Monday, April 1, 2013

A sight record of Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) from Chavakachcheri - Jaffna


 Glossy Ibis is considered as a rare migrant to the lowland marsh lands, paddy fields, tanks and lagoons. It is restricted to the few wet land areas as small flocks during its winter migration in Sri Lanka. It feeds on worms, crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs and such other small animals [and also it is said to be partial to water leeches (Henry G.M. 1998)] often as small flocks on shallow water with, head down nodding from side to side. It roosts communally in trees with other water birds. The breeding season is from March to July and it builds a rather small nest with sticks on trees near water usually as colonies. 


Distribution in Sri Lanka

In legge’s time (Last half of the 19th century) Glossy Ibis was an inhabitant of tank-districts of the country and frequents the many tank edges such as Minery [Minneriya], Kanthelai etc. According to him it was also sometime abundance in the extream north and it was frequently seen on the tidal flats near the Jaffna town and at the mouth of the lake. On the eastern, north and north-western part of the island it inhabited shores of lagoons and estuaries. In Hanbantota district also it was found about the salterns and vicinity of tanks. Legge considered it as merely a resident bird and he believed that what migrants do come to Ceylon [Sri Lankaprobably scatter themselves round the north coast as far as Mullaittivu [Mulathivu] on the east, and perhaps Puttalam [Puttalama] on the west. (Legge W. V. 1880)

In March 1872 Legge found a breeding colony of about eight pairs in company with Open-billedstorks at Uduwila near Tissamaharama on thorny trees growing in the half-dried small tank bed. (Legge W. V. 1880)

While describing its distribution in the island W.E. Wait in 1931 also noted that it is a bird of tanks in the low country and lagoons of the north and east coasts. According to him also it was mainly a resident and commonest in the north where the numbers are probably augmented during the north-east monsoon by migrants (Wait W.E. 1931)

During avifaunal survey of Ceylon conducted jointly by the British and Colombo Museums from 1936 to 1939 Hugh Whistler did not encounter any bird or museum specimen and he described it as a rare resident of low country dry zone except apparently in the south-west from Chilaw to Tangalla, and found in large inland tanks and coastal lagoons. (Whistler H. 1944)

G.M. Henry in 1955 wrote “Nowadays, however, it must be considred – if present in Ceylon at all- as a very rare species in the island. I have never met with it….”.  Henry identified from Legge’s map the location of its 1872 breeding colony mentioned by Legge as Uduwila is actually the Wirawila of Hambantota district. (Henry G.M. 1955)

Considering distribution data of above authors Glossy Ibis is considered as a former breeding resident but become extinct in the island toward the end of 19th century.  After long silent in 1965 two birds were seen again at Kalametiya and one bird was shot (Henry G.M. , 1988). In the subsequent years it was seen time to time in few locations in the southern part of the country such as Kalametiya, Bellanwila-Attidiya sanctuary, Dehiwela paddy fields etc. during the winter migration season and other times of the year as well.  In 1994/95 migrate season 81 birds were observed at Muthurajawela, and others were seen at Anaivilundawa Ramsar wetland (Henry G.M., 1988).  All of these sight records are considered as birds coming probably from Indian mainland. 



Observation
In a bird watching tour to Chavakachcheri area of Jaffna lagoon on 16th March 2013 we could observe and photographed more than 20 birds from a pond like water hole in a paddy field (9°38.327'N, 80°08.430'E) about a kilometer distance from Thannikilappu junction of Jaffna – Mannar road (A32) toward Jaffna (See Map 1 and 2). Some birds were feeding and others resting during the observation period of about 10 minutes and our attempt to get a closer picture of them in an open area disturbed them and all of them flew away. Few juvenile birds were also noticed among adults with breeding plumage. 

Map 1

Map 2

Discussion 

According to available published sight records -  after 1968 Glossy Ibis has not been reported from wetland areas of Jaffna peninsula(See Table 1 for all recent published sight records of Glossy Ibis). Most of recent sight records of it after ‘rediscovery’ of mid 20th century are mainly from Kalamatiya and Aththidiya and other close by wetlands of above two locations such as Bundala, Kotte, Muthurajawela etc. Wilpattu national park, Nawadankulama and Pinkatiya of Puttalam district, Mannar and Giant tank of Mannar district and probably Habarana are only exceptions.  Prevailing civil war situation since 1980s prevented most bird watchers visiting northern bird watching sites and it can be one reason of lacking observations from there.  What made them to revisit Jaffna peninsula again after nearly half a century  Are they breeding again in our lands? Further observation are needed to solve those matters especially in the areas with similar habitats in Jaffna peninsula. 

Published sight records of Glossy Ibis since 1952 are shown in Table 1 mostly base on Ceylon Bird Club notes published in Loris - Journal of Wildlife and Nature protections society of Sri Lanka.

 Table 1 - 
Year
Location
Number of Birds
Reference
1952
C. E. Norris observe it at Kalamatiya

Cameron, R., 1964
1963 September 11 to 16
Kalamatiya

1
Cameron, R., 1964
16th August 1963
Koholankala- Hambantota,

1
Hoffmann, T. W., 1974
11th September 1963
Kalamatiya
1
Hoffmann, T. W., 1974
19th January 1968
Sarasalai Jaffna
2
Hoffmann, T. W., 1974
2nd October 1969
Dematawila Wilpattu
1
Hoffmann, T. W., 1974




1967? Or probably 1968 - January
Two birds appeared once in Jaffna but were not seen again

2
Cameron, R.Mcl.L., 1968
2nd  October 1969
Dematawillu of Wilpattu. Only record for this season

1
Cameron, R.Mcl.L., 1970
1970 – December
Kiula near Kalamatiya
3
Hoffmann, T. W., 1974
9th January 1971
Kiula near Kalamatiya
5
Hoffmann, T. W., 1974
1971 - January
Single bird captured at Kalamatiya, said to be one of 5 seen at Kiulla. 5 also observed in 1969 at the same place 
1
Hoffmann, T. W., 1974
1973 – Mid December to 1974 - July
At Dehiwela seen regularly.
1
Hoffmann, T. W., 1974&  Hoffmann, T. W., 1975
1975  December
Observed at the Dehiwela paddy field.

Anon.,  1977
1976 December
Again seen at Mt. Lavinia

Hoffmann, T. W., 1977

1977 - first week of March
Once again observed at Dehiwela paddy field with full breeding plumage. It was not sighted afterward.


Anon.,  1977
1977 March
In breeding plumage was again sighted in the Dehiwela paddy fields. The last sighting there was in December 1973.
1
Hoffmann, T. W., 1978
1978 June
Kalamatiya
2
Hoffmann, T. W., 1979
1980 January
2 at Kalamatiya [Sunil wikramasuriya recapitulates his own sightings at Kalamatiya as – 4 in Jan uary 1971, 2 in September 1978, 2 in January 1980  ]
2
Hoffmann, T. W., 1981
1982  january
10 have been seen regularly at Kalamatiya and continue to be seen at there
10
Hoffmann, T. W., 1983
1982 March
Kalamatiya
13
Hoffmann, T. W., 1983
1983 April
Kalamatiya
4
Hoffmann, T. W., 1984
1985 February
Malala lewaya


Hoffmann, T. W., 1986
1985 – November
Kalamatiya
9
Hoffmann, T. W., 1986
1986 January - December
Kalamatiya
Continued to be observed throughout the year in varying numbers.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1987
1986 - March
Bolgoda lake
3
Hoffmann, T. W., 1987
1986  January
3rd mid-winter waterfowl counted 4 from Tangalla-Ambalantota area.

4
Hoffmann, T. W.,1986a
1986 December
In a paddy field not far from new parliament at Kotte.

1
Hoffmann, T. W., 1987
1987 January
Kalamatiya
3
Hoffmann, T. W., 1988
1987January 10/11
4th mid-winter waterfowl census counted 3 from Kalamatiya

3
Hoffmann, T. W., 1987a
1987 July
Bundala 
7
Hoffmann, T. W., 1988
1987 September
Kalamatiya
1
Hoffmann, T. W., 1988
1987 October
Kalamatiya
5
Hoffmann, T. W., 1988
1988 January
5th waterfowl census recorded no birds


Hoffmann, T. W., 1988a
1989 - January
Not a single bird was reported by 6th  waterfowl ccensus
0
Hoffmann, T. W., 1989

1989 October
At Kotte till December
1
Hoffmann, T. W., 1989a

1990
7th annual waterfowl census in 1990 observed 5 glossy ibis after interval of several years in the south at Bundala.
5
Hoffmann, T. W., 1990
1990 October
Bellanwila
Initially only single bird and number increased to 4 and eventually to 8.  Never have so many been recorded from Colombo area.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1991
1990 December
7 at Kalamatiya, continue in the Bellanwila-Attidiya
7
Hoffmann, T. W., 1991
1991
8th waterfowl census reported 6 birds at Bellanwila and 5 at Kalamatiya

11
Hoffmann, T. W., 1991a
1991 January
Kalamatiya
5
Hoffmann, T. W., 1992

1991 February
6 bird still at Bellanwila since October 1990
6
Hoffmann, T. W., 1992

1991 September
Attidiya

Hoffmann, T. W., 1992

1993
10th waterfowl census recorded 26 birds
26
Hoffmann, T. W., 1993

1993 January
15 at Attidiya in some numbers present throughout the winter month till April. 11 at Kalamatiya.
26
Hoffmann, T. W., 1994
1993 September
Returned to Bellanwila
15
Hoffmann, T. W., 1994
1993 November
Flock at Bellanwila  increased to 34
34
Hoffmann, T. W., 1994
1993 July
Pinkattiya tank Battalu oya
11
Hoffmann, T. W., 1994
1994 January - March
Noted throughout the winter at Bellanwila and  in paddy fields in wider vicinity as well as at Muthurajawela at Ja-Ela, where as many as 83 birds were present from January to March
83+
Hoffmann, T. W., 1995

1994 - Second half of January
37 birds were counted during 11th  waterfowl census.

37
Hoffmann, T. W., 1994a
1994 Sep
Boralesgamuwa  [first arrival of the season]
5
Hoffmann, T. W., 1995

1995 January
Kalamatiya 
13
Hoffmann, T. W., 1996
1995 September
Bellanwila 
7
Hoffmann, T. W., 1996
1995 October
Bundala 
1
Hoffmann, T. W., 1996
1995 December
Bellanwila
In varying numbers (Maximum 38)
Hoffmann, T. W., 1996
1995 December
Kalametiya 
2
Hoffmann, T. W., 1996
1996  January
13th annual waterfowl census counted 18 birds

18
Hoffmann, T. W., 1996a
1996 January
Kalamatiya
7
Hoffmann, T. W., 1997
1996 February
Thalangama
24
Hoffmann, T. W., 1997
1996 October
Attidiya
22
Hoffmann, T. W., 1997
1996 December
Bellanwila
48
Hoffmann, T. W., 1997
1997 February
Bellanwila
5
Hoffmann, T. W., 1999

1997 July
Habarana

1
Hoffmann, T. W., 1999

1999 January
5 at Mirijjawila and another 5 at Lunama.
10
Warakagoda, D., 2000
2000 – From first week of January to the first week of February
17th waterfowl census cnducted of 2000 counted only 2.

2
Gunawardena, K., 2000
2000 January
Kalamatiya

Senanayake, N., 2001
2000 November
Borelasgamuwa
15
Senanayake, N., 2001
2000 December
Over Nugegoda
1
Senanayake, N., 2001
2001 December
Weligatta
16
Siriwardana, U., 2002

2002 – Mid January to mid February
Observed in the 19th waterfowl census


Siriwardana, U., 2002a
2002 January
Kalamatiya
14
Siriwardana, U., 2003
2002 February
Mannar 

Siriwardana, U., 2003
2002 September
2 at Nawadankulama and 2 at Bellanwila 
4
Siriwardana, U., 2003
2002 November
Hungama 

Siriwardana, U., 2003
2002 December
Kalamatiya 

Siriwardana, U., 2003
2003 – Mid January to Mid February
Observed during 2003 waterbird census


Siriwardana, U., 2003a
2003 January
Hungama
8-10
Warakagoda, D., 2004
2003 February
Debarawewa

Warakagoda, D., 2004
2003 May
Giant tank
30-40 
Warakagoda, D., 2004
2004 - Mid January to late February
Reported from Kalamatiya and Mannar during the 2004 waterbird census.


Siriwardana, U., 2004
2004 January
Giant tank
3
Siriwardana, U., 2005
2004 February
Hungama
9
Siriwardana, U., 2005
2004 December
Borelasgamuwa
c.25
Siriwardana, U., 2005
2005 February
Bundala National Park

Siriwardana, U. & Warakagoda D
2005 October
Thalangama wetland
7
Siriwardana, U. & Warakagoda D
2006 September
Pillewa

6
Siriwardana, U., 2007
2012 July 8
Embilikala, Bundala
59























































References and Bibliography

Anon., 1977 The Glossy Ibis Loris 14 (4) 243
Cameron, R.., 1964 Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club. June, 1963 to March, 1964 Loris 10 (1), 
71-72
Cameron, R.Mcl.L., 1968 Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club - 1967/68. Loris.11(3):153-154.
Cameron, R.Mcl.L., 1970 Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club -1969/70 Loris 12 (1), 62-63
Gunawardena, K., 2000 The 2000 waterfowl census in Sri Lanka Loris, 22 (4), 25-26.            
Hoffmann, T. W., 1974. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1970-1973. Loris, 13(4), 211-214.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1975. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club, 1974. Loris, 13(5), 275-276.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1977 Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1976 Loris 14 (3) 154 - 156
Hoffmann, T. W., 1978 Bird Club Notes. Loris, 14 (5), 289-290.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1979 Note from the Ceylon Bird club 1978. Loris, 15 (1), 6-8.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1981 Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1980. Loris, 15 (5), 283-284,292.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1983 Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club – 1982 Loris 16 (3), 132-134
Hoffmann, T. W., 1984 Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1983. Loris, 16 (6), 299-301.
Hoffmann, T. W. (1986). Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1985. Loris, 17(3), 99-101.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1986a  The 3rd Mid-winter waterfwl (Duck) count in Sri Lanka (January 1986) Loris 17 (4), 142-144
Hoffmann, T. W., 1987 Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1986. Loris, 17 (5), 209-210
Hoffmann, T. W., 1987a The fourth mid-winter waterfowl census in Sri Lanka (January -1987) Loris 17 (6) 233 - 235
Hoffmann, T. W., 1988a The 5th waterfowl census in Sri Lanka (January 1988) Loris 18 (2) 80-82
Hoffmann, T. W., 1989 The 1989 Waterfowl Census in Sri Lanka. Loris, 18 (4), 160-164.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1989a  The Ceylon Bird Club A brief avifaunal survey – 1989 Lors 18 (3), 129-131
Hoffmann, T. W., 1990 The 1990 Waterfowl census in Sri Lanka. Loris, 19 (1), 38-41.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1991. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club, 1990. Loris, 19 (3), 103-105
Hoffmann, T. W., 1991a 1991 Waterfowl censud in Sri Lanka Loris 19 (4), 147-152
Hoffmann, T. W., 1992 Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club, 1991 Loris 19 (5), 171 - 173
Hoffmann, T. W., 1993 The 1993 Waterfowl census in Sri Lanka. Loris 20 (2), 49-51
Hoffmann, T. W., 1994 Bird Club Notes, 1993. Loris, 20 (3), 107-109
Hoffmann, T. W., 1994a The 1994 Waterfowl census in Sri Lanka Loris 20 (4) 180-184
Hoffmann, T. W., 1995 Bird Club notes, 1994 Loris, 20 (5), 226-228.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1996 Ceylon Bird Club Notes 1995. Loris, 21 (1), 16-18.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1996a The 1996 Waterfowl census in Sri Lanka Loris 21(2) 42-44
Hoffmann, T. W., 1997 Ceylon Bird Club Notes 1996. Loris, 21 (3), 112-113.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1999 Ceylon Bird Club notes, 1997 Loris 22 (1), 57-58.
Senanayake, N., 2001 Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2000. Loris, 22 (5), 43-44
Siriwardana, U., 2002 Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2001. Loris, 23 (1&2), 36-40
Siriwardana, U., 2002a The 2001 Waterbird census of Sri Lanka 23 (1&2), 40-41
Siriwardana, U., 2003 Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2002 Loris, 23 (3&4) 36-39
Siriwardana, U., 2003a The 2003 Waterbird Census in Sri Lanka. Loris, 23 (3&4), 32-35
Siriwardana, U., 2004 The 2004 Waterbird census in Sri Lanka Loris, 23 (5&6), 42-43
Siriwardana, U., 2005 Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2004 Loris 24 (1&2), 33-35
Siriwardana, U. & Warakagoda D., 2006 Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2005 Loris 24 (3&4) 24-28
Siriwardana, U., 2007 Report of the Ceylon Bird Club 2006 Loris, 24 (5 & 6), 50-56
Warakagoda, D., 2000 Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 1999. Loris, 22 (4), 23-25.
Warakagoda, D., 2004 Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2003 Loris, 23 (5&6), 37-41

Harrison, J. 2011. A Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka. (2nd edition). New York:Oxford University Press.
Henry G.M.  1998 A Guide to the birds of Sri Lanka. (3rd edition). Delhi:Oxford University Press.
Kotagama, S., Ratnavira, G. 2010. An illustrated Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka. Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, Colombo.
Legge 1880 A History of the birds of Ceylon 1983 second edition. Tisara Publishers.
Wait, W.E. 1931 Manual of the Birds of Ceylon. 2nd edition. Colombo: Colombo museum.
Warakagoda, D., Inskipp, C., Inskipp, T. & Grimmett, R. 2012. Helm Field Guides - Birds of Sri Lanka. Christopher Helm, London.
Whistler, H. 1944 The Avifaunal survey of Ceylon conducted jointly by the British and Colombo museums, Checklist of the Birds of Sri Lanka Spolia Zeylanica 23: 119-321

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