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.