A pair of blue-tailed bee eaters in Yala. Insects, bees and wasps form a bulk of the prey for bee eaters. One can often see them thwacking prey on the branches to break the skeleton of their prey.
Yet to see blue-cheeked and chestnut headed bee eater, hope to see them soon!
Another one from my trip to Yala - Open-billed stork
There has been some speculation of the purpose of the bill gap. Before it was concluded to be used as a nutcracker (they mostly feed on molluscs), then suggested that it was to help handle hard and slippery shells. But this proved to be partly untrue since young birds that lack the gap are also able to feed on snails.
The latest conclusion is that the gap allows the tips to strike at a greater force to extract the snail body from the shell.
Sri Lankan leopard,
Unlike most forests and national parks in India, the leopard is an apex predator here. Hence, leopards in Yala have an air of confidence about them, without having to worry about the presence of tigers. Yala has one of the highest leopard densities in the world - I was able to sight leopards in 3 out of my 6 safaris there. The park is divided into 5 blocks - Block 1 is the main area for visits but Block 3 is also quite popular.
A large wader which spends most of its time in shallow waters looking for fish. I was told by our naturalist that by an age of 18 months, adult storks become voiceless. The only sounds they make after that age are slight moans and the clattering of their bills.