding Tours
The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (simply “Sri Lanka” hereafter) is a picturesque island country in the Indian Ocean located just off the southeast tip of the Indian peninsula and is separated from India (see our Indian tours here) by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait (this is also the area with the shortest at-sea distance between the two countries at 34 miles (55 kilometers) – legend has it that this strait was passable on foot up until around 1480 AD). The Bay of Bengal is to the northeast and the Arabian Sea (and Laccadive Sea) is to the west. The legislative capital of the country is Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (also known simply as “Kotte”) this is a satellite city of Colombo, the largest city and center of commerce. Our tours start to the north of Colombo near the city of Negombo, which is located near to the international airport, and all take place in the southern third of the country.
Evidence of prehistoric human settlement in Sri Lanka dates back at least 125,000 years, unsurprisingly Sri Lanka is rich in cultural heritage with over 3,000 years of history documented, during which time the island has been known by many different names. Given the island’s location and deep harbors, Sri Lanka proved a vital point in international trade routes with first the Portuguese, then Dutch, then British all taking possession. During the British rule (1815-1948) and thereafter Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name that is still widely known and referenced in various bird names to this day, with the name Sri Lanka adopted in 1972. With all of the varied influence from around the world for hundreds of years the human tapestry of the island is remarkable, one area where this can be seen well is within the incredible architecture, the other is the delicious food!