Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary

Location: North West Province (Puttalam District), 90 kilometres from Colombo

Area: 14 square kilometres
Avg. Temperature: 25 °C – 30 °C
Avg. Annual Rainfall: 1000 mm

Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary is nestled between the coast and the Negombo railway line. Declared a sanctuary in 1997, this area is surrounded by lush paddy fields and is home to seven ancient reservoirs, which were built by King Parakramabahu the Great, back in 1140 AD! Anawilundawa is the second RAMSAR wetland site in Sri Lanka and has proudly recorded the sighting of more than 20, 000 birds of 150 species! Three peripheral tanks are interconnected to create a complex irrigation system that has supplied water to paddy fields around the area for over 800 years.

Anawilundawa is marshy and packed with luscious vegetation. Water lilies such as Olu and Manel crowd the water-logged soil which is surrounded by tall grass with patches of thick forest growing here and there. It is one of the finest wetlands in the island for sighting water birds. During the migration season, a large variety of birds can be seen using this area as feeding ground as well as breeding ground. An abundant number of Waterfowl are found here including the Little Grebe, Lesser Whistling Duck and the Cotton Teal. Migrant birds like the Sand-piper, Pintail, Garganey Common and Pintail Snipe are seen seasonally. In addition to these water birds, large numbers of Asian Open-bill and Little Cormorants also nest here. Endemic species include the Ceylon Wood shrike and the Ceylon Swallow.

Mammals such as the Grey Mongoose are found here as well as 10 species of amphibians and 30 species of reptiles. The streams are home to a number of threatened fish species. After the North-east Monsoon the herbaceous edges are a good habitat for butterflies. Common and Plain Tigers, Lemon Pansy, The Joker, Crimson Rose, Common Sailor, Chocolate Soldier are a few to name.

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