Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary

Known for being a major biodiversity hotspot for a host of wildlife, most notably endemic and migrant bird species, the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary has become a resplendent sanctuary for winged animals to take refuge from the harsh winters of Siberia, Scandinavia and Western Europe. Thus being named a major bird watching destination in the country. Go ahead, paddle boat across the coastal lagoons of the sanctuary and experience the many musical notes, chirped by the many bird species.

Best Known For

  • The Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is famed for being a haven for the bird watcher as it boasts of around a 150 species of birds, of which quite a number of them are migrant species.
  • The bird sanctuary is also famed for being one of the quieter bird sanctuaries, in terms of the number of human visitors, due to its more popular neighbour, the Bundala National Park. Therefore, giving a much more authentic rustic feel, as opposed to your typical ‘zoological park’ feel.
  • Another feature that has caught the eye of many a nature lover is the relatively untouched beauty of the coastal lagoons that boast many mangrove swamps and scrub jungles, perfect for a thriving marine life too.

Interesting Facts

  • The Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary was initially a 2,500 hectare sanctuary, first recognized in 1938. However, due to opposition of the local residents, the boundaries were considerably shrunken and in 1984 was declared an official bird sanctuary.
  • Although the history of the sanctuary is marred with controversy, it presently is one of the major bird sanctuaries in the country that boasts of some of the more unique flora and fauna the country possesses.
  • Presently, the sanctuary is home to more than 150 species of birds, 41 species of fish, 38 species of reptiles and 20 species of mammals.
  • What is more interesting is that 4 of the bird species are nationally threatened, namely, the Indian Reef Heron, Glossy Ibis, Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl and the Black-capped Purple Kingfisher.
  • Moreover, 4 species of mammals such as the Shrew, Toque Monkey, Spiny Rat and the Tree Mouse are endemic ones that have been recorded to dwell within the sanctuary.
  • It is also confirmed that a majority of the reptiles that take refuge here are internationally threatened species.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The bird sanctuary is open daily from 6:00am to 6:00pm and has no entrance fee, however, it is highly advisable to access the park through approved tour companies.
  • The tour companies generally organize two excursions a day; one in the early morning and in the evening.
  • The season to witness the best of the bird sanctuary is during the months from November to March, when migrant birds take refuge at the sanctuary alongside the endemic birds of Sri Lanka.
  • Do ask for a breakdown of the services and costs from the tour companies, so that you have a clear idea of what you are actually paying for.
  • Make sure you are clad appropriately to traverse through the mangrove swamps and scrub jungles, since you can opt for a jungle walk inside the sanctuary and partake in other nature activities.
  • Please adhere to the tour guide’s instructions, along with the rules and regulations set forth by the relevant authorities.
  • Please refrain from bringing polythene and also keep your surroundings clean.
  • Do not forget to bring your camera.

All in all, the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary may be overshadowed by its Bundala neighbour, however, a closer look inside the sanctuary would make anyone wonder why it is so, since the sanctuary boasts of some unique kaleidoscopic wonders, perfect for the nature lover.

Title image by: Roshie Kahandawela

Location info



November - March

Guided Tour

Kalametiya Eco Bird Watching
Kalametiya Bird Watching & Ecotourism


Nature and Outdoors

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