Kumana National Park

Kumana National Park

A total of 255 species of birds have been recorded in Kumana. Regular sightings include species such as Pelicans, Painted Storks, Spoonbills, White Ibis and Cormorants. The very rare Black-necked Stork has also been spotted in the swamp. Besides the prolific birdlife, Kumana is also home to some of the mammals found in the neighbouring Yala National Park such as elephants and leopards which can also be seen on safari. Other animals which reside inside the Kumana National Park include the Golden Jackal and the European Otter. It is also reported that approximately 30 to 40 Sri Lankan Elephants reside in the Park, although they do crossover to Yala.

birdlife at kumana national park in sri lanka

Birdlife at Kumana National Park Sri Lanka

Kumana is a very important national park for birdlife. An incredible 255 species of birds have been recorded here and from April to July, tens of thousands of birds migrate to the Kumana swamp area. Rare species such as the Black-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Eurasian Spoonbill and the Great Thick-knee are breeding inhabitants while the waders and waterfowl visit too.

The Asian Openbill, Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Great Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Spot-billed Pelican, Indian Cormorant, Little Cormorant, Common Moorhen, Watercock, Purple Swamphen, White-breasted Waterhen, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Black-winged Stilt, Lesser Whistling Duck and Little Grebe migrate here in large flocks while the Pintails fly 9,000 kilometres from far away Siberia. Rare migrant birds include the Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Malabar Trogon, Red-faced Malkoha and Sirkeer Malkoha.

Most commonly seen are the Pacific Golden Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Grey Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Common Snipe, and Pintail Snipe.

reptitles at kumana national park in srilanka

Reptiles & Amphibians at Kumana National Park

Fish species to be found in the lakes and tanks include the Tilapia and Common Mullet. Due to its coastal location, turtles are sometimes spotted coming ashore to lay eggs. These turtles include the Indian Black turtle and the Indian Flap-shelled turtle. Mugger crocodiles can also be seen here.

Flora at Kumana National Park

The Park's wetland areas are surrounded by dry zone tropical thorn forest. The inland forest's flora is dominated by Manilkara hexandra, which is known as Palu in Sinhala. There is also a range of aquatic plants, trees and reeds.

a leopard at yla east national park in sri lanka
History and Geography

Kumana National Park Sri Lanka originally known as the Yala East National Park, was renamed Kumana National Park in 2006. Its elevation ranges from sea-level to the low height of 90 metres, and has an average annual temperature of 27°C and an annual rainfall of 1,300 mm.

Birders who visit the Park are usually amazed at the sheer diversity of species that call Kumana home, a fact which can be attested to by the presence of 20 lagoons and tanks. These tanks are generally less than 2 metres deep and are often flooded by seawater and frequently dot the landscape of the Park. The Kumana Bird Sanctuary, within the boundaries of the Kumana National Park, was declared a protected area in 1938, and is rated as one of the most important breeding grounds in Sri Lanka.

Ancient cave inscriptions have been discovered here dating back to the 1st and 2nd Centuries BC. Buddhist and Hindu devotees annually cross the Kumana area on their foot pilgrimage to the nearby Temple in Kataragama.

Climate at Kumana National Park

Around 20 lagoons and tanks support the extensive birdlife of the Kumana National Park. The Kumana Villu is subject to occasional inundation with seawater. The elevation of the area ranges from sea level to 90 metres, the mean annual temperature is 27°C and the area receives 1,300 mm of annual rainfall.

The best time to visit Kumana National Park

Birdlife can be observed in the Kumana National Park throughout the year, but the best time to visit is during the first half of the year when the waterholes are full.

How to get to Kumana National Park

There are two routes from Colombo, they fork off at Pelmadulla and meet again at Wellawaya, one going via Beragala and Koslanda and the other via Thimbolketiya, Udawalawe and Thanamalwila. From Wellawaya the road goes through Moneragala, Pottuvil and Panama. There is only one entrance to the Park from Panama, through the Kudumbigala Sanctuary. The distance from Colombo is approximately 391 km. You can also take an air taxi from Colombo (Peliyagoda) and land in Arugam Bay. From there reach the Kumana National Park by road. By helicopter: take off either from the Bandaranaike Airport or Ratmalana and land in Kumana and then reach the Park by road.

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