Sigiriya Sanctuary, One Of The Best Places For Bird Watching

A forlorn scrap of the charming countryside of Sigiriya is hidden under the canopy of evergreen forest, which is one of the most isolated patches of forests in Sri Lanka. Sigiriya Sanctuary sits at the heart of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle and is surrounded by many thousands of years old ancient monuments. Some of the monuments are given the emblem of UNESCO world heritage sites owing to their historical importance.      

Extension of Sigiriya sanctuary

The Sigiriya forest spreads over 5099 hectares and occupies the immediate surrounding of the Sigiriya rock fortress. Sigiriya rock fortress is part of most of Sri Lanka our packages such as 5 days Sri Lanka tour, Sri Lanka 7 days classical tour, however, the jungle is not that popular. The importance of the Sigiriya sanctuary is very high, due to a large concentration of avian fauna species. Sigiriya Sanctuary is resided by more than 65 endemic, resident and migratory bird species. 

Sigiriya sanctuary is consisting of patches of forests, lakes, canals, and a surrounding road network, which serve the devotees heading to the ancient Pidurangala temple.

Sigiriya sanctuary

Why is Sigiriya Sanctuary good for Bird watching

Sinharaja rainforest is one of the best places for Bird watching in Sri Lanka, which has dense foliage with a thick canopy, upper canopy and undergrowth. Sigiriya forest has a different setting, where the forest cover is not as dense as in the Sinharaja rainforest. Therefore, spotting the birds in the Sigiriya forest is far easier in the Sigiriya forest than in Sinharaja. Some of the bird that is seen in the Sigiriya dry-zone forest cannot be spotted in rainforests. The Sigiriya jungle trek lasts around 3 hours during which the visitors are able to spot many dozens of bird species.

Shrinking Sigiriya sanctuary

The forest cover in the surrounding area of Sigiriya is decreased a lot over the last few decades mainly due to the expansion of human settlement. However, the good news is a large portion of Sigiriya sanctuary is still intact and the rugged terrain at the foothills of Sigiriya Rock is still home to a large number of wild creatures.    

The Rural village in the Sigiriya sanctuary is expanded over the last several years and the number of houses mushroomed during the last few years. As the population in the village increased deforestation targeting a part of the Sigiriya reserve has also taken place and the farming lands were expanded. Clearing part of the forest invariably means the loss of a part of the living habitat of the wild creatures.

If you take the isolated road that cut through the Sigiriya wildlife reserve, you can see the rice paddies in the jungle. People have set up small, houses along the road, which are very recently built. These people have snatched a portion of the living habitat of wild creatures such as wild elephants. These native inhabitants such as wild elephants, and wild boar are still invading their territory from time to time in search of food and water and these Wild animals cause heavy damage to the houses and crops very often.

What includes in Sigiriya jungle trekking

With the reopening of historical monuments, wildlife reserves, rainforest and all other tourist attractions to local and foreign travellers, parallel to the easing of lockdown restrictions, Tourist guides in the area increasingly offer an opportunity to do jungle trekking and bird-watching tours based on Sigiriya sanctuary.   

Sigiriya wildlife reserve is located just behind the Sigiriya rock fortress. If you have planned to spend a few days in Sigiriya, try to allocate some time to explore the Sigiriya jungle and experience the rich Fauna and Flora in Sigiriya.  The visitors can venture on a guided walking tour or a self-guided jungle walk at Sigiriya, which also includes visits to Sigiriya Rock, Pidurangala Rock temple, exploring Sigiriya Lake and an introduction to its environmental approach.

The iconic tourist attraction, Sigiriya Rock is standing at the centre of the Sigiriya jungle, which is a perfect introduction to Sri Lanka’s rich historical past and its owners. Sigiriya rock fortress had been a well-planned city with a landscaped garden dating back to the 5th century AD. Today it is one of the most visited tourist sites on the island.

One day Sri Lanka trip to Sigiriya rock

This one-day trip starts from Colombo and the trip includes another important UNESCO world heritage site in Sri Lanka, Dambulla golden cave temple. The Sigiriya one-day tour includes 2 important tourist attractions Sigiriya and Dambulla golden temple and the bush walk of Sigiriya forest cannot be included in this Sri Lanka one-day trip due to time constraints. However, the one-day trip to Sigiriya can be customized to meet the particular requirement of the participants and the trip is a Sri Lanka private trip. If the participant like it, they can omit one of the main tourist places and can visit Sigiriya forest instead.

Avian Fauna species at Sigiriya Sanctuary

Sigiriya sanctuary is resided by many raptors such as Shaheen Falcon, White Bellied Sea Eagles, Grey-Headed Fish Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle and Crested Hawk Eagle. These raptors can be observed in the sky very often, Sigiriya Lake is one of the best places to spot these raptors.

Sigiriya Sanctuary is home to a large number of avian fauna species. Therefore, the jungle walk of Sigiriya is a perfect opportunity for bird lovers to spot a large number of birds within a short period of time. The bird species that can be spotted in Sigiriya include many rare bird species, endemic bird species, migrant bird species as well as common Sri Lankan bird species.

The most common bird species than being spotted in Sigiriya forest are the Little Scops Owl, Indian Long-tailed Night-Jar, Forest Eagle Owl, Openbill, Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Green Imperial Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Ceylon Jungle Fowl, Orange-headed Ground Thrush, Indian Blue Chat, Brown-capped Babbler, White-Rumped Shama, Black-capped Bulbul, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Brown Flycatcher, Layard’s Flycatcher, Orange Minivet, Small Minivet, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Ceylon Grey Hornbill and the Blue-faced Malkoha. Our experienced naturalists will be able to assist those who are interested in learning more about the different species, their unique habitats and behaviours.

Sigiriya bird-watching tour

The Sigiriya bird-watching tour lasts about 5 hours and covers a large area surrounding area of Sigiriya rock fortress. The bird-watching tour starts near Sigiriya Lake, which is one of the best places to see a large number of birds, some of the common birds seen here are,

  • Wood Sandpiper
  • Jerdon’s Bushlark
  • Cattle Egret
  • Intermediate Egret
  • Red-wattled Lapwing
  • Indian Pond Heron
  • Plain Prinia
  • Jungle Crow
  • Pale-billed Flowerpecker
  • Common Iora
  • Scaly-breasted Munia
  • Pheasant-tailed Jacana
  • Little Grebe
  • Oriental Darter
  • Asia Paradise-flycatcher
  • Common Kingfisher
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Indian Robin
  • Marsh Sandpiper
  • Woolly-necked Stork
  • Brahminy Kite

After exploring the surrounding area of Sigiriya Lake the bird watchers move slowly inside the village of Sigiriya and while watching hirds in rice paddies, vegetable plots, patches of forests and home gardens.

Why you should visit Sigiriya Sanctuary with Seerendipity

Seerendipity Tour is an entirely locally owned travel company with a head office in Colombo. The highly experienced local staff is a key strength of Seerendipity Tours, and they can plan your dream holiday to Sri Lanka.

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When you book a tour with Seerendipity Tours, you directly book the tour with the local company, which means there are no middlemen and therefore you can guarantee the best price. Simply get in touch with us and let us know when you travel and what you like to see.

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