Annaiwilundawa, meaning ‘seven wetlands or tanks’ in Tamil, is the second largest Ramsar wetland in Sri Lanka. This is a very important wetland for many resident and migratory birds and its proximity to Colombo and Negombo makes this excellent day’s visit for birdwatchers stay in or close to Sri Lanka’s capital. Annaiwilundawa was declared a sanctuary in 1997 – though not protected by legislation, the cluster of irrigation tanks within the sanctuary are recognized as some of the most important habitats for both resident and migratory birds. The best time to visit Annaiwilundawa is during the months from October to April.
These wetlands are also some of the most important nesting sites for water birds such as the Asian Open-bills, Painted Storks, all specie of Egrets, Little Indian and the endangered Great Cormorants, Spot-billed Pelican and Black-headed Ibis. This wildlife sanctuary is also very good for spotting butterflies and dragonflies, including lemon pansy, oakblue, common and plain tiger, crimson rose, joker, orange tip, common sailor and chocolate soldier.