Friday, December 31, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sri Lankan Keelback/දියබරියා[Diya Bariya] (Xenochrophis asperrimus)

An  endemic and common water snake of both dry and wet zone up to 1000m a.s.l.  Found in rice fields, tanks, marshes, rivers and streams. It is active in water bodies both by day and during night in search of its prey which consist mainly of fish and frogs.  It can be easily identified by having about 20 dark spots or bars of its first half of the body and two dark lines behind eye. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Brown-headed Gull (Larus brunnicephalus)

Brown-headed Gull is probably the most common gull of the island, which is abundant in northern coastal and lagoon areas during winter and rarely found in other coastal areas such as South-eastern part of the country. There are some summer loiters as well. It is gregarious and flocks can be seen resting on the water close to beach. It scavenges in harbours and also follows ships for ‘easy food’ thrown overboard from them.  Brown-headed gull can be easily distinguished from other gulls by dark-tipped red bill and black wing tips with two white spots near the edge visible when  flight. Brown hood appears of  breeding birds by the end of March.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

ඇලි වඳුරා [Elli wadura]/Grey langur (semnopithecus priam)

A common monkey found throughout the wooded areas of the low country dry zone of the island.  Lives as family parties of both sexes of around 5 to 20 or 30 individuals lead by a dominant male. Each troop has its own domain and they spend day time on the ground or in trees in seeking foods which consist mainly of vegetable stuffs like fruits, flowers, leaves and seeds.  It keep its tail held up when walk on the ground. Other than man who hunt them for meat specially Veddas, only leopard (Panthera pardus) and perhalf Python (Python molurus) can be considered as it enemies. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Black Headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)

Common breeding resident of low country dry zone marshes, tanks, paddy fields and lagoons. However there are considerable number of breeding birds in wet zone especially wetlands around Colombo, said to be originated from a colony at the Dehiwela zoo. Its food consists of frogs, insects, crabs, worms, etc. It is partially nocturnal and flocks forming V formation can be seen flying to distance feeding grounds at dusk from their day time roosting places.  It breeds during early part of the year colonially with other species of herons, egrets etc on a nest made out of piles of sticks in trees in flooded water.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Phaius wallichii

A terrestrial orchid species of sub-montane to montane wet evergreen forests between 915 – 2134 m asl.  Flowering February, April – June and again from September to November. It grows under shade of trees and locally common. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Purple Heron/Karawal Koka (Ardea purpurea )

Purple Heron is a common resident bird of low country, both dry and wet zones. It feeds on fish, frogs and even insects on marshes, paddy fields, mangroves, lagoons and tanks by day, while most active at dawn and dusk.  Usually feed solitary by skulking among reeds. It breeds from December to February and again in May to June. Three or fours eggs lay in a nest which is just a pile of sticks placed on low trees growing in flooded water, often in company with other herons, egrets and cormorants.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Psyche (Leptosia nina)

Psyche is a slow flying common butterfly with island wide distribution throughout the year, though less common above 1500m.  It is usually found fluttering by the low shrub lands of open country and under growth of jungles.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Foggy-winged Twister ( Tholymis tillarga )

Common crepuscular dragonfly of shrub lands, usually close to water bodies such as tanks, lagoons, channels, marshes and streams from lowland plains to lower montane regions.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

රිලවා[Rilawa]/Toque Monkey (Macaca sinica)

This common endemic monkey found in jungles of all over the island. It is represented by three sub species in three major climatic zones.

Dry zone - Macaca sinica sinica
Wet zone - Macaca sinica aurifrons
HighlandMacaca sinica opisthomelas

It lives as family groups of about 20 or more. Each family group has its own territory and much of their time spend on ground or on tree tops of that demarcated area, in searching of food which consists of fruits, berries, insects, flowers, nestlings and eggs of birds, lizards, geckos, young rats and squirrels, etc. Highland sub species is much arboreal than two low land races.  Toque monkey can store amazing amount of foods in their cheek-pouches and masticate them at leisure.  It doesn’t have any particular breeding period and breeds throughout the year.  Normally single young is born and twins can be born occasionally.  Young can cling to its mothers breast fur and easily travels with her wherever she goes. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

නියඳ[Niyanda]/Snake Plant (Sansevieria zeylanica)

Niyanda is a common indigenous herb of dry rocky and sandy places of low country dry zone to mid hills.  Fibers extracted from leaves are used in reed mat industry.  Roots use in indigenous medicine to treat bile and gonorrhea.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Small Salmon Arab (Colotis amata modestus)

Due to salmon-pink color and epi-center of its distribution - which is believed to be of Arabia-, this small butterfly of low country dry zone got that name Small Salmon Arab. It is rather uncommon butterfly of scrublands and open areas. Unlike most other butterflies it often flies during hot hours of the day.  Female of this species sometime has white form instead of usual salmon color.  Larva of Small Salmon Arab feeds on plants of Salvadora persica and Azima tetracantha of Salvadoraceae family.