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Sinharaja’s importance as Sri Lanka’s only primarily lowland rainforest is recognised by UNESCO, and is a must for wildlife enthusiasts. Located in the southwest of the island, it is a special place.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve contains many endemic plants, animals and birds, including some 139 varieties of Sri Lanka’s 830 endemic trees, and is one of the few places where you can see Sri Lanka hanging parrot. Pretty bamboo orchids grow beside the trails, and many trees are adorned with epiphytes

A wonderful diversity of butterflies occurs in the forest, including spectacular blue morphos and bird-wings, dancing like windblown paper through the high canopy. Lizards are plentiful, and the residents include a number of rare endemics. Although many mammals inhabit Sinharaja, sightings are always a matter of luck due to the density of the undergrowth. However, troupes of purple-faced leaf monkeys reveal their presence by the fearsome roaring calls of the males.

Sinharaja is noted for its birdlife, much of which is endemic including four eagles: mountain hawk, black, cresented serpent and rufous-bellied eagle. Some of the myriad of other species include: crested goshawk, Sri Lanka spurfowl, Layard’s parakeet, red-faced malkoha, green-billed coucal, Malabar trogon, brown-backed needletail, chestnut-backed owlet, yellow-fronted barbet, black-crested bulbul, yellow-browed bulbul, spot-winged thrush, orange-billed babbler, ashy-headed laughing thrush, Sri Lanka blue magpie, white-faced starling, hill myna, Sri Lanka myna and black-throated munia. Even at midday it is possible to encounter one of the mixed species ’bird waves,’ which usually comprise orange-billed babblers in association with crested drongos, Malabar trogons, red-faced malkohas, blue magpies and a miscellany of other species

View suggested itinerary

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: crested serpent eagle, purple-faced langur, green pit viper, orange-billed babbler, red-faced malkoha
  • Where: Sabaragamuwa & Southern province, Sri Lanka

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itinerary:

Sri Lanka’s Wildlife Highlights

Wildlife enthusiasts! Immerse yourself completely in the stunning scenery of a variety of National Parks and the heritage sites of this beautiful country. This itinerary takes in several parks, where you can spot leopard, elephant and a myriad of bird species, including some endemics.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,645 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Blue Magpie Lodge

Located a few minutes’ drive from the entrance to Sinharaja, this lodge has 12 simple rooms with en-suite bathrooms with hot water. There are more than 20 endemic bird species in the surrounding forest, and the nearby river is a perfect spot for a refreshing dip after a birdwatching walk.