Yala National Park is an excellent place for birdwatching in Sri Lanka – over 100 species can be easily spotted in a full day’s visit to the park. Around 230 species of resident, migrant and endemic species of birds have been recorded in Yala. Endemics include: the Sri Lankan jungle fowl, that can be seen along the edges of the roads any time of day; brown-capped babbler; Sri Lanka grey hornbill; Sri Lanka wood shrike; Sri Lanka green pigeon, and Red-faced Malkoha. Resident dry zone species include Malabar-pied hornbill, blue-faced and shirkeer malkoha, yellow-wattled lapwing, great and Eurasian thick-knee, the globally endangered lesser adjutant and the extremely rare black-necked stork.
Many water birds can also be found in the park including painted storks, the globally threatened spot-billed pelican, Indian and little cormorants, Indian darter, little grebe, Asian open-bill, Eurasian spoonbill, woolly-necked stork, purple and grey herons and five species of egrets. Migrating waders include the marsh, common, wood and green sandpipers, curlew sandpiper, little stints, common redshank, common greenshank, Kentish plover, lesser and greater sand plover, golden plover, grey plover, pintail snip, back-tailed godwit, ten species of terns and two species of gull. Yala has many excellent places to observe diurnal birds of prey, including the endangered grey headed fish eagle, crested serpent eagle, crested hawk-eagle, white-bellied sea eagle, Brahaminy kite and Shirkra.