Sri Lanka's veterinary authorities have begun tests on hundreds of migratory birds that dropped dead in two sanctuaries, health officials said Wednesday.
Residents in Nikaweratiya, known to lie on a route taken by migratory birds, reported the mass deaths and public health and veterinary authorities have begun investigations, local officials said.
"We have sent samples to a university to check and we are awaiting a report," an official in Nikaweratiya said when contacted by telephone.
Officials said similar deaths were also reported from the eastern Polonnaruwa district, where hundreds of bird carcasses have been found.
There had been no reported cases of bird flu in Sri Lanka, which had banned the import of poultry to prevent the H5N1 strain of the virus entering the island.
Bird flu has killed more than 150 people worldwide since late 2003.