Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park, located on the southeastern coast of Sri Lanka, holds significant international importance as a wintering ground for migratory water birds. With a diverse range of habitats, Bundala is home to 197 bird species, with the highlight being the Greater Flamingo, known to migrate in large flocks. Originally designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1969, Bundala was officially declared a national park on January 4, 1993. In 1991, it earned the distinction of being the first wetland in Sri Lanka to be designated as a Ramsar site. Additionally, in 2005, UNESCO recognized Bundala National Park as a biosphere reserve, marking it as the fourth biosphere reserve in Sri Lanka. The park is situated approximately 245 kilometers southeast of Colombo.

The ecological diversity of Bundala National Park encompasses seven terrestrial habitat types and six wetland types. Predominantly characterized by dry thorny shrubs and herbs, the park boasts a rich variety of plant life, with 383 recorded plant species belonging to 90 families.

As an Important Bird Area in the South Indian and Sri Lankan wetlands, Bundala is home to a remarkable array of wildlife. A total of 324 vertebrate species have been documented in the park, including 32 species of fish, 15 species of amphibians, 48 species of reptiles, 197 species of birds, and 32 species of mammals. Among the invertebrates, 52 species of butterflies have been identified.

The wetland habitats within Bundala National Park are particularly significant, hosting approximately 100 species of water birds, half of which are migratory. Despite its predominantly avian focus, Bundala is also home to a small population of Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) residing within its forests.

Moreover, the coastal areas adjacent to Bundala serve as critical breeding grounds for all five species of globally endangered sea turtles that migrate to Sri Lanka, further emphasizing the park’s ecological significance and biodiversity.