Sunrise Birding LLC - Birding & Wildlife Tours
Home | Tours | Trip Reports | News |  Team |  Calendar | Links | Contact | Store | Mailing List
Sapphire Flutterer (Rhyothemis triangularis)SRI LANKA Dragonflies!
May 17 - 30, 2020

Experience the beautiful
teardrop of India

Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

To date there have been 124 species of dragonfly identified on the lush island of Sri Lanka with almost half of these, around 52, being endemic. Such a high level of endemism makes this a wonderful country Yellow-fronted Barbetto visit for those of us interested in these fascinating and beautiful insects.

Our tour is led by an expert on Sri Lanka's dragonflies and our itinerary has been designed to see a good variety of them. Visiting many well-known areas such as Sinharaja, Kitulgala, Newara Eliya and Sigiriya, we will search ponds, streams, rivers, wetlands and any area that will produce our target species.

The island of Sri Lanka obviously holds more for the general naturalist than just dragonflies, although this will be the main focus of this tour. Because we are in good habitats we will also look for many of the special endemic bird species, as well as butterflies, mammals and reptiles which will make this a very interesting and exciting tour to an absolutely fascinating and beautiful country.

Trip Cost & Travel Planning>     Registration Form>  
Photos: Sapphire Flutterer (Rhyothemis triangularis), Yellow-fronted Barbet.

Day 1:   Arrive Colombo - Talangama - 17th May
Elusive Adjutant (Aethriamanta brevipennis)Plan on a morning arrival in Colombo, the capitol of Sri Lanka no later than 9 AM. (We can arrange a night in a hotel near the airport the night before at an additional cost if necessary.)   One everyone is settled in we will make our first excursion to Talangama on the outskirts of this vast city. Here we see our first tropical dragonfly species such as Wandering Wisp (Agriocnemis pygmaea), Painted Waxtail (Ceriagrion cerinorubellum), Yellow Waxtail (Ceriagrion coromandelianum), Orange-faced Sprite (Pseudagrion rubiceps ceylonicum), Asian Groundling (Brachythemis contaminata), Pied Parasol (Neurothemis tulia) and Variegated Flutterer (Rhyothemis variegata) and with luck we could find the sought after Elusive Adjutant (Aethriamanta brevipennis). Night Tamarind Tree Hotel.

Day 2:   Beddagana - Padukka - 18th May
After breakfast we will set off with a packed lunch for a full day excursion to Beddagana Wetland. Here we will look for a variety of species along boardwalks and marsh edges such as Marsh Dancer (Onychargia atrocyana), Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens), Sociable Glider (Tramea limbata), Variegated Flutterer (Rhyothemus variegate), Malabar Sprite (Pseudagrion malabaricum) and Blue Sprite (Pseudagrion microcephalum).

Sri Lanka Red-striped Threadtail (Elattoneura tenax)In the afternoon we will check another area called Ingiriya where different species will be sought and could include Sri Lanka Forktail (Macrogomphus lankanensis), Sri Lanka Adam’s Gem (Libellago adami), Sri Lanka Two-spotted Threadtail (Elattoneura oculata), Sri Lanka Red-striped Threadtail (Elattoneura tenax), Sri Lanka Jungle Threadtail (Elattoneura caesia), Crimson Dropwing (Trithemis aurora) and Oriental Greenwing (Neurobasis chinensis). As we are in a protected wetland we should be able to find a few interesting species of birds and amphibians, plus a nice assortment of butterflies. Night in Kahanda Kanda, Padukka.


Day 3:  Bodhinagala - Sinharaja - 19th May
After breakfast we will take an excursion to Bodhinagala Forest Reserve, a moderately small strip of secondary lowland rainforest, which is surprisingly rich with flora and fauna. It is home to over 150 species of bird including endemic species such as the Green-billed Coucal, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul, and Spot-winged Thrush as well as Sri Lanka Frogmouth and the Malabar Trogon. Butterflies of many species can be found here including the Tawny Rajah, and endemic mammal species include the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and Toque Macaque, plus the Grizzled Indian Squirrel.

Sri Lanka Shining Gossamerwing (Euphaea splendens)Dragonfly and damselflies we will search for include Sri Lanka Two-spotted Threadtail (Elattoneura oculata), Sri Lanka Red-striped Threadtail (Elattoneura tenax), Sri Lanka Jungle Threadtail (Elattoneura caesia), Sri Lanka Shining Gossamerwing (Euphaea splendens), Painted Waxtail (Ceriagrion cerinorubellum), Sri Lanka Nietnner’s Shadowdamsel (Ceylonosticta nietneri), Sri Lanka Brinck’s Shadowdamsel (Ceylonosticta brincki) Spine-tufted Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysis) and Sri Lanka Black-tipped Flashwing (Vestalis apicalis).

After lunch we will proceed to the famous Sinharaja Forest Reserve where if time permits we can explore around the hotel garden and nearby stream. Some of the species likely will include Spine-tufted Skimmers (Orthetrum chrysis), Indigo Dropwings (Trithemis festiva), Sapphire Flutterer (Rhyothemis triangularis), Green’s Gem (Libellago greeni) and Painted Waxtail (Ceriagrion cerinorubellum). Night in Blue Magpie Lodge, Sinharaja.

Days 4 & 5:   Sinharaja - 20th & 21st May
Ebony Gem (Libellago corbeti)Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the single most important site in Sri Lanka in terms of endemic species. It represents the largest tract of lowland rainforest in the country. All but a few of the island's 34 endemic bird species occur here.

Many of the dragonfly species in Sinharaja are difficult to find, but the rewards are high, as some of these species have only been seen by a handful of people. In particular, we will try to find Ebony Gem (Libellago corbeti), a species only discovered in 2007 and only on one tiny stream in Sinharaja.

There are many exciting dragonflies here, possible species including the very Vermilion Foresterrare Fruhstorfer’s Jungle Watcher (Hylaeothemis fruhstorferi) and Vermilion Forester (Lyriothemis defonsekai) both Sinharaja specialties, plus Sapphire Flutterer (Rhyothemis triangularis), Restless Demon (Indothemis limbata sita), Rapacious Flangetail (Ictinogomphus rapax), Malay Lilysquatter (Paracercion malayanum), Yellow Waxtail (Ceriagrion coromandelianum), Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina), Asian Pintail (Acisoma panorpoides), Asian Groundling (Brachythemis contaminata), Oriental Scarlet (Crocothemis servilia), Dark Glittering Threadtail (Elattoneura centralis) and Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens).


Sri Lanka Blue Magpie by Gina NicholSinharaja has long been famous for its endemic birds and during our search for dragonflies we will no doubt come across some of them, including Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and with luck a day-roosting Sri Lanka Frogmouth or Serendib Scops-Owl. Amazing large Water Monitors can be seen, and the endemic Purple-faced Leaf Monkey will delight us.

We will have two full days to explore the Sinharaja with mid mornings and late afternoons best for the dragonflies. We also have a chance to search for more of the birds and other wildlife. Green Forest Lizards pose for us in the gardens, which can also produce great views of Legge's Flowerpecker, Layard's Parakeet, Ceylon Hill-Myna, and even Green-billed Coucal.

In the forest we will walk along the old logging tracks, where we should encounter spectacular mixed flocks of birds. Among these feeding flocks we can find Crimson-backed Flameback, Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Ceylon Scimitar-Babbler, Ceylon Crested Drongo, White-faced Starling, and noisy parties of Ashy-headed Laughingthrushes. Other species present may include Lesser Yellownape, Black-rumped Flameback, Malabar Trogon, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Green Warbler, Square-tailed Black Bulbul, Ceylon Spurfowl and Sri Lanka Junglefowl, whilst Brown-backed Needletails may be overhead. We also have chances for the endemic Serendib Scops-owl and Sri Lanka Frogmouth.
Rapacious Flangetail (Ictinogomphus rapax)Dragonflies here are plentiful although some of these are very rare, but we have another day here to look for species such as Fiery Emperor (Anax immaculifrons), Spine-tufted Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysis), Indigo Dropwing (Trithemis festiva), and Sri Lanka Cascader (Zygonyx iris ceylonicus), Asian Pintail (Acisoma panorpoides), Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina), Crimson Dropwing (Trithemis aurora), Oriental Green-wing (Neurobasis chinensis), Black-tipped Flashwing (Vestalis apicalis nigrescens), Slope-winged Forestskimmer (Cratilla lineata calverti), Amber-winged Glider (Hydrobasileus croceus), Shining Gossamerwing (Euphaea splendens) and Jungle Threadtail (Elattoneura caesia). Small ponds may hold other species such as Malabar Sprite (Pseudagrion malabaricum) and Blue Sprite (Pseudagrion microcephalum), Crimson Dropwing (Trithemis aurora), Common Bluetail (Ischnura senegalensis), Sinhalese Shadow Damselfly (Drepanosticta sinhalensis) and the fabulously named Rapacious Flangetail (Ictinogomphus rapax). 2 Nights in Blue Magpie Lodge Sinharaja.


Day 6:   Sinharaja – Gilimale – Belihuloya – 22nd May
After breakfast, drive to Gilimale forest and surrounding area. This is yet another great site for dragonflies and damsels such as Sri Lanka Red-striped Threadtail (Elattoneura tenax), Sri Lanka Jungle Threadtail (Elattoneura caesia), Sri Lanka Shining Gossamerwing (Euphaea splendens), Sri Lanka Adam’s Gem (Libellago adami), Sri Lanka Ultima Gem (Libellago finalis), Sri Lanka Dark Forestdamsel (Platysticta apicalis), Sri Lanka Wall’s Grappletail (Heliogomphus walli), Sri Lanka Brook Hooktail (Paragomphus henryi), Sri Lanka Cascader (Zygonyx iris ceylonicus), Crimson Dropwing (Trithemis aurora) and Oriental Greenwing (Neurobasis chinensis).

Sri Lanka Yerbury’s Elf (Tetrathemis yerburii)After lunch in a restaurant in Ratnapura we will proceed to Belihuloya and if time permits take an excursion around the hotel garden and river. The Sri Lanka Green’s Gem (Libellago greeni), and rare Sri Lanka Yerbury’s Elf (Tetrathemis yerburii), will be sought, alongside Pink Skimmer (Orthetrum pruinosum), Marsh Skimmer (Orthetrum luzonicum), Blue Persuer (Potamaracha congener), Sri Lanka Dark-glittering Threadtail (Elattoneura centralis), Asian Skimmer (Orthetrum glaucum), Scalloped Spreadwing (Lestes praemorsus), Sri Lanka Black-tipped Flashwing (Vestalis apicalis), Sri Lanka Shining Gossamerwing (Euphaea splendens). Night in Belihuloya Rest House Belihuloya.

Day 7:   Belihuloya – 23rd May
After breakfast we will take a packed lunch as we go and explore the surrounding area including Nonparaeil Estate and the Hiriketioya stream including a visit to Samanala Wewa if time permits. Possible species here include once again the rare Sri Lanka Yerbury’s Elf (Tetrathemis yerburii), Sri Lanka Drooping Shadowdamsel (Ceylonosticta lankanensis), Sri Lanka Jungle Threadtail (Elattoneura caesia), Sri Lanka Ultima Gem (Libellago finalis), (Vestalis apicalis), Sri Lanka Wall’s Grappletail (Heliogomphus walli) and Asian Slim (Aciagrion occidentale).
Night in Belihuloya Rest House Belihuloya.


Day 8:   Belihuloya – Nuwara Eliya – 24th May
Triangle Skimmer (Orthetrum triangulare)After breakfast we set off on the drive to Nuwara Eliya, on the lookout for some more endemic species. A walk around nearby wetlands and nature trails for new sightings of forest species and a visit to the Hakgala Botanical Gardens located about 7 miles outside Nuwara Eliya should give us the chance to see Mountain Reedling (Indolestes gracilis), Malay Lilysquatter (Paracercion malayanum), Common Bluetail (Ischnura senegalensis), Triangle Skimmer (Orthetrum triangulare), Fiery Emperor (Anax immaculifrons), Sociable Glider (Tramea limbata) and Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii). This area is also good for Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, plus bird species that could include Pied Thrush, Indian Pitta and Dull Blue Flycatcher. Night Heaven Seven Hotel Nuwara Eliya.


Day 9:   Nuwara Eliya - Kithulgala – 25th May
Green's Gem (Libellago greeni) After breakfast we will visit Horton Plains National Park. Species here could include Sri Lanka Dark Knob-tipped Shadowdamsel (Ceylonosticta montana), Mountain Reedlings (Indolestes gracilis) and Common Bluetails (Ischnura senegalensis), Triangle Skimmer (Orthetrum triangulare), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Dark-shouldered cornuted Shadowdamsel (Ceylonosticta tropica). We will then make our way to Kitulgala. Possible species here include Adam's Gem (Libellago adami), Fiery Emperor (Anax immaculifrons), Spine-tufted Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysis), Blury Forest Damsel (Platysticta maculata), Indigo Dropwing (Trithemis festiva), and Sri Lanka Cascader (Zygonyx iris ceylonicus).

If we have time in the afternoon we should see a few more birds, including Green-billed Coucal, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Ceylon Junglefowl, Ceylon Green-Pigeon, Ceylon Hanging-Parrot, Ceylon Grey Hornbill, Black-capped Bulbul, and Yellow-fronted Barbet. Beside the river we could again find both Green's Gem (Libellago greeni) and Adam's Gem (Libellago adami) as well as one of the world's smallest damselflies, the Wandering Wisp (Agriocnemis pygmaea).
Night in Kitulgala Rest House, Kitulgala.

Day 10:   Kithugala – 26th May
Rivulet Tiger (Gomphidia pearsoni)After breakfast we will have a full day around the rivers and streams in the Kitulgala area. One superb area holds a great variety of species, and we can hope to find such delights as Dark-glittering and Red-striped Threadtails (Elattoneura centralis), Nietner’s Shadowdamsel (Drepanosticta nietneri), Ultima Gem (Libellago finalis), Rivulet Tiger (Gomphidia pearsoni) and Brook Hooktail (Paragomphus henryi).

Over the fast-flowing water we will search for Sri Lanka Cascader (Zygonyx iris ceylonicus), whose larvae cling to stones in the waterfalls. This area is another top site for birds, and we may well encounter Black and Rufous-bellied Eagles, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Green Imperial-Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Asian Palm Swift, Orange Minivet, Indian Pitta, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Dark-fronted Babbler, Indian Blue Robin, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch and Large-billed Leaf-Warbler. There is a good chance of finding the diminutive Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher beside a small forest stream.
Night in Kitulgala Rest House Kitulgala.

Pruinosed Bloodtail (Lathrecista asiatica)

Day 11:   Kithugala – Sigiriya – 27th May

After breakfast we drive to our last destination at Sigiriya. Stops along the way could produce such species as Adam's Gem (Libellago adami), Pruinosed Bloodtail (Lathrecista asiatica), Closed-wing Reedlings (Indolestes divisus), while some nearby rice paddies could find us Blue Persuer (Potamarcha congener) and Blue Percher (Diplacodes trivialis), plus White-tipped Spreadwing (Lestes elatus) and Sociable Glider (Tramea limbata).
Night in Kassappa Lion Rock Hotel, Sigiriya.


Day 12:   Sigiriya – 28th May

Burmeister’s Glider (Tramea basilaris burmeisteri)Today we will check moats and ponds in the vicinity of the famous Lion Rock. Here we will be on the lookout for more exotic species of dragonflies such as Elephant Emperor (Anax indicus), Foggy-winged Twister (Tholymis tillarga), Blue-eyed Pondcruiser (Epophthalmia vittata cyanocephala), Paddyfield Parasol (Neurothemis intermedia), Blue Pursuer (Potamarcha congener), Elusive Adjutant (Aethriamanta brevipennis), Blue Percher (Diplacodes trivialis) and Scalloped Spreadwing (Lestes praemorsus decipiens). We may be able to stop at another reservoir with the chance of species such as Somber Lieutenant (Brachydiplax sobrina), Amber-winged Glider (Hydrobasileus croceus), Spine-legged Redbolt (Rhodothemis rufa), the rare Restless Demon (Indothemis limbata sita), Burmeister’s Glider (Tramea basilaris burmeisteri) and Pruinosed Bloodtail (Lathrecista asiatica).

Sigiriya Sanctuary is fantastic for dry-zone dragonflies that inhabit the ancient water gardens at Sigiriya Sanctuary and the surrounding reservoirs. We will once again look for Elephant Emperor (Anax indicus) and Scalloped Spreadwing (Lestes praemorsus decipiens), plus White-tipped Spreadwing (Lestes elatus) and the elusive Asian Slim (Aciagrion occidentale). Night in Kassappa Lion Rock Hotel Sigiriya.

Day 13:   Sigiriya – Colombo – 29th May
Light-tipped Demon (Indothemis carnatica)Leaving Sigiriya today, we will check out an archeological site where we hope to find the very rare and elusive Light-tipped Demon (Indothemis carnatica), plus another site looking for the Indian Rockdweller or Granite Ghost (Bradinophyga geminata). This will make a fitting end to a fabulous tour. It will then be time to proceed back to a hotel near the airport. Night Tamarind Tree Hotel.

Day 14:   End of Tour  - Departure – 30th May
After breakfast we will transfer to the Airport in time for your international departing flights.


LEADERS: Tom Bird and Indika Jayatissa

SRI LANKA Dragonflies!
May 17 - 30, 2020  
Registration Form>
Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

TOUR PRICE: US$2795.00 from Colombo, Sri Lanka based on double occupancy. 
Single room supplement: $495.00 per person.

$500.00 per person. Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal. 
Use this link
to make your credit card payment.  Please advise [email protected] when you have made payment. 

Included in cost: Accommodation in double/twin rooms, all meals from lunch on May 17 through breakfast on May 30, includes picnic lunches where necessary; group airport/hotel transfers; ground transport throughout; entrance fees to National Parks as mentioned in the itinerary, guiding services of leaders.

Not included: International flight, passport fees, departure tax, insurance, drinks, laundry, tips, and items of a personal nature.

RESERVATIONS: Contact [email protected] to reserve your space! 
Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit of $500 per person per tour within two weeks to secure your place. Credit card deposits are possible with no added fees.   Please inquire.   Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.    >Download & print the Registration Form 

Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking flights and trip insurance. Please do not book flights until you receive this information from us and are notificed that the trip has sufficient numbers to run.

Final payment is due January 17, 2020. Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees). To make credit card payment arrangements, contact [email protected]


This tour is being run through Steve Bird's Wildlife, Birding & Wildlife Tours, Plymouth, Devon, UK. Contact Steve Bird [email protected] for more information.

Tour Code: This tour is focused on looking for dragonflies and damselflies, however since we are all round naturalists, we will also take time to look for endemic and interesting bird species, butterflies, mammals and reptiles. Because weather is unpredictable we may well encounter rain that prevents us finding dragonfly species . In these instances we will either rest or go looking for other forms of nature. We can expect all types of weather from warm to hot to showery. Please be prepared for this.

Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds:  All cancellations must be made in writing.  In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur.

There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. 

Insurance: Sunrise Birding, LLC recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N

Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected].com