Serendib Scops Owl, a must-see if you visit #SriLanka #Birding

Published December 29, 2016 in Field Notes


Of all the species, and particularly bird endemics, I wanted to see in Sri Lanka, the Serendib Scops Owl came first. It was only described as a species new to science in 2004 by Sri Lankan ornithologist Deepal Warakagoda, and is considered to be very localized and Endangered.

It would have been impossible to find this bird during my second try in Sinharaja National Park, without the invaluable help of Ratne, the local guide that found this bird in the midst of an absolute mess of twigs and branches over a swampy area.

I slipped and felt on my butt twice before I could set up the tripod and take a few shots before leaving the tiny owl in peace. Needless to say, flash is not allowed in the park to avoid disturbance to wildlife, so I used 1/4 sec in f/4 and a low ISO, to keep noise levels down. The bird was well protected in the shade, and even though it was cloudy it feels like the sun was shining above with all that backlight.

A real highlight on this trip and in any birding trip to Sri Lanka.