Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Large-billed Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus magnirostris)

Common migrant to forests and well wooded gardens of both wet and dry zone from lowlands to higher hills.  It feeds in canopy usually as solitary birds or as scattered individuals in the same area. Large-billed Warbler breeds in the Himalayas.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

වල් කපුරු[Wal-Kapuru] (Gaultheria leschenaultii)

An indigenous and endangered shrub common in montane forests. Flowering from April to May (Flora of Ceylon Vol 13). 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Cornelian (Deudorix epijarbas epijarbus)

A rare butterfly found in jungles and open areas of the low country up to elevations of about 1000m. It take part in migrations. It seems that this butterfly was much more abundant in Ormiston's and Woodhouse's time than today. Ormiston noted of a large flight of them in August, 1915 at Haldummulla travelling west and again exceptionally large flight at Pattipola in November, 1917 flying south. (Ormiston W., 1924).Woodhouse in 1950 also mentioned it as a 'Not rare' butterfly (Woodhouse L.G.O., 1950). Larva feeds on Pomergranate/දෙලුම්[Delum] (Punica granatum) fruits.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

යෝධ බෝවිටියා[Yodha Bowitiya]Cancer vert/Purple plague,Velvet tree/Bush current(Miconia calvescens)

Small tree introduced as an ornamental plant due to its large attractive leaves. Native to central and south America from Mexico to Argentina. Now become naturalized in disturbed forest areas of montane zone. Listed as an invasive plant to the country. Common in Ginigathhena area. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)

Very common winter migrant inhabiting saltarns, estuaries, lagoons, mud-flats and marshes of dry zone coastal areas and occasionally in wet zone. It occurs as large to small flocks, sometime associating with other waders and feeds busily on numerous small organisms, worms, molluscs etc. exposed in mud-flats when tide is running out.  It breeds in tundras in arctic eastern Asia.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Robiquetia brevifolia

An endemic orchid species found in montane and sub-montane forests. Flowering from February to April and again on Sepetember (Flora of Ceylon Vol 2). However flowers are not uncommon even during mid-November in Horton Plain National Park (Personal observation, 2013)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Yellow-eared Bulbul(Pycnonotus penicillatus)

An endemic bird common in forests, well wooded home gardens and such habitats from mid to higher hills. Yellow-eared Bulbul usually lives as pairs or as small flocks and feeds on fruits and insects in bushes and low trees, moving from tree to tree, usually uttering its flight call. The breeding season last from March to April and probably again from August to September. It build a cup shape nest with green moss, rootlets, etc. placed in a fork of low tree or on a hanging branch.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

නෙලු[Nelu] (Strobilanthes pulcherrima)

Locally common endemic shrub of open hill forest undergrowth, scrub lands and roadsides from 1000 to 2000m altitude. Flowers in 12 years cycles. The plant die after the seeds ripen.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

කට කලු කටුස්සා/Black-cheek Lizard/Dark-lipped Lizard(Calotes nigrilabris)

An endemic lizard confine to submontane and montane areas of elevation 1000m and above. It is common in Horton plains national parkHakgalaNuwaraeliya and Peak wildernessBlack-cheek Lizard is an arboreal species and during the day time it feeds on insects, millipedes and also sometime on other smaller agamides like juvenile Rhino-horn Lizard and Pygmy Lizard (Somaweera R. & Somaweera N., 2009). As also seen in above picture, in Horton Plan National Park it is usually observed staying on Rhodondron arboreum zeylanicum [මහ රත් මල්] and Gorse[Ulex europaeus] flowers, which attract insects.  Anslem de Silva  noted that during the night they descend from trees and sleeping is done on grass blades (de Silva A., 2007)

de Silva A., 2007 - The diversity of Horton plains national park (with specieal reference to its herpetofauna)

Friday, December 13, 2013

මා රත්මල්[Ma Rathmal]/Rhododendron (Rhododendron arboreum zeylanicum)

Small tree usually with twisted trunk found in forests and patana grasslands in the upper montane areas. Common about 1400m above sea level. The subspecies zeylanicum is endemic to the Sri Lanka. Flowering from February to July.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

One-spot Grass Yellow (Eurema ormistoni)

Rare endemic butterfly found in wet zone forests up to elevation of about 3500ft. As per Woodhouse "it can be taken in numbers at the right time-April and July to September..." (Woodhouse L.G.O.,1950). d'Abrera also noted that it has only been sighted at certain times of the year from April sporadically to September (d' Abrera Bernard, 1998). Above specimen was photographed at Ingiriya forest reserve (Dombagaskandha) in mid February. Its larval host plant is යකඩ වැල් [Yakada-wel] (Ventilago madraspatana) (Gamage R., 2013) and also Ventilago gamblei (http://www.slbutterflies.lk/Butterfly.php?cid=43)

Monday, December 9, 2013

නෙළු [Nelu] (Strobilanthes viscosa)

An endemic shrub found in forests and secondary scrub lands of montane areas in the central highlands. Flowering from November to March and unlike other Strobilanthes species this species appeared to be found in flower every year. Two varieties occurs in Sri Lanka and variety digitalis found only in knuckles range while variety viscosa restricted to central highlands around Adam's peak and Nuwaraeliya district.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

මයිලගොයා[Mayilagoya]/Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon (Columba torringtoniae)

Sri Lankan Wood Pigeon is a rare hill country bird inhabiting forests and well wooded places. It also visits  some low country rain forests especially during fruiting season.  It lives as solitary birds, as pairs or as small flocks and feeds on fruits. The breeding season last from February to May and again from August to October. The nest is a platform of twigs on the canopy of forest tree, where it lays single white egg.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

වල් උඳු[Wal Undu] (Flemingia macrophylla)

Wal Undu is a very rare shrub and according to the 2012 National Red List a plant which is possibly extinct from Sri Lanka. It is found in the low country and flowering January through march (Flora of Ceylon Vol 7). If my identification of above plant as Wal Undu  is correct, it is not uncommon in rubber plantations and adjoining home gardens of කැටේපොල [Katepola] village in Sabaragamuwa district. It is known as පෝර වැල් [Pora Wel] among villagers. We were able to found that it is also the food plant of one of another critically endangered butterfly Silver-Forget-Me. Flowers were not uncommon even during mid November.

Special thanks goes to Ishara Harshajith Wijewardhane - who discovered both plant and butterfly - for guiding us to above location.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Silver Forget-me-not (Catochrysops panormus)

Silver Forget-me-not is a very rare butterfly found in moist parts of the country though there are earlier records from Haldummulla and Wellawaya (Ormistom W., 1924). Males do mud puddling. No records available on its food plant or on early stages.

* Egg laying and larval feeding has been observed on  වල් උඳු[Wal Undu] (Flemingia macrophylla) plants (Ishara Harshajith WijewardhanePersonnal communication, November 24, 2013)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gorse/Furze/Whin (Ulex europaeus)

An introduced spiny shrub naturalized in forest edges, along roadsides and other open areas of montane zone. Native plant of western Europe.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Common Imperial (Cheritra freja pseudojaffra)

An uncommon butterfly found in  both dry and wet zone lowlands up to foot-hills, generally near jungles. It seems to be gregarious and usually several of them found together when encountered. Its larva feeds on Xylia(?) [ජම්බු/Jambu] species (As per d'Abrera Bernard., 1998), Cinnamomum leguminosae(?) (As per Woodhouse L.G.O., 1950 ) and Pus wel/පුස් වැල් (Entada scandens) (As per Gamage R., 2013)

* Egg laying and larval feeding has been observed on cultivated කුරුඳු (Cinnamon verum) plants (Ishara Harshajith WijewardhanePersonnal communication, November 24, 2013)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sri Lanka White-eye/Hill White-eye (Zosterops ceylonensis)

Common endemic bird found in forests, wooded areas and home gardens from mid hills to higher hills. It also occurs locally in some lowlands forests such as Sinharaja. It forms large scattered flocks (Except in breeding season, when the bird pair off ) and travel through the tree foliage searching small insects like caterpillars,moths etc. and nectar, sometime in company with other birds. It breeds from March to May and again from August to September. The nest is a cup slung between branches in a low foliage. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

නෙලු[Nelu] (Strobilanthes calycina)

An endemic shrub locally common in both primary and secondary hill forest areas of Nuwaraeliya district (1850-2600m).

Saturday, November 23, 2013

නෙලු[Nelu] (Strobilanthes sexennis)

Restricted to the forests and secondary scrub lands of  Sri Lankan central highlands. There are seven varieties(sub species) occurs in Sri Lanka and all seven are endemic to the island. Strobilanthes sexennis also occurs in Nilgiri hills in South India but with only one variety. Flowering occurs from August to April in every 12 years before dying.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Common Rough-side/දලව මැඩිල්ලා[Dalavamadilla] (Aspidura trachyprocta)

Common Rough-side is a non-venomous, nocturnal and subfossorial snake known from mid hills to higher hills (750 - 2100m a.s.l). It feeds mainly on earth worms and grubs. Common in Horton plains national park.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Glory Bush (Tibouchina urvilleana)

A large shrub native to the Brazil and introduced as an ornamental plant to the island. Cultivated and Now also naturalized in disturbed areas of the montane zone. Flowering throughout the year. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

වී කුරුල්ලා [Vee Kurulla]/White-rumped Munia [White-backed Munia] (Lonchura striata striata)

Common breeding resident inhabiting gardens, paddy fields, forests, open woodlands, scrub lands and cultivation from lowlands to mid hills. It lives as pairs or as small flocks and feeds on grass and other seeds including paddy. The breeding season mainly last from February to May but possibly all the year round. the nest is an untidy ball of grass blades with the entrance from side place on a tree or foliage. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

මිනී මල්[Mini mal]/Madagascar Periwinkle(Catharanthus roseus)

Very common herb found in waste sandy places and along the sea coast in the low country, both wet and dry zone. Also cultivated in home gardens. It is an endemic plant of Madagascar which was introduced as a garden plant and recorded from Sri lanka since 1804. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jungle Prinia [Ceylon Large Prinia/Ceylon Jungle Wren -Warbler] (Prinia sylvatica vailda)

Rather uncommon breeding resident much abundant in  dry lowlands while locally occurs throughout the low country wet zone up to mid hills, becoming rarer in the higher hills.  It inhabits scrub lands and grasslands in pairs or as small flocks. Jungle Prinia breeds mainly from February to May  building a nest – an untidy ball of grasses and rootlets bounds with cobwebs – low in tussock or a bush.

Monday, November 11, 2013

ඉපිලිකඩයා/[Ipilikadaya]Redside Barb (Puntius bimaculatus)

A hardy small fish with island wide distribution though abundant in wet zone. It can be found in rivers and streams of lowlands as well as hills (both in wet and dry zone), tanks, swamps, etc. According to the Pethiyagoda R. it is one of the few fishes found in montane streams above 1500 m elevation (Pethiyagoda R. ,1991) It feeds mainly on green algae and detritus. Redside Barb is a prolific breeder and spawn among weeds in shallow water with the onset of rains.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Indian Cormorant/Indian Shag (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)

Very common breeding resident in dry lowlands. Also occurs in wet lowlands and lower hills but uncommon. It is very gregarious bird and lives as small flocks of its own often  associated with other water birds like Little Cormorants. Marshes, tanks, lagoons, rivers and large channels are its favorite habitats  where it feeds on fish by pursuing them under water.  The breeding season last from October to April. It nest in colonies with other water birds, building a nest - platform of sticks - on trees standing in water.                              

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Common Woodshrike (Tephrodornis pondicerianus affinis)

Common breeding resident mainly found in dry lowlands and locally in some low country wet zone areas up to the mid hills. Sri Lankan Woodshrike lives in pairs or as small flocks in forests, well wooded gardens and scrublands with scattered trees. It feeds on insects in canopy. The breeding season is from February to June. The nest is a well camouflaged shallow saucer fixed in a fork or on branch of a tree.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Collared Scops Owl/India Scops Owl (Otus bakkamoena)

Common breeding resident distributed throughout the island while becoming uncommon in the higher hills. It inhabits forest and well wooded gardens of villages and towns. Collared Scops Owl lives as pairs and feeds on insects like beetles, grasshoppers and other small animals such as geckos, mouses, shrews, etc. The breeding season is from February to May and it lays 2-3 eggs in a tree hole or a building crevice.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Tricoloured Munia [Black-headed Munia/Chestnut-Backed Munia] (Lonchura malacca)

Common breeding resident mainly found in the grasslands, paddy fields and marshes of dry zone but also occurring locally in other areas of the island. It is abundant in the eastern part of the country. Tricoloured Munia lives mainly as small flocks and feeds on paddy and other grass seeds. The breeding season last from March to August and the nest is a ball of grass-blades with entrance hole in the side set in a reed-bed or low bush. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Common Silverline (Spindasis vulcanus fusca)

Common butterfly found mainly in low country dry zone. Its larva feeds on ixora clerodendron and various other plants of Sapindaceae and Rutaceae families (de’Abrera B., 1998).  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

පරවියා/ගල් පරවියාRock Pigeon[Indian Blue Rock Pigeon]/Parewiya/Gal Parewiya (Columba livia intermedia)

True wild Rock Pigeon is very similar to feral birds with similar plumage with two dark bands on the wings, while other feral birds have varies colors and patterns. Wild birds are very rare and restricted to the some offshore rocky islets from north-east to south. Pigeon Island of off Trincomalee has the largest wild population. It is also occurring rarely in inland dams in reservoirs and similar structures in some large tanks in the dry lowlands. It lives as small flocks.  As per Henry off shore birds visiting the mainland daily for foods, where they feed on waste grains and varies seeds and herbs (Henry G.M., 1998). Wild birds normally perch on rocks cliffs and the like and not on trees.  The breeding season appears to be from February to June and nesting colonially on rock cliffs of the islets. The nest is a pad of sticks and grasses placed on rocks or on a ledge. Domestic birds common in towns and villages breed throughout the year.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ceylon Silverline (Spindasis ictis ceylanica)

Rather rare 'Silverline' found in low country dry zone. Larval food plant is කුකුල් කටු [Kukul Katu] (Acacia eburnea) (Gamage R., 2013)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sand Lizard/Fan-throat Lizard (Sitana ponticeriana)

Sand Lizard is a ground dwelling reptile inhabiting sand dunes and open scrublands in the coastal areas around the island. But it is much common in arid North, Northwestern and southern parts. It feeds mainly on insects such as ants, termites, beetles etc.  It is capable of running on its hind legs with considerable speed with its tail raised. Sand Lizard active mainly during early hours of the day and again in the evening. During heated hours of noon it is less active and stay in shady areas or in natural burrows. 

Note: Sitana species inhabiting dry coastal areas of the southeastern Sri Lanka is now considered as a separate endemic species identified as Sitana bahiri while its northern congener Sitana devakai confine to the drier coastal areas of north and northwestern parts of the island.Therefor this individual lizard photographed at Bundala Nationa Park can be considered as a Sitana bahiri.

බහිර්ගේ තැලි කටුස්සා/Bahir's Fan-Throated Lizard (Sitana bahiri)

Bahir's Fan-Throated Lizard is highly territorial lizard and before combat and prior to mating, male extend and stretch it's throat-fans very quickly. Also swivel its head and open its dark blue color mouth in a threat pose to its male opponents. It feeds on insects such as dragonflies, caterpillars and butterflies as well as tiny crabs.

Amarasinghe, A.A.T., Ineich I., Karunarathna D.M.S.S., Madhava W., Botejue S. & Campbell P.D., 2015 Two new species of the genus Sitana Cuvier, 1829 (Reptilia: Agamidae) from Sri Lanka, including a taxonomic revision of the Indian Sitana species, Zootaxa 3915(1): 67-98

Sunday, October 20, 2013

White-browed Fantail(Rhipidura aureola)

Common breeding resident of dry lowlands while locally common in some wet zone areas up to mid hills. White-browed Fantail is a very active bird with restless dancing movements with fanned tail. It can be found in forests, open wooded areas and home  gardens, usually as solitary birds or in pairs. It feeds on flying insects taking on the wing as all other 'flycatchers'. The breeding season lasts from January to August. Its nest is an open cup made out of fibers  rootlets, etc., plastered with cobwebs and placed on a branch. Nest is often not concealed where it lays 2-3 eggs.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Strobilanthes hamiltoniana

An introduced small shrub, cultivated as a garden plant in hill country. Native to Southeast Asia

Monday, October 14, 2013

Coral Bush/Coral Plant (Jatropha multifida)

Native herb of Mexico to Brazil. Introduced and cultivated in home gardens, since it is a drought resistant plant with flowers throughout the year.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Black Prince (Rohana parisatis)

Black Prince is a locally common butterfly found in the forests from foothills to higher hills (From 500m-1200m altitude) while scarce in higher hills and lowlands. Its host plant is Gurenda (Celtis timorensis). The Black prince displays remarkable sexual dimorphism of male mostly black and female light brown. Also flight of male is swift and female’s is fluttery and weak. 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wandering Wisp (Agriocnemis pygmaea pygmaea)

Wandering wisp is one of the smallest damselflies in Sri Lanka. It is very common in paddy fields, marshes, tanks and streams of both wet and dry zone of the country.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Whistling Lizard/Forest Lizard(Calotes liolepis)

An endemic lizard distributed in South-Western wet lowlands, sub-montane areas and few isolated places of dry lowlands (Such as Nilgala,Ritigala, Monaragala, Yala etc.). It is highly arboreal species and inhabits shaded areas of forests, well wooded home gardens and plantations. Whistling lizard has an unusual habit of uttering a high pitched whistling sound when alarmed. Hence its vernacular name.  It feeds mainly on insects.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

අහිරාවා/වයිරන් අහිරාවා[Ahiraawa/Viran ahiraawa]Common Spiny Loach/Lesser Loach(Lepidocephalichthys thermalis)

Type specimen of Lesser Loach was taken from the hot springs at the Kinniya. Hence the name thermalis. However it is common in most part of the lowlands up to about 600m altitude. It can be found in sandy slow flowing streams and usually the last survive in the fast drying mud puddles in dry zone streams during the dry season. It is a vegetarian though it is believed that it also feeds on mosquito larva (Deraniyagala P.E.P, 1952). 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens)

Very common insect inhabiting marshes, paddy fields, tanks etc. from lowlands to mid-hills. It usually emerges as large numbers when they do. Unlike most other dragonflies migratory habit has been observed among Wandering Gliders and high flying groups of them often seen away from water. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Dark Palm Dart (Telicota bambusae)

Rare insect of mainly wet zone lowlands up to about 1500m. usually found settled on roadside grasses or weeds. Larval host plants are bamboo (Bata) species. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Common Banded Awl (Hasora chromus)

Common Banded Awl is a rare butterfly found in forests all over the island but particularly common in the wet zone and hill country while comparatively scarce in the low country dry zone. It active at dawn and dusk though may be even appears day time in dull days. It rests on the underside of the leaves and usually fly short distance when disturbed to settle down again on the under side of another leaf with its wings close over the backs.  As per Ormiston it appears suddenly in great numbers during the north-east monsoon (October- December) and he believed it as a migratory butterfly since in October 1916 he noticed great flights of large Hesperiidae on several evenings just before dark, all going south (Ormiston W., 1924).  Its larval food plants are Magul Karanda [මගුල් කරඳ] (Pongamia pinnata) and Kalawal[කල වැල්] (Derris scandens)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Clipper (Parthenos Sylvia cyaneus)

Clipper is a locally common butterfly in the wet zone forests from sea level up to about 1200m altitude. It has a very strong distinctive flight and usually flies at mid canopy level.  Its larval host plants are Hondala[හොඬල] (Adenia hondala) and Rasakinda[රසකිඳ] (Tinospora cordifolia)

Friday, September 20, 2013

වතු පාලු/ගම් පාලු/ලෝක පාලු/කෙහෙල් පාලු/මහ කිහිඹිය/Vatu-Palu/Kehel-Palu/Gam-Palu/Loka-Palu/Maha-Kihimbiya/Mile-a-minute (Mikania cordata)

An introduced and very common creeping and climbing herb often growing over and covering other plants and shrubs. It is a weed of forest edges, roadsides, waste lands and secondary forests. Flowering from October to March. Native to tropical AsiaPhilippines and New Guinea