Kumana National park is host to more than 200 bird species!
Kumana National Park was originally named Yala East until it was renamed in 2006. The park is a popular destination because of the multitudes of elephants, leopards and other mammals that are to be found here. As for birds, there is no shortage of them as over 225 species are to be spotted here. This is especially true during the migratory season when their chirps, hoots and calls ring through the foliage and across the lagoons and tanks they feed and nest in.
As for the flora, the large swathes of mangrove and marshes are a beauty in their own right. The ‘Kumana Villu’, a 200-hectare natural swamp lake, watered by the ‘Kumbukkan Oya’ river is one such beauty to be admired. During the period between April and July, tens of thousands of birds are to be seen.
Besides the fauna, Kumana is also reputed for its cultural heritage made of rock carvings and engravings dating back to the 2nd century BC. If you are keen on visiting them, you will have to ask your guide to take you to see the 9 metre long statue of the lying Buddha at Bambaragastalawa (beware the statue is in a very sorry state of preservation) or to Bowattagala where there are ruins of a monastery.
Two campsites on the banks of the Kumbukkan Oya are now open to the public, but must be booked through the Wildlife Department. Luxury options too are available for those who want to camp out in style.
What can you expect to spot?
Easily: Elephant, Spotted Deer, Marsh Crocodile, Indian Flap-shelled Turtle, Indian Black Turtle, Mongoose, Pelican, Painted Stork, Spoonbill, Egret, Little Cormorant, Peacock, Greater Flamingo, White Ibis, Heron, Pheasant, 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.
If you use your senses: Leopard, Wild Boar, Rusty-spotted cat, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Malabar Trogon, Red-faced Malkoha and Sirkeer Malkoha.
If you are lucky: European Otter, Fishing Cat, Golden Jackal, Black-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Eurasian Spoonbill and Great Thick-knee.