(Kanneliya, Dediyagala, Nakiyadeniya Forest Complex (KDN Complex))
An excellent forest reserve of logged secondary forest and virgin forest in the interior and forest ridges gate, there is a wide access track and open forest allowing good views into the interior. Kanneliya’s importance as bio-diversity reservoir is on par with Sinharaja. This is a jewel in Sri Lanka’s bio-diversity crown.
The fauna is similar to Sinharaja but the flora has its own distinctive characteristics. The reserve is made up of the three contiguous reserves of Kanneliya, Dediyagala and Nakiyadeniya but is often simply referred to as Kanneliya. The large area has made it possible for viable populations to remain of the larger mammals including top level predators like Leopard.
The reserve straddles the Galle and Matara Districts and comprises in total of 10,139 (Kanneliya 5,306 ha, Dediyagala 3,504 ha, Nakiyadeniya 1,329 ha) hectares. The altitude varies from 60 – 425 meters. The average temperature is 27 degrees Celsius. The wettest months are historically May to June and October and November. But bear in mind, that rainfall patterns have changed dramatically in the past few years. The underlying geology comprises of Khondalites and Charnockites. The forest is an important catchment for the Gin Ganga (River) and Nilwala Ganga (River).
Bird watching at Kanneliya Forest Reserve
Open forest makes this a good site to look for Sri Lanka Spurfowl. Other birds include Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Green-billed Coucal, Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Brown-capped-Babbler, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Ceylon Small Barbet, Spot-winged Thrush, Legge’s Flowerpecker, Black-capped Bulbul, Sri Lanka Myna, Ceylon Crested Drongo (Greater Racket-tailed Drongo), Brown Fish Owl, Indian Blue Robin, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Scarlet Minivet and Serpent Eagle.
Other wildlife at Kanneliya Forest Reserve
Kanneliya has a good selection of mammals including Leopard, Sambar, Muntjac, Porcupine, Wild Pig, Flying Squirrel, Slender Loris and occasionally Elephant. However the mammals most likely to be seen by the visitor are the endemic Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and Toque Monkeys and the Grizzled Indian Squirrel. The wet zone race of this squirrel is black and yellow. Despite the strong coloration it is well camouflaged in the shade filled canopy. Endemic lizards to be seen here include the Rough-nosed Horned Lizard and Hump-nosed Lizard.
Butter fly watching – Butterflies include Commander, Rustic, Clipper, Common Blubottle and the “Tigers”. Dragonflies include the Black-tipped Demoiselle, which is common along fast flowing streams and the Sri Lanka Iris Cascader.