There are 34 endemic bird species in Sri Lanka. There are 492 bird species recorded on the island, 219 of which are breeding residents. Sri Lanka is recognized by BirdLife International as one of the world’s Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs). The number of endemic species has fluctuated dramatically over the years. This is due in large part to “close taxonomic revisions.” The number of endemic species has ranged from a low of 20 to a high of 47. Since 1977, the figure has hovered around 21. In 1990, two new species were added, bringing the total to 23. Since then, many authorities have accepted this figure. Wijesinghe published A checklist of the birds of Sri Lanka in 1994, which considered the addition of three more species, but this decision was not widely accepted because its rationale was not consistent with rigorous taxonomic practice. Subsequent publications on the avifauna of Sri Lanka and the South Asian region did not include these three species as endemics. However, some Sri Lankans thought the endemics proposed by Wijesinghe were acceptable. This could be due to an over-eagerness to increase endemic numbers in order to improve the ornithological image and increase demand for commercial birdwatching.

Warakagoda and Rasmussen described the Serendib Scops-owl Otus thilohofmanni in 2001. This is the first new bird species discovered in Sri Lanka since the 1868 description of the Sri Lanka whistling-thrush (Myophonus blighi). Some proposals have been made for species-level taxonomic revisions, and thus endemic status in Sri Lanka. In common names, the country prefix “Sri Lanka” is usually reserved for endemic species. However, Kotagama et al. (2006) disagree with Sibley and Monroe (1990) on the use of “Ceylon” in common species names, arguing that it should reflect the change in the island’s official English name from Ceylon to Sri Lanka. According to Sibley and Monroe, “Ceylon” is the geographical unit, and “Sri Lanka” is the country that occupies the island. The geographical name is typically used for animal ranges, such as Madagascar, rather than the Malagasy Republic.”


Sri Lanka Bush-Warbler - Endemic Birds - Sri Lanka
Elaphrornis Palliseri

Sri Lanka Drongo

Drongo - Endemic Bird
Dicrurus Lophorinus

Yellow-Eared Bulbul

Yellow-Eared Bulbul - Endemic Birds
Pycnonotus Penicillatus

Black-capped Bulbul

Black-Capped Bulbul - Endemic Birds
Elaphrornis Palliseri

Blue Magpie

Blue Magpie - Endemic Birds
Urocissa Ornata

Yellow-Fronted Barbet

Yellow-Fronted Barbet - Endemic Birds
Psilopogon Flavifrons

Red-Backed Flame-back

Red-Backed Flameback - Endemic Bird
Dinopium Psarodes

Crimson-Backed Flameback

Crimson-Backed Flameback - Endemic birds
Chrysocolaptes Stricklandi

Chestnut-backed Owlet

Chestnut-Backed Owlet - Endemic Birds
Glaucidium Sastanotum

Serendib Scops Owl

Otus Thilohoffmanni

Green-Billed Coucal

Green-Billed Coucal - Endemic Birds
Centropus Chlororhynchos

Red-Faced Malkoha

Red-Faced Malkoha - Endemic Bird
Phaenicophaeus, Pyrrhocephalus

Layard’s Parakeet

Layard’s Parakeet - Endemic Birds
Psittacula Calthrapae

Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot

Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot - Endemic Bird
Loriculus Beryllinus

Sri Lanka Green Pigeon

Sri Lanka Green Pigeon- Endemic Birds
Treron Pompadora

Sri Lanka Spurfowl

Sri Lanka Spurfowl - Endemic Birds
Galloperdix Bicalcarata

Brown-Capped Babbler

Brown-Capped Babbler - Endemic Birds
Pellorneum Fuscocapillus

Blue-tailed Bee-Eater

Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater- Endemic Birds
Merops Philippinus

Black-Crested Bulbul

Black-Crested Bulbul - Endemic Birds
Rubigula Flaviventris

Crimson-Fronted Barbet

Crimson-Fronted Barbet - Endemic Birds
Psilopogon Rubricapillus

Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon

Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon - Endemic Birds
Columba Torringtoniae

Sri Lankan Junglefowl

Sri Lankan Junglefowl - Endemic Birds - Sri Lanka
Gallus Lafayettii

Sri Lanka Grey Horn-Bill

Sri Lanka Grey Horn-Bill - Endemic Birds - Sri Lanka
Ocyceros Gingalensis

The table provided here is subject to change with expert advice as and when received since I’m not an expert on this matter. Hence, please do let me know if there is anything to be changed or corrected.

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