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Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka is a fascinating country, with a rich culture, dramatic scenery and a variation in landscape that belies its small size.  As one of the world's hotspots of biodiversity the island contains an impressive selection of species, including a high number of endemic birds and mammals, some of Asia's most sought after large mammals, and an impressive cetacean diversity in its surrounding waters.


The island is divided into distinct climatic zones.  The wet zone of the southwest corner, most strongly influenced by moisture-laden winds of the southwest monsoon, is characterised by lowland rainforests with affinities to south India's Western Ghats.  The region's central highlands displaying windswept and stunted vegetation akin to south India's montane Shola ecosystem.  To the north and southeast, in the rain shadow, is the island's dry zone, dominated by scrub jungle and coastal lagoons. 


Sri Lanka's forests are among the most floristically rich in Asia, and for some fauna it has the highest density of species in the world.  For an island of its size Sri Lanka has an astonishingly rich resident avifauna with 455 recorded species, 34 of which, including the recently discovered Serendib Scops-owl, are endemic to the island.  In addition to these endemic specialities Sri Lanka is home to a good number of species shared only with peninsular India, and hosts a selection of migrant visitors from India and further afield during the northern winter.  126 mammal species occur, of which 21 are endemic, with important populations of the Sri Lankan subspecies of Asian Elephant and Leopard - Yala National Park being one of the best sites in the world to see the latter.  The islands is also home to an exceptional variety of butterflies, with 242 species and 20 endemics. 


Sri Lanka is also emerging as a prime destination for seabird and cetacean pelagics.  20 species of pelagic bird annually migrate through the coastal waters of Sri Lanka, while 27 cetaceans have been recorded here, including Blue Whale - the largest animal ever to have lived, which can be found where the continental shelf narrows and drops away just 4 miles from the southern shore.



Sri Lanka - birds and wildlife

Tour Code: SL001 / 14 days (16 days with tour extension)

A two-week exploration of all of Sri Lanka's distinct climatic zones, with realistic chances of all 34 endemic birds, an array of endemic mammals, Leopard at Yala, and Blue Whale among a host of cetaceans possible during the tour extension.