Sri Lankan Wildlife: a paradise for bird watchers

Sri Lankan wildlife is legendary, from the elusive leopards of Yala National Park and the gargantuan blue whales in the south coast waters, to the kaleidoscopic array of birdlife that takes to the skies each day. Of Sri Lanka’s more than 400 species of bird, over 50 of these can be seen here at Tri. 2018 marks National Geographic’s Year of the Bird, so what better time to celebrate the winged and wonderful companions with which we share our home…

Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense psarodes)

A sub-species of the more commonly known black-rumped flameback, this woodpecker is endemic to Sri Lanka and differentiates itself with deep red wings and darker, more extensive markings. Often spotted flitting through the trees at Tri, you’ll recognise its characteristic rattling-whinnying call and undulating flight.


White-bellied Sea Eagle (Heliaeetus leucogaster)

Keen birders will spot the huge white-bellied sea eagle swooping down to pluck fish from Koggala Lake, its regular hunting ground, and the bird can often be seen roaming the grounds here at Tri. No shrinking violet, this raptor bird of prey is Sri Lanka’s largest bird — with a wingspan of up to 2.5m — and is particularly distinctive with its white head, under-wing coverts and loud, goose-like honking.


Sri Lankan Green Pigeon (Treron pompadora)

A sub-species of the fabulously-named pompadour green pigeon (also seen at Tri), this bird is thought to be endemic to Sri Lankan wildlife. Beautifully bright in colour with an emerald green body and deep purple wings, the Sri Lankan Green Pigeon usually nests alone or in small groups, and can be spotted making fast and fleeting flights with a sharp flick of the wing.


Jerdon’s Leafbird (Chloropsis jerdoni)

Living high amongst the treetops, the Jerdon’s Leafbird is easily camouflaged in Tri’s lush vegetation thanks to its small size and fluorescent green body. Eagle-eyed guests will spot the little bird hanging out in our cashew and jackfruit trees, singing its unique song made through mimicking the calls of a number of other nearby bird species.


White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

A favourite amongst birders of Sri Lankan wildlife, these gorgeously iridescent blue birds can be spotted flitting across the waters by Tri, feeding on small reptiles, amphibians, crabs and even other birds. A powerful bill and rapid flight means the species has few predators, and they are especially noticeable here at Tri during breeding season thanks to a loud morning wake up call.



Birding interest piqued? The list doesn’t stop there… Here at Tri, you’ll also find black-hooded orioles, emerald doves, red-wattled lapwings – more commonly known as the ‘did ‘e do it’ bird on account of its unique call – babblers, bul buls and barbets, peacocks, parakeets and more…

There’s a whole world of aerial Sri Lankan wildlife to discover. Keen birders: grab your binoculars, for Sri Lanka’s birding paradise awaits…

The 10 foods you must try in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan food is a melting pot of cultural influences and flavours, fusing fiery spices with sweet tropical fruits, fresh ocean fish and healing Ayurvedic herbs. The Tri team have eaten our way along the length and breadth of Sri Lanka and narrowed this down to the top 10 dishes which every traveller must taste – it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it! Read on for our highlights


Crisp and lacy-edged pancakes made with fermented rice flour, bowl-shaped hoppers are surely the most iconic Sri Lankan dish. Traditionally served for breakfast, our favourite hoppers are served with a golden-yoked egg and generous helpings of sweet onion seeni sambol and fiery lunu miris.

Credit: Nick Hopper
Credit: Nick Hopper


Flavoured with fragrant spices, fiery chillies and black pepper and sweet-sour tamarind, curries are perhaps the most famous Sri Lankan food. The humble Parippou (otherwise known as dhal) is king of the curries: mild and creamy, the perfect foil to hearty meat or vegetable curries and sweet sambols.



A pale green-to-yellow fruit, jack fruit is a staple in Sri Lankan cookery. The fruit takes on a convincingly meaty texture as it cooks and soaks up all the surrounding spices and flavours, making it the ideal base for a delicious vegetarian — or vegan — curry.

Credit: Color and Spices
Credit: Color and Spices


The ultimate quick and tasty meal, kottu roti is a delicious, spicy dish formed of flaky roti bread, which is shredded and quickly fried up with spices, fresh vegetables, meat or fish on a hot, flat grill. Travelling through regional towns and villages, you’ll often hear the rhythmic metal clacking sound of Kottu Roti being prepared. Fast, fresh and delicious!

Kottu Rotti @ Srilankan Canra


Another common Sri Lankan breakfast option, string hoppers are a far cry from their bowl-shaped cousins. These hoppers are a tangle of rice noodles, steamed and piled high with curries — a little like a savoury noodle pancake!

Credit: Flickr / Charles Haynes
Credit: Flickr / Charles Haynes


Served sizzling hot and wrapped in newspaper, ‘short eats’ are quick afternoon snacks sold to hungry passers-by at roadside stalls up and night markets and down the country. Our favourite is a fresh fritter called a vadai – a lentil-based dumpling, fried until crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, dotted with spices and fresh corn or flavoursome shrimp.



Ambul means ‘sour’, and ambul thiyal is a fittingly hearty fish curry which strikes a perfect balance between sour tamarind, sweet coconut milk and fragrant spice. Our fish is always fresh from the ocean or our very own Koggala Lake, and the curry is served with myriad accompaniments including coconut pol sambol and fresh mallum made from shredded greens.

Credit: Nick Hopper


Thick and creamy buffalo curd, paired with sweet kithul palm treacle, makes for a delicious start to the day. Add some colour with vibrant local pineapple, mango, papaya and banana, or try Tri’s famous buffalo curd ice cream, served with homemade granola!



Of all the bright and colourful fruits used in Sri Lankan food, the wood apple is not going to win any beauty contests. The small, hard, ball-shaped fruits have a tough rind and curious scent, but the smooth and sweet brown pulp aids digestion, tastes delicious and can be used in tangy chutneys, or blended with water and jaggery to make a refreshing juice.

Tri 2
Credit: Recess City


With so many delicious savoury dishes In Sri Lankan food, there’s rarely any room for dessert! One exception, however, is watalappan: a wobbly custard pudding akin to pannacotta, made with coconut milk infused with sweet jaggery, crunchy cashew nuts and fragrant spices including cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.


Finally — no meal in Sri Lanka would be complete without an amber-toned cup of the finest Ceylon tea. The national drink is grown throughout the country, along the coast and in the lush and mist-draped central highlands, picked by hand and carefully sorted and dried to produce a refreshing, fragrant brew: the ultimate taste of Sri Lanka.