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Uda Walawe National Park

Uda Walawe National Park

Uda Walawe was declared as a national park in 1972 and was at one time an area where destructive slash and burned chena cultivation was widespread. The area was declared as a national park with the intention of safeguarding the flora and fauna in the catchment area of the reservoir on the Walawe river. With ample water and rich nutrition from the scrub jungles and grasslands, Uda Walawe is a stronghold of the Asian Elephant and one of the best places to see them in the wild year-round. You can get good views of the small herds of females and their young grazing on the tall grasses or immersing themselves in the water while the lone bulls are often found within close vicinity of the herds. Grey Langur, Toque Macaque, Jackal, Mugger Crocodile and Spotted Deer are the other larger animals seen occasionally. Uda Walawe also has occasional sightings of Jungle Cat, an elusive medium sized feline which is seldom seen. The park is an excellent biding destination too especially for dry-zone species and raptors. Changeable Hawk Eagle, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite, Shikra, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Common Kestrel and Brown Fish Owl are some of the raptors regularly encountered here.

Birding in Uda Walawe

With a variety of habitats from grassland, scrub jungles, waterholes and large tank and the Walawe river flowing through the heart of the park bordered by riverine forests, Uda Walawe is among the top birding destinations in the dry-zone. The park is excellent for raptors; Changeable Hawk Eagle, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite, Shikra, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Common Kestrel and Brown Fish Owl are species seen here regularly. Lesser, Intermediate and Greater Egrets along with Indian Darter, Woolly-necked Stork, Asian Openbill and Painted Stork are seen around the waterholes. Rarities including Marshall’s Lora, Orange-headed Thrush, Sirkeer Malkoha and the White-naped Woodpecker. It is best to visit during the winter months from November – March to see a greater variety of species due to the presence of winter migrants.

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