Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vagrant Wagtails and Pipits (Family: Motacillidae) 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 Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits) in Sri Lanka.
  Confirmed vagrants

     1) White-browed Wagtail [Large Pied Wagtail] (Motacilla maderaspatensis)
Single specimen of this bird was detected by Layard in a collection of birds made by Gisburne, C.C.S., in the Jaffna Peninsula. It is supposed that exact locality from which it came from is island of Velenny (Whistler 1944:191). Another sight record of single bird reported by P.B. Karunaratne at left bank of the Mahaweli River at PolgollaKandy on the 14th November 1976 and again on the 14th January 1977 (Phillips W.W.A., 1978: 88). However Hoffmann had given February 1976 as the first recent record of this wagtail by P.B. Karunarane from Polgolla after the Layard’s specimen (Hoffmann, T. W., 1977). In January 1977 it was again observed for the 2nd consecutive year in the nearly dry bed of the Mahaweli River below the dam of Polgolla and again in paddy fields near Polgolla dam on November of the same year (Hoffmann, T. W., 1978). No doubt the same bird reported even on May 1978 and appeared again in November 1978 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1979), December 1980 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1981), January 1981 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1982). In January 1983 two birds reported from Delft Island during the mid January duck count. Since they are common throughout the Indian peninsula Hoffmann suspected that they might have become residents in Delft islands (Hoffmann, T. W., 1984 & Hoffmann, T. W., 1983). They were again reported on January and May of 1990 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1991). One bird was reported from Punkudutivu lagoon in January 1984 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1985)

     2) Olive-backed Pipit [Indian Tree Pipit] (Anthus hodgsoni yunnanensis)
First time recorded from Anuraddhapura in January 1982 by Dr Bob Fleming jnr. an ornithologist from Nepal and regular visitor to the Sri Lanka. A flock was observed and he believes that they belong to the race Hodgsoni (Hoffmann, T. W., 1983a). It was again reported from Hunuwilagama on March 1987 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1988) and at Wilpattu National park on January 2004 (Siriwardana, U., 2005)

Unconfirmed vagrants:

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

     3) Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)
First record of occurrence of this pipit in Sri Lanka is the sight record of single bird at Yala national park in 2003 by Deepal Warakagoda (Warakagoda, D., 2004). Second record of it is given by Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U. in/near Yala Block 1 in the report of Ceylon Bird Club for 2008-2011 periods (Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011)

     4) Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)
Sight record at Wirawila in 2003 by Deepal Warakagoda is the only record. (Warakagoda, D., 2004)


Hoffmann, T. W., 1991. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club, 1990. Loris, 19(3), 103-105.

Hoffmann, T. W., 1988. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1987, A brief avifaunal survey. Loris, 18(1), 23-25
Hoffmann, T. W., 1985. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1984. Loris, 17(1), 10-12.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1984. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1983. Loris, 16(6), 299-301.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1983a. Notes from the Ceylon Birds Club. Loris, 16(3), 132-134.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1983. The 1983 Mid-January Duck (and Flamingo) Count in Sri Lanka. Loris, 16(3), 116-123.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1982. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1981. Loris, 16(1), 38-40.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1981. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1980. Loris, 15(5), "283-284,292".
Hoffmann, T. W., 1979. Note from the Ceylon Bird club 1978. Loris, 15(1), 6-8.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1978. Bird Club Notes (1977). Loris, 14(5), 289-290.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1977. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1976. Loris, 14(3), 154-156.
Phillips W.W.A., 1978 Annotated checklist of the Birds of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1978 revised edition.
Siriwardana, U., 2005. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2004. Loris, 24(1&2), 33-35
Warakagoda, D., 2004. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2003 Loris, 23(5&6), 37-41
Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2008-2011, Loris 26 (1&2)
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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