Sunday, July 13, 2014

Annotated checklist of vagrant Doves and Pigeons (Family: Columbidae) 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 the family Columbidae (Doves and Pigeons) in Sri Lanka.

     1)Pale-capped Woodpigeon [Purple Woodpigeon] (Columba punicea)
Single specimen collected by Layard from Sri Lanka is deposited in Poole museum.He remarked that it is but rarely a visitant of the island and believed it occurs during the fruiting season of cinnamon trees (Legge V., 1880:906). While doubting that it visits only during the fruiting season of cinnamon, since visit of it does not occurs annually Legge noted a sight of a flock of brown color pigeons on cinnamon bushes near Borella in latter end of 1869 about the size of the present species. Since there is no other species which would answer the description he concluded that it might be a flock of Purple Woodpigeons. (Legge V., 1880:906Kotagama and Ratnavira noted few sightings (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G. 2010: 238 Quoting CBCN 1983, May:18)

     2)Red Collared-dove [Indian Red Turtle-dove] (Streptopelia tranquebarica tranquebarica)
Layards procured half a dozen specimens of this tiny turtle-dove from a small breeding colony in a Palmyra and coconut palm tope, in the middle of a parched plain between Point Pedro and the Jaffna/Chavakachcheri area (Legge V., 1880: 921-22). Neither Layards nor any other observer met with them nesting in Jaffna or any other area of the country then after. Wait believes that Layard’s finding was probably occurred during April (Wait W.E., 1931: 299). It was not recorded since then till single adult male was collected on the 24th November 1951, near Panama, on the east coast (Phillips W.W.A., 1978: 44 quoting Phillips W.W.A., 1952 checklist:53). Recently Vimal Tirimanna and Anura Ratnayake reported a sight record of possible juvenile female Red Collared-dove from Kithulgala - rather unusual place than its previous occurrences- on 10th March 1996 (Tirimanna, V., 1996) Two birds were also observed at south of Arugam bay in October 2005 by Uditha Hettige and Chinthaka de Silva (Sirivardana U. & Warakagoda  D. , 2006.)


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.
Sirivardana U. & Warakagoda  D. , 2006. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2005 Loris 24(3& 4), 24 - 28
Tirimanna, V., 1996. A Red Turtle Dove (?) At Kithulgala. Loris, 21(2), 48-49.
Wait W.E., 1931. Manual of the Birds of Ceylon. 2nd edition. Colombo Museum.

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