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)

References:

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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cape leadwort(Plumbago capensis [=Plumbago auriculata])

Small shrub native to South Africa. Cultivated in home gardens as an ornamental plant. Flowering throughout the year. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Silver Streak Blue (Iraota timoleon nicevillei)

Rather uncommon butterfly mostly due to its habit of flying in canopy and rarely descending to the lower levels. It is probably distributed throughout the country where its larval food plants grows (Varies Ficus species of family Moraceae) excluding higher hills. Almost all last century authors on butterfly fauna of Sri Lanka noted that Silver Streak Blue is common in Colombo (Ormiston W., 1924, Woodhouse L.G.O., 1950, and d' Abrera B., 1998). Larva feeds on fruits of බෝ/කපුටු බෝ (Ficus religiosa /Ficus arnottiana ), අට්ටික්කා (Ficus racemosa) and varies නුග species (Ficus benghalensis, Ficus drupacea, Ficus microcarpa, Ficus tsjahela) - (Jayasinghe H.D. et. al. 2014)

References:
d' Abrera Bernard , 1998 The Butterflies of CeylonWHT Publications : Colombo.
Jayasinghe H.D., Rajapaksha S.S. & de Alwis C. 2014 A Compilation and Analysis of food plants utilization of Sri Lankan butterfly larva (Papilionoidea) Taprobanica Vol 6(2) 110-131pp.
Ormiston  W., 1924 The Butterflies of Ceylon, H.W.Cave & Co., Colombo 1924, AES Reprint New Delhi, 2003
Woodhouse L.G.O. , 1950 The Butterfly Fauna of CeylonCeylon Government Press, Colombo, 2nd (Abriged) Edition.  1950.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Annotated checklist of vagrant Munias (Family: Estrildidae) 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 Estrildidae (Munias & allies) in Sri Lanka.

Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla)
While including this bird to his country list base on a remark made by Layard that he found this Munia at GalleLegge suspected that its presence in the Galle district must have been owing to a flock escaped from a ship at Galle harbor (Legge 1880 : 850). However during 1977-1981 pest species survey it was seen by Dr Sarath Kotagama in the Hingurana and Udawalawe areas and again recorded at Ridiyagama by A.J. Vincent (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G. 2010:.318)

References:
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.




Saturday, September 20, 2014

Large Guava Blue (Virachola perse ghela)

A rare butterfly flies in drier parts of the country. This butterfly has a habit of chasing other passing by butterflies, darting out from a particular leaf which it selected to rest during the hottest hours of the day*. Its larval host plant is කුකුරුමාන් (Catunaregam spinosa) and larva feeds on its fruits.

*Same habit has been observed on some other butterflies of widely different families

Thursday, September 18, 2014

කුඹුක් [Kubuk] (Terminalia arjuna)

An indigenous large tree found along water courses of dry lowlands and intermediate zone forested areas, marshes, tank edges etc. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Baronet (Symphaedra nais)


Rather rare butterfly with local distribution in south-central and south-eastern part of the country from Haldummulla to Batticola and there to Trincomalee. Larva feeds on කඩුම්බේරිය(Diospyros melanoxylon) (Woodhouse L.G.O., 1950)

References:
Woodhouse L.G.O. (1950) The Butterfly Fauna of CeylonCeylon Government Press, Colombo, 2nd (Abridge) Edition.  1950.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

කැටකෑල[katakela] (Bridelia retusa)

A small tree distributed in dry and intermediate forest subcanopy. Infrequently in wet zone forests also. Roots and barks use in traditional medicine and wood use in construction industry. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Annotated checklist of vagrant raptors (Family: Accipitridae and Falconidae) 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 Falconidae (Falcons) and Accipitridae (Osprey, Kites, Hawks & Eagles) families in Sri Lanka.


      1)Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni)
Lesser Kestrel was recorded first time in Sri Lanka by Deepal Warakagoda on 7th February 1995 at Palatupana of Yala National Park (Hoffmann, T. W., 1996). Sight records from Udawalawe on November 2003 and Horton plains National Park on December same year are the 2nd and 3rd records of it, for the island (Warakagoda, D., 2004)

      2) Amur Falcon [Red-legged falcon] (Falco amurensis)
First record of this falcon in Sri Lanka is the specimen procured by Legge at Trincomalie in December 1872 (Legge 1880: 160). Another bird in company with kestrels was observed and identified by G.M. Henry from Colombo racecourse in March 1933 (Whistler 1944: 241). Single female was observed in a coconut grove at Thenadi bay, east coast on May 1978 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1979). On 12th November 1984 single bird observed at Mahasilawa of Yala National Park (Hoffmann, T. W., 1985). Probably the same bird again reported in February 1985 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1986). CBC notes contains single sighting of this Falcon for 1998 and it was reported in the month of December at Udawalawe National Park (Warakagoda, D., 1999). Three sightings were reported during year 1999 including one female from Udawalawe National Park on November (Warakagoda, D., 2000). During 2003 November two sightings were reported, one from Yala National Park and other one near Talladi (Warakagoda, D., 2004). There are a sight records  from Yala National Park in 2005 (Sirivardana U. Warakagoda  D. , 2006and in January 2006 (Siriwardana, U. 2007). Sight record at Colombo is given in the Report of CBC for 2008-2011 (Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011.)

     3)Egyptian Vulture(Neophron percnopterus ginginianus)
An immature Egyptian Vulture probably driven to the south by the North-East monsoon from India appeared at Nuwaraeliya in March 1874.  It was shot by Grinlinton of the P.W.D while roaming about bazaar in search of foods (Legge 1880:3). There is another sight record made by Iris Darnton in January 1950 of a single bird from the Jaffna peninsula (Phillips 1978:18).

     4)Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus)
A single specimen collected in 1934 from Polgahawela by W.S. Lang and now deposited at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology; University of California is the only record of this species from Sri Lanka. However it is suspected as a specimen of a captive bird (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G. 2010: 194 Quoting Rasmussen & Anderton 2005: 101)

      5)Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus rufinus)
Long-legged Buzzard was first time reported in Sri Lanka at Horton plains on 26th January 1989 by Ben King, James Clements and Robert Clements (Hoffmann, T. W., 1989). It was again reported from Horton plains in 1994 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1995), November 1997 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1999), February 2002 (Siriwardana, U., 2003) February 2003 (Warakagoda, D., 2004)  and 2005 (Sirivardana U. Warakagoda  D. , 2006). A sight record also available for the year 1995 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1996). 

      6) Bonelli's Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus fasciatus)
Single specimen collected by R. Templeton prior to 1858 and identified by Blyth is the earliest record of the occurrence of Bonelli’s eagle in Sri Lanka (Whistler 1944: 242). Second record of it is the sight record of Deepal Warakagoda at Bundala National Park on December 2000 (Senanayake, N., 2001) while third being at Ratugala in March 2002 (Siriwardana, U., 2003). However there is a reference for another earlier unconfirmed single sight record at Randeniyagala on August 1995 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1996).

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.

      7)Back-thighed Falconet [Black-legged Falconet] (Microhierax fringillarius)
W.E. Wait included this falconet to his monograph base on a comment made by E.E. Green of presence of it in Sri Lanka (Wait 1931: 283). E.E. Green’s description of two incidents appeared in Spolia zeylanica vol 8 page 287 is quoted here. “For those who are interested in bird life, I would draw attention to the probable occurrence of an unsuspected bird in the hilly parts of Ceylon. I refer to one of the smallest of the hawk tribe, a falconet, three species of which are found in India. The first suggestion of the presence of such a bird came to me through a planter in Hewaheta, who described to me how he had seen two black birds fighting, and how one of them had killed the other and had flown away with it. I had, later, the good fortune to witness a similar occurrence myself. In this case the victim was a common “bulbul." I was attracted by its cries of distress, and came upon the scene just in time to see it disappearing over the trees in the clutches of a tiny dark-colored hawk that looked no bigger than itself. Naturally, I had no gun with me, and so was unable to verify my observation. If our falconet is identical with one of the Indian species, it will probably prove to be Microhierax fringillarius, the smallest of the three, which ranges through the southern portion of TenasserimMalay Peninsula, SumatraBorneo, and Java. This species is said to feed more exclusively upon birds.” (Green E.E.,  )

      8) Red-necked Falcon (Falco chicquera chicquera)
Legge included this Falcon to his monograph base on the Layard’s observation of it in the flat country near Pt. Pedro (Legge 1880: 150). Legge further noted that since it is found in the extreme south of the Indian peninsula there is no reason against believing of visiting this little falcon of northern shores of CeylonWait also considered this bird as a possible falcon in our lands referring to Layard’s observation mentioned in Legge’s and also due to its occurrence of practically all over India (Wait 1931: 282). There is a reference in Kotagama & Ratnavira (2010) of a sight record in 1986 quoting CBCN 1986, June: 22 but annual reviews of CBC notes for 1986 doesn't contain such a sight record (Hoffmann, T. W., 1987)

      9) Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus nisosimilis)
Deepal Warakagoda’s sight record of Eurasian Sparrowhawk at Ambawela in 2003 is considered as the first and only record of occurrence of this raptor in Sri Lanka (Warakagoda, D., 2004). However under ‘List of rejections (after 1990) ‘of Ceylon bird club there is a reference of another possible previous sighting of a single bird near Sigiriya on 24th December 1993, which was  rejected by CBCCRRC as claimed record was not meeting the criteria for the Sri Lanka List or the Appendices by the CBCRRC. (http://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/List-of-Rejections.pdf)

References:

Green E.E. Some suggestions for members of the Ceylon Natural History Society. Spolia zeylanica Vol 8 p. 287.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1979. Note from the Ceylon Bird club 1978. Loris, 15(1), p 6-8.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1985. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1984. Loris, 17(1), p 10-12.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1986. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1985. Loris, 17(3), 99-101.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1987. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1986. Loris, 17(5), 209-210
Hoffmann, T. W., 1989. The Ceylon Bird Club. Loris, 18(3), 129-131.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1995. Ceylon Bird Club Notes 1994. Loris, 20(5), 226-227.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1996. Ceylon Bird Club Notes 1995. Loris, 21(1), 16-18.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1999. Ceylon Bird Club Notes, 1997. Loris, 22(1), 57-58.
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.
Senanayake, N., 2001. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2000. Loris, 22(5), 43-44
Siriwardana, U., 2003. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2002. Loris, 23(3&4), 36-39.
Siriwardana, U., 2007 Report of the Ceylon Bird Club 2006 Loris, 24(5 & 6), 50-56
Sirivardana U. Warakagoda  D. , 2006. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2005 Loris 24(3&4), 24 - 28
Wait W.E., 1931. Manual of the Birds of Ceylon. 2nd edition. Colombo Museum.
Warakagoda, D., 1999. Ceylon Bird Club Notes,1998. Loris, 22(2), 33-34.
Warakagoda, D., 2000. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 1999. Loris, 22(4), 23-25.
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. Spolia Zeylanica 23(3&4): 119-321

Friday, September 5, 2014

Torenia cyanea

An endemic herb with creeping stems, occurs between 160m to 1800m elevations from wet lowlands to hills.  Much common in the hill country. Usually found among short grasses in shaded places near streams.  Flowering throughout the year.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

පුල්ලි වක්-නිය හූනා /Spotted Bowfinger Gecko (Cyrtodactylus triedrus)


Spotted Bowfinger Gecko is a ground dwelling gecko found under stones, among leaf litter and under decaying logs of forests, plantations and home gardens in wet lowlands and mid hills below 700m elevation and few wet and shaded localities of the dry and intermediate zones. Mainly a nocturnal gecko though juveniles might active even during the day time.

Monday, September 1, 2014