Sinharaja ’97 – a Cambridge ornithological expedition to the rainforest of Sri Lanka

Julia Jones

The Sinharaja forest is the largest undisturbed remnant of primary rainforest within Sri Lanka. This project aimed to carry out important baseline surveys of the birds (particularly the endemic and globally threatened species) in Delwella Forest, an area close to the existing Sinharaja Reserve and the site of a proposed field station for the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL) and the Open University of Sri Lanka. In addition this team of students from the UK and Sri Lanka aimed to make comparative surveys of a number of smaller forest fragments surrounding the central Sinharaja reserve to help prioritise new areas for conservation. It focused on birds as the taxon are know to be good indicator of biodiversity and are well described so can be accurately identified in the field. It forms the first part of the Sri Lanka Important Bird Areas (IBA) Programme, a five year ornithological study to be carried out by FOGSL with BirdLife Asia Council.