Monday, December 31, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kaha-yatimal Kirala/Yellow-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus malabaricus)

An uncommon breeding resident found usually in very dry habitats of dry lowlands. It is common in coastal belt from Puttalam to Jaffna peninsula and in Hambantota district. It also occurs in Eastern province and there are recent breeding records from Udawalawe and Anuradhapura too. It lives as small flocks or pairs in arid wastelands, fallow fields, dry paddy fields, stony pastures etc. Yellow-wattled Lapwing feeds on grasshoppers, ants, termites, beetles and other such ground dwelling insects. It breeds from May to July, laying four eggs arranged in cross-formation on stony ground among clods, stones, etc. well camouflage with the surrounding. It flies often low and in flight feet project beyond the tail. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Asystasia variabilis

An indigenous common herb found in waste lands, forest edges, along borders of paddy fields etc. in wet lowlands and hill country.  An indigenous herb common under shade along streams and footpaths in wet lowlands to mid country secondary forests. Flowering from August to March.*

* Text and species name of the initial post was changed according to the Jep de Vlas's comment below and correct identification given in the subsequently published his second book on flora of Sri lanka.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tailed Jay/Green Jay (Graphium Agamemnon menides)

Tailed Jay is a common butterfly found in all elevations of the country throughout the year. However it is much common in wet zone. It flies very fast and only stops a very short time at each flower. Also when disturbed it take off vertically to considerable height before fly away. So that Tailed Jay is considered as a very difficult butterfly to photograph. The larva feeds on various plants of family Anonaciae such as Katu Anoda/Katu Atta/Rata Anoda (Annona muricata), Anoda/Weli Aththa (Annona reticulata), and Custard apple/Sini Aththa (Annona squamosa) and various plants of family Magnoliaceae like Sapu/Champak (Michelia champaca)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

ඇත් උඳුපියලිය[Et-Undupiyali]/Asian ticktrefil (Desmodium heterocarpon)

An indigenous herb found in grasslands, roadsides and waste lands in moist low country and lower montane areas. Very common plant flowering from May to September and again in November. Sometimes white flowers occur instead of usual purple. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Spot-billed Pelican/තිත් හොට පැස්තුඩුවා/ඔටුමානා[Thith-hota Pasthuduwa/Otumaana] (Pelecanus philippensis)

Spot-billed Pelican is a common breeding resident in tanks, lagoons and marshlands of the low country dry zone. Birds originally released from National Zoological Garden of Dehiwela have established a breeding colonies in and around Colombo marshy areas in the wet zone also. It lives as flocks from two or three birds to a hundred or more. It spend much of its time in fishing, usually as a flock. The breeding season is from March to May and the nest is a large platform of sticks and reeds, placed on trees growing in flooded areas or swamps. Usually several nests can be seen in a single tree together with other storks, herons, egrets and cormorants. It is a strong flier and sometime flies great heights, usually forming V formation. Although it is common in Sri Lanka Spot-billed Pelican is considered as a globally endangered species.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites)

Common butterfly found in everywhere from lowlands to about 1000 m a.s.l. Grey Pansy is a migratory species and Ormiston noted that it appears up-country usually in October, before the regular flights begin, and the swarms only lasts a few days (Ormiston W., 1924). The larva feeds on varies plants of family Acanthaceae.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Brown-breasted Flycatcher (Muscicapa muttui)

Brown-breasted Flycatcher or as it was previously known as Layard’s Flycatcher was initially discovered by E. L. Layard around 1854 from Pt. Pedro of Sri Lanka. While quoting Layard, W.V. Legge in his monograph on Sri Lankan bird - A History of the birds of Ceylon- mention that after describing the specimen brought to Layard: “ I name this new species after my old and attached servant Muttu, to whose patient perseverance and hunting skill I owe so many of my best birds. This one he brought to me one morning at Pt. Pedro during the month of June.”(Legge W.V. 1880) That is how it got its 'Tamil' zoological name Muscicapa muttui.
                Brown-breasted Flycatcher is a rather uncommon winter migrant to the wet zone lowlands to the lower hills while local and rare in dry lowlands and mid hills. It is a solitary bird often found in the vicinity of streams in forests and well-wooded areas. It can be easily distinguished by superficially similar Asian Brown Flycatcher by Flesh colored lower mandible, legs and feet with white throat with dark moustachial stripe in contrast with dark brown legs and dark tipped pale lower mandible of Asian Brown Flycatcher. It flies out and catches small flying insects usually returning to the same perch or to a neighboring one since it is very attached to its territory.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dark Grass Blue (Zizeeria karsandra)

An uncommon butterfly found in grasslands from sea level to about 1500m elevations.  It can be easily distinguished from bit similar Lesser Grass Blue(Zizina Otis) by the presence of a spot in the cell on the under side of the fore wing. Its larva feeds on Kura Thampala(Amaranthus viridis) and Maha-aswenna (Zornia diphylla) plants.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

පලා කොකා/කඩොල් කොකා[Pala Koka /Kadol koka]/Striated Heron/Little Heron/Little Green Heron/Green-backed Heron (Butorides striata)

An uncommon breeding resident from lowlands to lower hills inhabiting mangroves, marshes, dense vegetation of tank edges and river banks,  lagoons, salt-pans etc. It feeds on small fish, prawns and aquatic insects.  Striated Heron lives mostly as solitary birds and can be seen usually during dawn and dusk. It breeds from March to July in a nest placed low in a tree. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pale 4-Lineblue (Nacaduba hermus)

Rather rare butterfly found in the mid country (Gamage R., 2007). No records available on its feeding plant and about early stage of the life cycle.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dumbonna/Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)

Indian Roller is a common breeding resident in dry lowlands up to lower hills, while uncommon and local in wet lowlands. It is common mostly in coconut plantations, chena cultivation and such open areas, usually as solitary birds or in pairs. It is known as Dumbonna among Sinhalese people meaning Smoke-drinker since it has a habit of flying over the grass and shrub fires usually when burning jungles for chena cultivation to catch grasshoppers, beetles and other flying insects disturbed by the fire. Indian Roller spend much of its time sitting on a telegraph wires, fence posts or any such vantage points and flying down to catch its prey, which consists of grasshoppers, beetles, lizards and such little animals. It breeds from January to June laying 2-4 white eggs in a tree hole of a dead tree or in a rotten palm trunk. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

වල් ඌරා[Wal Ura]/Indian Wild Boar/Wild Pig (Sus Scrofa)

Wild boar is distributed throughout the island wherever dry zone scrub lands or wet zone forests provides it with enough cover, from coastal lowlands to the higher hills. It occurs in herds sometime up to around 30 or more individuals in dry zone national parks while rather small herds or solitary animals occurs in wet zone forests. It is an omnivorous mammal and scavenge on carcasses of dead animals, kill and eat snakes, worms, eggs and young of ground-nesting birds and also feeds on fallen fruits and uprooted rhizomes etc. It causes lot of damages to the chena cultivation, paddy fields, home gardens and other plantations during its night time forays in search of food. Wild boar is a prolific animal and breeds at least twice annually and W.W.A. Phillips noted that it is always the last of the larger mammals to be ousted from a district where the forest is being opened up (Phillips W.W.A, 1984).  Generally the herds are composed of sows with their young of all ages and the older adult males live solitary or form small parties on their own and join the herds of females only to the mating. They feed usually early morning and late afternoon while lying up in a shade during heat hours of the day. It also feeds during night. Leopards, crocodiles and pythons can be considered as its enemies other than Man. Leopards mostly take young piglets whenever the opportunity occurs and there are instances of desperate fights between leopard and old boars sometimes end up with leopard being killed. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pointed ciliate blue (Anthene lycaenina laycaenina)

Pointed ciliate blue can be easily distinguished from other similar species by pointed fore wings and two ‘tails’ of the hind wings.  It flies all over the island but common in the southern half of the island up to about 500m a.s.l. Larva believe to be feeds on Kiri-palu (Buchanania axillaris)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Freycinetia walkeri

An endemic woody climber around tree trunks in wet zone and hill country. Common in forest areas. Flowering during March-April and fruits red when ripe. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Brahminy Starling/Brahminy Mynah(Sturnia pagodarum)

Brahminy Starling is an uncommon winter migrant to the open and shrubby areas and cultivation of dry lowlands mainly in coastal areas, though unconfirmed reports available of breeding in nineteenth century.  Occasional sight records also available from wet lowlands, apparently on their way to the dry lowlands from India where it breeds. It lives in flocks and feed on the ground while large flocks gather at a communal roosting place in the evening. Brahminy Starling mainly feed on grasshoppers and other insects, but it also eats fruits and drinks nectar from certain flowers.