Sinharaja is a forest reserve and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is home to 95% endemic birds and 50% of Sri Lanka’s endemic species of plants.
The hilly virgin rainforest is a World Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site. Its inaccessibility prevents the wildlife from being easily seen.
Birds and reptiles are abundant in Sri Lanka, including the elusive red-faced malkoha, Green-billed coucal, Sri Lanka blue magpie, green pit viper, hump-nosed viper, tree frogs, and leeches.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve Facts for Kids
- Sri Lanka’s Sinharaja Forest Reserve covers 6,092 hectare
- Sinharaja Forest Reserve has canopy trees of more than 45 meters
- Despite being relatively small, this forest reserve is recognized as a living heritage.
- More than 154 bird species have been recorded in this park.
- There are 45 reptile species in this region, 21 of which are endemic.
- There are about ten months of rain in this region and average temperatures of 20 to 25°C.
This reserve has a lot of endemic wildlife, especially birds, but it is also home to over half of Sri Lanka’s endemic species of mammals and butterflies, as well as many insect species, reptiles, and rare amphibians.
Sinharaja World Heritage Site is rich in birdlife, with 147 species of birds recorded. The Rainforest Ecolodge is ideally located at 1025m elevation and is the best location to view these species.
Sri Lanka’s snake fauna is highly diverse, and the green pit viper is a nocturnal snake.
The Hump Snout Lizard is an important group of the Sinharaja ecosystem. It can change the color of its body from cinnamon brown to green, depending on its mood.
A Green Garden Lizard is one of the largest lizards in the country, whereas a Sri Lankan Kangaroo Lizard can be seen in the leaf litter of shady rainforests.
Spiders are one of the least understood animals in the world. Most spiders produce no venom, but a few do bite humans for self-defense.
Spiders catch prey by using a sticky web. These spiders bite and inject venom into the prey to paralyze it.
Most spider species are threatened with extinction, as habitat loss, unplanned urban development, pollution, and use of pesticides affect them negatively.
In Sinharaja, you can find tropical lowland rainforests or tropical wet evergreen forests.
The forest is notable for its height, straight bole, an abundance of regeneration, and diversity of species.
Trees range in height from 35m to 40m, with some exceeding 50m. There is a high degree of endemism in Sinharaja’s humid evergreen forest type.
Dipterocarpaceae, for instance, show more than 90% endemism. Sinharaja flora has immense genetic potential. Within the reserve, 139 woody trees and lianas (66%) are endemic.
In the same way, plants like ferns and epiphytes are likely to have high levels of endemism. In Sinharaja, 13 of 25 endemic genera are represented.
The total vegetation density of each forest layer, including trees, shrubs, herbs, and seedlings, is estimated at 240,000 individuals per hectare, of which 95% are in the ground layer below 1m in height.
Trees with a girth greater than 30 cm at breast height have a density ranging between 600 – 700 individuals per hectare, while trees with a girth greater than 150 cm have a density ranging between 45 to 55 individuals per hectare.