Knuckles Nature Reserve

Knuckles Nature Reserve

The mountain range situated in Central Sri Lanka that takes the shape of clenched fists is referred to as Knuckles Mountain Range. The colonial British gave this name based on its formation of recumbent folds and peaks. However, it is known in the local tongue as Dumbara Kanduvetiya, meaning ‘mist-laden mountain range’.The Knuckles Mountain Range covers parts of the Kandy and Matale districts in Sri Lanka. It is separated from the Central Hills by the Mahaweli Valley to the South and East, and the Matale Valley to the West.

a butterfly at knuckles nature reserve in sri lanka

It has an amazing diversity of plants, and species that makes it stand out as one of the most amazing places to visit in Sri Lanka. A unique feature here is that Knuckles seems to have its own climatic microcosm and is home to a higher percentage of the island’s biodiversity - despite its small size. The vegetation found at Knuckles is divided into five types, these are: semi evergreen, sub montane, montane and riverine forests, and the pathana and savannah grasslands.

31 species of mammals have been recorded in Knuckles, four of which are endemic. Wild Buffalo, Wild Boar, Black-naped Hare, Jackal, the endemic Toque Macaque & Purple-faced Leaf Monkey are commonplace. Fishing Cats and Mouse Deer have also been spotted.

the nature of knuckles nature reserve in sri lanka

20 species of amphibians have been recorded in the Knuckles wilderness of which 12 are both endemic and endangered. A highlight is Kirthisinghe's Rock Frog, which is found nowhere else in the world. 53 species of reptiles have been identified here of which 23 are endemic. Most commonly spotted during a nature trek are small geckos, pythons and monitor lizards. Among the endemic lizard species found at the Knuckles Range are Crestless Lizards (Calotes Leocephalus), Pygmy Lizards (Cophotis ceylonica), Kangaroo Lizards (Otocryptus Wiegmanni) and Leaf-nosed Lizards (Ceretophora Tennennti). There are 25 species of freshwater fish as well.

Over 130 species of birds inhabit the Knuckles Mountain Range and 20 of these are endangered. The endemics are represented by the Sri Lankan White Eye, Sri Lankan Hanging Parrot, Sri Lankan Layard’s Parakeet, Sri Lankan Spur Fowl, Sri Lankan Spot Wing Thrush, Sri Lankan Wood Pigeon, Sri Lankan Green Pigeon and the rare Sri Lankan Whistling Thrush. Migrants include Asian Paradise Flycatchers, Kashmir Flycatcher (which is endangered) Indian Pitta, Common Sandpiper, Gray and Forest Wagtails, Greenish Warbler and the Indian Blue Chat.

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