Deepal Warakagoda

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Deepal Warakagoda (born 1965) is a prominent Sri Lankan ornithologist. His early working career was in electronics, but for many years he has studied birds and also works as a professional guide for birding tours of the island.

He discovered a new species of bird endemic to Sri Lanka, the Serendib scops owl. His expertise in vocalizations had enabled him to realize that an owl he heard calling near Kitulgala was an unknown species, and he later saw this bird in January 2001 in the Sinharaja rainforest.[1] (It may be relevant to note here that the validity of the Serendib scops owl as a "new" species has been called into question unsuccessfully in two papers by some people who could not understand about the Sri Lankan owls! Refer to and

He has also identified (each for the first time) 15 new migrant species of birds in Sri Lanka, and has published a large number of articles on the avifauna of Sri Lanka.

Warakgoda is Sri Lanka's foremost sound recordist in natural history subjects, and has produced and published the only comprehensive audio guide to the island's birds (on tape and CD). He has an unmatched knowledge of Sri Lanka's bird songs and calls. His recordings of the island's distinct bird species have played a major role in the recognition of several of them as endemic to Sri Lanka in the book Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide (2005) by Pamela C. Rasmussen and John C. Anderton.

Although best known for his knowledge of the avifauna of Sri Lanka, and expertise in finding and identifying birds, his knowledge extends to the island's mammals and butterflies.

Warakagoda founded the Drongo Nature Sounds Library, the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka, and is joint secretary of the Ceylon Bird Club. He is a national coordinator in Sri Lanka for the Asian Waterbird Census. He is a founder of Bird and Wildlife Team [], a company specializing in natural history tours of Sri Lanka and India, and works as one of its tour leaders.

He is currently working on several new publications in the print and audio/video media, including Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka, of which he is co-author with three authorities on the avifauna of Asia.


  • A Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka Third Edition (1998) by G. M. Henry, revised and enlarged by Thilo W. Hoffmann, Deepal Warakagoda, and Upali Ekanayake ISBN 0-19-563813-1
  • Photographic Guide to Birds of Sri Lanka (2000) by Gehan De Silva Wijeyeratne, Deepal Warakagoda, T.S.U.De Zylva, ISBN 1-85974-511-3
  • The Bird Sounds of Sri Lanka. An Identification Guide Part 1 (1997, 2nd ed. 2001) audio tape
  • The Bird Sounds of Sri Lanka. An Identification Guide Part 2 (1998) audio tape
  • The Bird Sounds of Sri Lanka. 99 Species (2003) audio CD
  • The Bird Sounds of Sri Lanka. Habitat Edition 2005 (2005) audio tape


  1. ^ Warakagoda, D. H. & Rasmussen, P. C. (1998) "A new species of scops owl from Sri Lanka Archived 2011-09-10 at the Wayback Machine.". Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 124: 85–105