Monday, October 20, 2014

Vagrant Quails (Family: Phasianidae) 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 Phasianidae (Quails) in Sri Lanka.

 1) Rain Quail [Black-breasted Quail] (Coturnix coromandelica) 
Then director of the Colombo museum Haly had obtained the first specimen of a Rain Quil, a male in January 1883 and again two females in July of the same year. All those were shot at Colombo (Nevill, H., 1887). Hue Nevill also mention of a specimen of a female said to be shot at Dumbara, near Kandy by a local taxidermist which he purchased from him in 1875. But he viewed it with suspicion (Nevill, H., 1887). Wait speaking probably of these three specimens noted that Rain quail has been recorded from the environs of Colombo and three specimens are in museum taken near that town (Wait W.E., 1933: 307Phillips mentioned of a large quail seen at Rugan tank of eastern province on 10th November 1947 probably of a bird of this species and according to him there are several sightings from Ruhuna national park too (Phillips W.W.A., 1978: 21).  Early March 1962 another pair was positively identified by T.E. Tunnard on a road on Vellai oya estate, Hatton and another one was reported by D.V.A Tirimanna from a garden at Kandana on the 20th November 1976 (Phillips W.W.A, 1978: 21 & Hoffmann, T. W. 1977). CBC Notes reported several sightings at Udawalawe National Park in December 2001 (Siriwardana, U., 2002), November 2002 [six birds] (Siriwardana, U., 2003), January 2003 and again two birds in November 2003 (Warakagoda, D., 2004). Sighting of two birds at Udawalawe NP is given in the Report of CBC for the 2008-2011 period (Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011)

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.

     2) Common Quail(Coturnix coturnix) 
Only reference available for occurrence of Common Quail in Sri Lanka is Bligh’s record from ‘Yala district’ in January 1879 of a pair of large quails which were flushed from beneath his feet, and flew away strongly, uttering a chirping note similar to the Common quail.(Legge V. 1880: 992)


Hoffmann, T. W., 1977. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1976. Loris, 14(3), 154-156.
Legge V., 1880. A History of the birds of Ceylon  1983 second edition.
Nevill, H. (1887). Ornithological notes (Ceylon). Taprobanian, 2(5), 131-132.
Phillips W.W.A., 1978 Annotated checklist of the Birds of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1978 revised edition.
Siriwardana, U., 2003. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2002. Loris, 23(3&4), 36-39.
Siriwardana, U., 2002. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2001. Loris, 23(1&2), 36-40
Wait W.E., 1931. Manual of the Birds of Ceylon. 2nd edition. Colombo Museum.
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)

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