Mannar Bird Sanctuary

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The Palmyrah House - Google

A beautiful haven for rare and exotic bird species. Mannar Bird Sanctuary is a 4,800 hectare wetland homing 149 different species of mostly aquatic and semi-aquatic birds, and over 60 species of fish, turtles, crocodiles and dugongs. Also known as the Vankalai Sanctuary, it is located by the Vankalai Lagoon and was declared as a sanctuary in 2008 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Mannar Bird Sanctuary is an arid locality supporting several ecosystems, such as salt marshes, lagoons, mangroves, madflats, grasslands and waterholes. This has led to the growth of habitats for a vast population of migratory and local birds. Several uncommon birds, including the spot-billed duck, comb duck, migrant water fowl, long-toed stint, peregrine falcons, flamingoes and the very rare Eastern Black-tailed Godwit, can be spotted here. 

Mannar region is the first stop of migrant birds when they arrive in Sri Lanka, and it is also their last staging point before they leave the country at the end of the season. If you are a bird enthusiast, this is undoubtedly the best spot for you to witness an amazing variety of water and wader birds. The migratory season is from December to January.