Friday, May 30, 2014

වා/වල්-මුරුංගා[Wa/Wal-Murunga] (Breynia retusa)

An indigenous shrub found in scrublands, roadsides and waste lands and lands bordering the forests and within forests from lowlands to about 1500m elevation.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Asian Slim (Aciagrion occidentale)

Widely distributed insect in sub montane and monatane areas in open grass beside weedy ponds and rank herbage (de Fonseka T., 2000). But probably it has an island wide distribution in suitable habitats, but hardly notice due to its smaller size. Above specimen was photographed in rather lower elevation, a scrub land in Ambagaspitiya (~150m a.s.l.) of Gampaha district.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ceylon Ace (Halpe homolea ceylonica)

Rather uncommon insect found in wet zone forests from lowlands to mid hills. Larva probably feeds on Bamboo (Bata) species (Woodhouse L.G.O, 1950)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lindernia pusilla

An indigenous common prostrate to ascending herb grows near paddy fields and tank or pond edges from both wet and dry lowlands to about 1000m altitude.  Flowering throughout the year.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lowland Hump-nosed Pit Viper/පහතරට මූකලන් තෙලිස්සා[Pahatharata Mukalantelissa] (Hypnale zara)

An endemic snake restricted to the lowland rain forests of the south-western wet zone up to foot hills of the central highlands.  It is a nocturnal snake and during the day time stay hidden under decaying logs and leaf litter on the forest floor. Maduwage K. et al. recorded of a rare occasion of observing this snake on a shrub up to about 60cm above the forest floor. Furthermore according to them Lowland Hump-nosed Pit Viper is absent in anthropogenic habitats. Above specimen was photographed on a banana shrub - considerable height above the ground- But habitat can't be considered as a primary forest though entirely not a home garden ( 6°22'24.18"N,  80°27'8.22"E). Location -though sort of anthopogenic habitat- is very close to the Gin river as well as Sinharaja forest.

Maduwage Kalana, Silva, A., Manamendra-Arachchi, K.& Pethiyagoda, R. 2009 A taxonomic revision of the South Asian hump-nosed pit vipers (Squamata: Viperidae: Hypnale) Zootaxa 2232: 1–28 pp.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Annotated checklist of vagrant Storks, Herons and Egrets (Family: Ciconiidae and Ardeidae) recorded in Sri Lanka

    Birds that appear outside their normal range are known as vagrants. This post summarizes up to date published sight records of vagrants of Ciconiidae and Ardeidae families (Storks, Herons and Egrets) in Sri Lanka.
  Confirmed vagrants 

      1) Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
W.W.A Philllips’s sight record of two birds at the Bagura , South of Pottuvil on the 20th March 1938 and again few days later at another inundation at Helawe, both near Kumana is the first record of Black Stork in Sri lanka (Phillips W.W.A., 1940).  Second sight record was reported by C.V. Seneviratne in 1998, again a pair of birds from a marshy land near Aruvakkalu, adjacent to the Kala Oya estuary of Southern most boarder of Wilpattu National Park (Seneviratne C.V., 2000). Third sight record is from a place which is fairly inland unlike two previous occasions by W. L. D. P. T. S. D. A.  Goonathilake during the biodiversity survey of the Kala Oya basin in December 2003. He observed a single bird while perching on a Kumbuk tree at the edge of the Kok-maduwa village located near the southern bank of Rajangane reservoir. (Goonathilake, W. L. D. P. T. S. D. A., 2006). Fourth sight record is from Maduru Oya National Park on 21st April 2004 by Dinesh Eransaka Gabadage (Gabadage D.E., 2007). He also reported two birds in a partially inundated area close to the Maduru Oya reservoir.

       2) White Stork (Ciconia ciconia asiatica)
According to the Legge, Bligh met with a single bird in beginning of 1879 at Yala and subsequently after receipt of Bligh’s record, Parker informed of his observation of several at the tank of Nikawaratiya, where it appeared to be breeding in company with egrets and herons. However Legge doubted Parker’s identification since White stork doesn't breed anywhere in India and he was of the idea that Parker may have been mistaken it with Pelican-Ibis (i.e. Painted Stork) (Legge V., 1880: 1470). Col. R. C. Wall reported another sighting again at Yala on 13th August 1961 and another one was observed by Osmar Ismail in a paddy field, 10 miles from Anuradhapura on the Maradankadawela roadside during February 1975 (Phillips W.W.A 1978: 9). Next sight record is also from  a paddy field near Anuradhapura by a Dutch ornithologist during March 1976 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1977) Finally there is a sighting of a single bird at Kalamatiya on March 1985[Third sight record according to the Hoffman] (Hoffmann, T. W., 1986)

     3) Great Bittern [Eurasian Bittern] (Botaurus stellaris stellaris)
A live specimen of a Great bittern was handed over to the Zoological garden, Dehiwela by Sarath Kumara of Panadura on 14th October 1985. It did not feed in captivity and dead on the 16th morning. Later on it was handed over to the museum and preliminary identification of it as Great bittern made at the zoo was confirmed at the Museum. (Gunawardene, W. T. T. P., & Wijesinghe, D. P. 1985)

     4) Goliath Heron [Giant Heron] (Ardea goliath)
First time recorded from Sri Lanka in 4th April 1878. It was shot by Le Mesurrrier on the banks of the Mahawelliganga, a few miles above Kandakardu in the Tamankada pattuwa (Legge V., 1880: 1474-75). Again a female was procured in the beginning of 1879 at Palatupana by Exham Swyny. Another bird probably its mate, being seen about the same time at Willapalawewa(Legge V., 1880: 1474-75). According to the Wait all 2 or 3 available specimens obtained from Sri Lanka are of immature birds (Wait W.E., 1931:426). In February 1975 single bird observed at Kokkari villu in Wilpattu by D. Summers-Smith from the UK (Hoffmann, T.W., 1976)) and another single bird in a small tank near Habarana in February 1979 (Hoffmann, T.W., 1980)

Unconfirmed vagrants:
Species for which there are only one or two sight records exist listed here as unconfirmed vagrants. Problematic records without sufficient details are also included.

    5) Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchus)
First time recorded by Dieter Zingel (Germany) on 30th April 1995 at Debera wewa (Hoffmann, T. W., 1996). Later on sight record(s) by Rex. I. de Silva (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G. 2010: 176)


Gabadage D.E., 2007 Sight record of a Black Stork Ciconia nigra at Maduru Oya Siyoth 2(2) :44
Goonathilake, W. L. D. P. T. S. D. A., 2006 Third sight record of the Black Stork Ciconia nigra from Sri lanka Siyoth Vol 1 34-35.
Gunawardene, W. T. T. P., & Wijesinghe, D. P., 1985). The Eurasian Bittern: An Additional to the list of Sri Lanka Birds. Loris, 17(2), 52-53.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1996. Ceylon Bird Club Notes 1995. Loris, 21(1), 16-18.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1986. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1985. Loris, 17(3), 99-101.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1980. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1979. Loris, 15(3), 157-159.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1977. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1976. Loris, 14(3), 154-156.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1976. Notes from the Bird Club 1975. Loris, 14(1), 35-36.
Kotagama, S., Ratnavira, G. 2010. An illustrated Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka. Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, Colombo.
Legge V., 1880. A History of the birds of Ceylon  1983 second edition.
Phillips W.W.A., 1978 Annotated checklist of the Birds of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1978 revised edition
Phillips W.W.A., 1940. Ornithological observations Loris 2(3) 169 – 175
Seneviratne, C.V., 2000. The second sight record of Black Stork Ciconia nigra from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Naturalist. The Journal of the Young Zoologist Association. 3(1): 1-2
Wait W.E., 1931. Manual of the Birds of Ceylon. 2nd edition. Colombo Museum.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

බන්ඩි තිත්තයා/පොඩි පෙතියා/ඉපිලිකඩයා [Bandi Thiththaya/Podi Pethiya/Ipilikadaya]/Silver Barb (Puntius vittatus )

Common fish inhabiting ponds, streams, paddy fields and tanks in the low country - both wet and dry zone -  up to an elevation of about 300m. It is very hardy fish and is found even in ponds reduced to liquid mud during the drought (Deraniyagala P.E.P., 1952) It is also recorded from some brackish water bodies (Pethiyagoda R., 1991). Silver Barb feeds mainly on filamentous algae and blue-greens, and rarely on certain animal matters. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Philippine Ground Orchid (Spathoglottis plicata)

Native plant of Southeast Asia. Introduced as a garden plant and widely cultivated in home gardens in most areas. Also escaped and naturalized in lowland wet and sub montane zones, usually near waterways.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Drepanosticta bine

An endemic forest damselfly inhabiting shady rain forest streams of South-western wet zone from 50 to 500 m altitude. It is currently known from only 16 localities in Kegalle, Nuwaraeliya, Kaluthara, Rathnapura, Galle and Mathra districts (Bedjanič, M., 2010). Its flying period is from end April-May until September-October.

My observations

1) Observed at Dombagaskandha forest reserve at Ingiriya (One of the above mentioned 16 localities) in June 2011 and July 2012.

2) At Lankagama - a buffer zone village of Sinharaja world heritage site - in July 2008[Two years before formal description]. ( Although it has been already recorded from Kudawa side of the Sinharaja not so far from the Neluwa entrance. A stream in Haycock range of Hiniduma area is the nearest location mentioned in above 16 localities to the Lankagama)

3) At Halpankandha forest reserve (7°12.806'N, 80°08.894'E) of Meerigama in Gampaha district in May 2012 (New locality)


Bedjanič, M., 2010. Three new Drepanosticta species from Sri Lanka (Zygoptera: Platystictidae). Odonatologica 39(3): 195-215. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

මා වේවැල්/වඳුරු වැල්/පුවක් වැල්/කත් වැල්[Ma We-val/Vandhuru val/Puwak val/Kath val] (Calamus thwaitesii)

Occurs in wet lowlands and lower montane forests below 1500m a.s.l. and in intermediate lowlands from the foothills of Samanala nature reserve to southern Sinharaja (However absent in Northern Sinharaja), Hiniduma-Kanneliya and northward to Kandy upper Mahaweli and knuckles range. Also in some isolated hills in the dry zone such as Ritigala, Dimbulagala (Gunners Quoin), Nilgala and Sigiriya. Flowering from December to May and fruiting from August to October. Rattans used in furniture manufacturing and basketware and leaves for thatching.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Common shrub frog (Pseudophilautus popularis)

Common shrub frog is widely distributed species occurs in forest edges, grasslands and also in anthropogenic habitats such as home gardens and roadsides in wet lowlands. Males active at dusk and sometimes start calling even during day time in rainy days perched on low vegetation 0.3-1 m above the ground. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Pomatocalpa maculosum

Rather rare epiphyte on trees by streams in the lowland wet zone forests up to 762m altitude. Flowering from January to March.