Talangama Wetlands | Colombo | Red Dot Tours

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Talangama Wetlands

Located just a few kilometres from Colombo’s city centre, the Talangama Wetlands are an oasis of peace within a sprawling urban jungle and are one of the last remaining wetlands in Sri Lanka’s capital, the others having been built upon. This marshland is extraordinarily diverse and attracts a lot of wildlife, including 100 species of bird, numerous types of butterfly and dragonfly and some small mammals which are more commonly spotted in the early morning or late evening. Talangama is a fantastic choice if you are a keen birder, beginning your Sri Lanka birding holiday or seeking a tranquil spot in the heart of the island’s capital city.


The birding highlights include many species of water birds, such as the resident purple swamphen, common moorhen, pheasant-tailed jacana, little grebe, little cormorant, cattle, egrets, oriental darter, purple heron, grey heron, red-wattled lapwing, Indian pond heron, black-crowned night-heron, little heron, back bitten and yellow bitten. Also Asian open-bill, the occasional painted stork, plenty of black-headed ibis and, during the migrant season, the elusive glossy ibis has also been seen here. Lesser whistling teal, cotton pigmy-goose and a few varieties of raptors have also been recorded. This wetland is also home to four species of kingfisher: pied, common, white-throated and – the largest in Sri Lanka – the stork-billed kingfisher.

Whilst there are many birds to be seen all year round at Talangama, it is particularly rewarding for birdwatching between November and April, when the migrant waders and other migrant birds stop over here on their journey to the south coast. These species include: common sandpiper; kentish, lesser-sand and golden plover; mash sandpiper; common redshank and common greenshank; wood and curlew sandpiper; black-wing stilt, and little stint.

Many species of forest birds also can be seen at Talangama, including green imperial pigeon, emerald and spotted dove, greater coucal, rose-ringed parakeet, Asian koel, Indian scops owl, brown hawk-owl, little green bee-eater, Ceylon small barbet, Indian pigmy woodpecker, lesser yellownape, black-rumped flamback. There are also migrant species including the Indian pitta, barn swalloe and forest and yellow wagtails.

Dragonflies & Butterflies

Talangama is one of the best places to photograph butterflies and dragonflies in Sri Lanka as you can get very close to them. There are a wide range of species in a variety of beautiful colours. The best time to spot them is in the afternoon.


The endangered and endemic purple-faced leaf monkey is found here, in good numbers as it is one of the last remaining patches of their habitat in Colombo. Other mammals found here include the Indian porcupine, brown mongoose, citvit cat and fishing cat.

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