Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Common migrant and summer loiterer to lagoons, brackish lakes and salt-pans of Northern, Eastern and Southeastern coastal areas. Mainly occurring in Jaffna, Mannar and Bundala salterns usually as large flocks of several hundreds or sometimes in thousands.  Greater Flamingo mainly feeds on vegetable substances and small aquatic animals. Even though breeding of it has not been recorded from Sri Lanka nest mounds build up of mud were observed in Bundala national park several times.  The nearest breeding site from where Sri Lankan migrants probably come situated in the Rann of Kutch on the west coast between India and Pakistan

Monday, May 27, 2013

Common Lanka Skink (Lankascincus fallax)

Rather common skink widely distributed throughout the country from sea level to about 1050 m altitude in all climatic zones. It can be found among leaf litters or under logs and stones during the night and become active in the morning and evening. It is said that Common Lanka Skink forages in morning around 7.30 and in the evening around 5- 6 Pm on insects (Das, I. & De Silva, A., 2005). Throat color of male varies from blackish to reddish during the breeding season and always has some white spots on the throat. This skink can be easily distinguished from other member of the genus Lankascincus by having fused frontoparietals instead of distinct divided frontoparietals of others.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

මොණරා [Monara]/Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)

Indian Peafowl is a common breeding resident of dry lowlands and some areas in the intermediate zone. It inhabits mainly open country, chena lands and scrub lands avoiding dense forests.  Its food consists of grains, leaves, grasshoppers, termites, and also small reptiles.Its usual feeding times are in the early morning and hour or so before sunset.  It roosts on trees during the night. Indian peafowl usually lives as small groups and spends their time mostly on ground walking great distances in search of food.  It flies mostly to cross an obstacle like rivers or to escape from sudden danger.  The breeding season is from December to May and male attains its long train during the mating season.  The peahen lays 3 to 5 eggs in a slight hollow on ground well hidden in dense shrubbery.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Little Egret(Egretta garzetta)

Very common breeding resident found in swamps, paddy fields, lagoons, canals, tanks and mangroves from lowlands to lower hills while uncommon in higher hills. It feeds mainly on fish and other aquatic animals often associating with other egrets and herons. The breeding season is from December to May and it builds a nest –A platforms of sticks - in trees usually near water, colonially with other water birds.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Paddyfield Parasol (Neurothemis intermedia intermedia)

An uncommon dragonfly found in lowland forested areas, paddy fields, plantations and vicinity of tanks in the dry zone (bedjanic, M., K. Conniff & G. de Silva Wijeyeratne, 2007). Rare in the hills. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Lesser Crested Tern (Thalasseus bengalensis)

Locally common winter visitor and occasional summer loiterer to lagoons, salt-pans, sand spits and estuaries of most coastal areas. It keeps in small to large flocks usually with other terns and gulls. Lesser Crested Tern feeds on fish, plunging from some height at espied fish while flying above the water surface, and the fish is swallowed on the wing. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Wall’s Grappletail (Heliogomphus walli)

Wall’s Grappletail is a rare endemic dragonfly inhabiting fast flowing forested streams. Earlier records only exist from Morningside estate of Rakvana, Balangoda and Nalanda (de Fonseka T., 2000). 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Garganey (Anas querquedula)

Garganey is probably the most abundant of our migratory ducks.  It is very common winter visitor as large flocks to the coastal lagoons, large tanks and marshes of dry lowlands. Small flocks can be found rarely in inland tanks and wet lowlands.  It is highly gregarious bird and often associating with other migratory ducks such as Northern Pintail, Common Teal and Northern Shoveler. It feeds on grain such as rice and also insects, crustaceans and mollusks, mostly during the night.  During the day time it spends far from the shore floating in a close flock (Henry G.M. 1998).  However diurnal feeding sometime up-ending in lagoons and large water bodies can be observed nowadays probably due to lack of ‘Duck shooting’ as it prevailed during Henry’s time.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Brook Hooktail (Paragomphus henryi)

Locally common dragonfly inhabiting fast flowing streams and rivers in submontane areas according to the de Fonseka (de Fonseka T., 2000) and hills and mountain regions as per bedjanic, M.,, 2007. However F.C. Fraser in 1933 noted that it is the commonest Gomphine in the island found in everywhere at all elevations (Fraser F.C. 1933). Probably what he meant is in suitable habitats as he elaborated further that it is a jungle insect usually found sunning itself on rocks in mid streams. With the recent distribution data of Brook Hooktail in the island M. Bedjanic concluded that P. henryi is not so common anymore, being known from around 70 localities concentrated in central and southwestern part of Sri Lanka (Bedjanic M., 2013) Above picture was taken at lowland rain forest stream of southwestern Sri Lanka (Indikada Mookalana – A heavily degraded secondary forest) with about 40m height above sea level (6°54.072'N, 80°09.724'E). Males Brook Hooktail can be easily distinguished from all others of the family by having long hook like down-curved anal appendages (insert). Female lack that expansion.

Fraser F.C. 1933 The Gomphines of Ceylon (Order Odnata), F.C. Fraser, Ceylon Journal of Science (B) Vol. XVIII, Pt 1 December 22, 1933 page 33 

bedjanic, M.,  K. Conniff & G. |de Silva Wijeyeratne, 2007, Gehan's photo guide: Dragonflies of Sri Lanka. Jetwing Eco Holidays, Colombo 248p.

de Fonseka, T. (2000). The dragonflies of Sri Lanka. Wildlife Heritage Trust: Colombo. 304 p. 

bedjanic, M. 2013 Paragomphus Campestris Spec.Nov., A New endemic dragonfly from Sri Lanka (Ansoptera:Gomphidae) Odonatologica 42(1): 45-53 March 1, 2013 (,%202013.pdf)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Stork-billed Kingfisher/Manathudu Maha-pilihuduwa/Maha Pilihuduwa(Pelargopsis capensis capensis)

Stork-billed Kingfisher is the largest of the Kingfisher family in Sri Lanka. It is an uncommon breeding resident in rivers, streams tanks, marshes, paddy fields, and lagoons - usually adjoining wooded areas- from lowlands to lower hills. It is more common in dry zone. Stork-billed Kingfisher lives as pairs or solitary birds.  It mainly feeds on fish, frogs, crabs and other small animals. The breeding season is from January to May and probably again from August to September. The nest is a well concealed hole on the banks of rivers or tank-bunds.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Angled Pierrot (Caleta decidia)

Angled Pierrot is an uncommon butterfly more partial to the jungle habitats of wet lowlands up to mid hills. De’ Abrera noted that Angled Pierrot is neither a ‘mud-puddler- nor a creature of open countryside (de’Abrera B., 1998). However mud-puddling individuals are not uncommon and also it inhabits open areas but always close to the jungles such as jungle foot paths (Above picture was also taken at such a habitat and it was mud puddling on a muddy foot path though it has flew away and settled on a near by shrub where picture was taken). It is frequent in jungle clearings and in shady streams (Banks J&J, 1999). It is a swift  flying insect which takes part in migrations.  The larva feeds on Maha-Eraminiya plants (Ziziphus rugosa)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Crimson-fronted Barbet (Megalaima rubricapillus)

Common breeding resident found in forests, open wooded areas, gardens and cultivation from wet lowlands to mid hills, and locale in the dry zone.  As all other barbets it is a fruit eater and out of the breeding season forms scattered flocks especially in the neighborhood of fruiting trees such as Bo, Nuga, etc. Otherwise it is mostly encounters as solitary birds or as pairs. The breeding season is from January to June and it lays 2-3 white eggs in a tree hole dug into the lower surface of a sloping branch rather than into an upright post. Some ornithologists consider Crimson-fronted Barbet as an endemic bird to Sri Lanka while others believe it as a proposed endemic which need to be verify taxonomically.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mosaic plant (Ludwigia sedioides )

Mosaic plant is a very recent addition to the flora of Sri Lanka. It is a native plant of tropical central and South America. It was introduced as an ornamental plant and now naturalized in some Sri Lankan wetlands. It was originally recorded from Southwest Sri Lanka (De Vlas J. & J. 2008) and spreading. Above picture was taken at Pahuru Ela marsh of Kelani basin close to the Malvana town.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark (Eremopterix griseus)

Locally common breeding resident in dry lowlands, especially in coastal areas. Occasionally visit wet zone and hills.  It inhabits arid open country, dry paddy fields and grasslands where it can be seen as pairs or - if it is outside the breeding season - as smaller to larger flocks. Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark mainly feeds on small seeds. It also takes insects and young are largely fed on them. It is a strict ground dweller and never perches on trees. The breeding season is from March to July. The nest a small hole dug on open ground lined with grass sometime with decorated environs with small stones, lumps of clay etc. 

Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark female is very much like to Female House Sparrow but grayer.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Amazon Lily (Eucharis grandiflora)

Native to Andes of Columbia and Peru. Cultivated in low and mid country home gardens as an ornamental plant. Flowering from March to May.