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The Thalangama Wetlands are the swamps surrounding the lake, which is located in the Thalangama area of Battaramulla. It’s quite shocking to realize that this haven of nature lies less than an hour outside the busy commercial center of Colombo.

What is a Wetland?

The Ramsar Convention (an international treaty for the conservation and suitable utilization of wetlands) defines the word wetland as ‘areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters’. Wetlands can help in the mitigation of floods, offer protection from storms, help in the retention of sediment, act as a carbon sink, and be an excellent purifier of water.

About the Thalangama Wetlands

The Thalangama lake itself was manmade several centuries ago for irrigation purposes, and is surrounded by numerous paddy fields, canal, ponds and marshes. It supports a rich ecosystem that hosts thousands of species of exotic flora, over a hundred different species of birds, several species of butterflies and dragonflies, a few species of damselflies, reptiles and amphibians, and some small mammals. Given below is a list of confirmed sightings in some of the categories.

Birds

  1. Purple Swamphen
  2. White-breasted Waterhen
  3. Common Moorhen
  4. Pheasant-tailed Jacana
  5. Little Grebe
  6. Little Cormorant
  7. Cattle Egret
  8. Little Egret
  9. Intermediate Egret
  10. Oriental Darter
  11. Purple Heron
  12. Grey Heron
  13. Little Green Heron (Striated Heron)
  14. Indian Pond Heron
  15. Black-crowned Night- Heron
  16. Little Heron
  17. Oriental Honey-buzzard
  18. Red-wattled Lapwing
  19. Black Bittern
  20. Yellow Bittern
  21. Asian Open-bill
  22. Painted Stork
  23. Black-headed Ibis
  24. Glossy Ibis
  25. Lesser Whistling Teal
  26. Cotton Pigmy Goose
  27. Pied Kingfisher
  28. Common Kingfisher
  29. White-Throated Kingfisher
  30. Stork-billed Kingfisher
  31. Common Sandpiper
  32. Kentish Plover
  33. Lesser Sand Plover
  34. Golden Plover
  35. Marsh Sandpiper
  36. Common Redshank
  37. Common Greenshank
  38. Wood Sandpiper
  39. Curlew Sandpiper
  40. Black-winged Stilt
  41. Little Stint
  42. Imperial Green Pigeon
  43. Emerald Dove
  44. Spotted Dove
  45. Greater Coucal
  46. Rose-ringed Parakeet
  47. Asian Koel
  48. Indian Scops-owl
  49. Collared Scops-owl
  50. Brown Hawk-owl
  51. Little Green Bee-eater
  52. Ceylon Small Barbet
  53. Indian Pigmy Woodpecker
  54. Lesser Yellownape
  55. Black-rumped Flameback
  56. White-browed Bulbul
  57. Indian Pitta
  58. Barn Swallow
  59. Forest Wagtails
  60. Yellow Wagtails.
  61. Pintailed Snipe
  62. Kora (Watercock)
  63. Blue-tailed Bee-eaters
  64. White-backed Munia
  65. Dark-fronted Babblers
  66. Black-headed Munia
  67. Asian Paradise-Flycatcher
  68. Indian Swiftlets
  69. Little Swift
  70. Shikra
  71. Serpent Eagle
  72. Honey-buzzard
  73. Brown Shrike
  74. Black-headed Cuckooshrike
  75. Ceylon Green-Pigeon
  76. Petrel
  77. Pelican
  78. Black-hooded Oriole
  79. Yellow-billed Babbler

Dragonflies

  1. Blue-eyed Pondcruiser (Epophthalmia vittata)
  2. Rapacious Flangetails (Ictinogomphus rapax)
  3. Sombre Lieutenants (Brachydiplax sobrina)
  4. Spine-legged Redbolts (Rhodothemis rufa)
  5. Scarlet Baskers (Urothemis signata)
  6. Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina)
  7. Blue Pursuer (Potamarcha cogener)
  8. Elusive Adjutant (Aethrimanta brevipennis)
  9. Yellow Waxtail (Ceriagrion coromandelianum)
  10. Painted Waxtail (Ceriagrion cerinorubellum)
  11. Sapphire Flutterer (Rhyothemis triangularis)

Reptiles, Amphibians and Mammals

  1. Water Monitor
  2. Purple-faced Leaf Monkey
  3. Indian Porcupine
  4. Brown Mongoose,
  5. Palm Civet Cat
  6. Fishing Cat
  7. Otter
  8. Moose Deer

Things to do at the Thalangama Wetlands:

  1. Birdwatching ( Start early in the day. Bring your binoculars and cameras. Average sightings for a Half-Day Birdwatching Tour – 60 to 70 species )
  2. Butterfly/Dragon Fly Watching
  3. Nature Tour
  4. Jogging
  5. Cycling

While enjoying the nature make sure that you take only photos and memories, and leave only your footsteps. Protect the ecology for the future.