Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Zebra Blue (Syntarucus plinius)

Common butterfly occurs throughout the island up to higher hills. It is one of the commonest in drier parts of the country where male Zebra blues are always seen congregated around mud puddles and other moist areas. Larva feeds on flowers of Aeschynomene americana, Indigofera tinctoria(නිල් අවරි), Rhynchosia minima, Plumbago auriculata(Cape leadwort) and Plumbago zeylanica(එළ-නිතුල්/Ceylon leadwort/White plumbago)*

*Jayasinghe H.D., Rajapaksha S.S. & de Alwis C. 2014 A Compilation and Analysis of food plants utilization of Sri Lankan butterfly larva (Papilionoidea) TaprobanicaVol 6(2) 110-131pp.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kendrickia walkeri

An indigenous sometime epiphytic climber climbing often high on the tree trunks and branches of forest trees. Rather common in the montane zone. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Dendrolobium umbellatum

An indigenous shrub occurs in sea coasts (usually on sand just above the high water marks) and borders of brackish ponds. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Vagrant Thrushes (Family: Turdidae) 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 Turdidae (Thrushes ) in Sri Lanka.    

     1) Eyebrowed Thrush [Dark Thrush] (Turdus obscurus)
Graham Speight of UK reported a bird first time on 24th February 1994 at Nuwaraeliya. The same bird was reported by Ole F. Jakobsen in Forktail 10 (February 1995) as having been seen on 5th February 1994 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1995) A sight record of it again reported from Nuwaraeliya in February 2002 (Siriwardana, U., 2003). Another bird observed at Horton plains NP on December 2005 (Sirivardana U. & Warakagoda  D. , 2006). Subsequent sights records are--
Hoffmann, T. W., 1995. Ceylon Bird Club Notes 1994. Loris, 20(5), 226-227.
Siriwardana, U., 2003. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2002. Loris, 23(3&4), 36-39.
Sirivardana U. & Warakagoda  D. , 2006. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2005 Loris 24(3& 4), 24 - 28

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Erigeron sublyratus

Rather rare indigenous annual herb occurs in sandy places of the low country, often near water courses or close to the sea shore. Flowering September- December.

Friday, April 24, 2015

සල්[Sal]/Cannon ball tree(Couroupita guianensis)[Couroupita surinamensis]

Native plant of South America. Introduced probably in 1881# and widely cultivated throughout the country since then. Often cultivated near Buddhist temples wrongly believing that this is the Sal tree under that queen Mahamaya gave birth to the prince Sidhdhartha and also Parinibbana (demise) of the Lord Buddha occurred *
*That Sal tree is Shorea obusta of Dipterocarpaceae family ( A native plant of Indian subcontinent ( )

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Decorated Ace (Thoressa decorata)

Rare endemic butterfly found in southwestern forest areas up to about 1200 m elevations. No data available on its larval host plants or early stages of the life cycle.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kurunegala Daisy/Coat-buttons(Tridax procumbens)

An introduced perennial with procumbent stems. Native to Central America. Common weed of roadsides, wastelands, lawns and cultivated grounds. Flowering occurs throughout the year.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

කිරිල්ල/කිරල/හොඳ කිරල[Kirilla/Kirala/Honda kirala](Sonneratia caseolaris)

An indigenous shrub or small tree common in mangrove swamps and tidal estuaries. Also extending upstream along the river banks. Found in most mangrove swamps in Sri Lanka. Ripe fruit are used to make a drink. Flowers open during the night and pollinated by bats. Flowering September and probably also from February to August*

* Flowers observed at Telwatta sanctuary during mid April. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Malabar Trogon [Ceylon Trogon]/මහ ගිනි-කුරුල්ලා/ලෝහවන්නිච්චා[Maha Gini Kurulla/Lohawannichcha] (Harpactes fasciatus fasciatus)

An uncommon breeding resident inhabiting dense forests from wet lowlands to hills while local and rare in the dry zone forests. It lives in fairs or as small flocks. Feeds on flying insects such as beetles, moths, stick insects, etc darting out from the perched location where it stays motionless without noticing any casual observers. Often feeds during dawn and dusk. It join feeding flocks. Malabar Trogon breeds from February to June. The nest is a cavity in a tree trunk, usually a rotten dead one and where it lays 2-3 eggs. Both male and female incubate. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

තේ/Tea(Camellia sinensis)

Native plant of China. Widely cultivated in the hill country and some lowland areas for widely consumed beverage of the world.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon teredon)

Common butterfly flies all the year round in the southwestern wet lowlands up to the hills. Rather local and uncommon in the dry lowlands and absent in the extreme north. Males often come to mud puddling. It has a fast flight. Bluebottle does not take part in migrations. Larva feeds on leaves of Cinnamomum verum(කුරුදු), Cinnamomum capparu-coronde(කපුරු කුරුඳු), Cinnamomum dubium(සෙවල කුරුඳු), Cinnamomum ovalifolium, Neolitsea cassia(කුඩුදවුල/දවුල් කුරුදු), Neolitsea fuscata, Litsea gardneri(තලන්), and Actinodaphne stenophylla(නික දවුල)*

van der Poorten, G. and van der Poorten N., 2011. New and revised descriptions of the immature stages of some butterflies in Sri Lanka and their larval food plants (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera, 44: 111–127. 
Jayasinghe H.D., Rajapaksha S.S. & de Alwis C. 2014 A Compilation and Analysis of food plants utilization of Sri Lankan butterfly larva (Papilionoidea) TaprobanicaVol 6(2) 110-131pp.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dracaena thwaitesii

An indigenous shrub occurs in moist forests from lowlands to hill country (Up to about 1200 m a.s.l. ) Flowering from May to August.*

* Several flowering plants observed during early March at Morapitiya - Runakanda forest reserve. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Busy Lizzie (Impatiens wallerana)

An introduced perennial herb native to tropical East Africa. Cultivated and also naturalized on shaded river banks, roadsides and pathways often in or near villages  from 850-1200 m elevations.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

අලු ගිරවා[Alu Girawa]/Sri Lanka Emerald-collared Parakeet/Layard's Parakeet (Psittacula calthropae)

Locally common endemic parrot inhabiting forests and well wooded areas in the wet lowlands to mid-hills and foothills of the dry lowlands. However its main habitat is in the hills from their bases to about 1500 a.s.l. It lives as pairs or as small flocks. Sri Lanka Emerald-collared Parakeet feeds on fruits, flowers,buds, nectar etc. The breeding season is from January to May and again from July to September. The nest is a hole in the trunk of a tree where it lays 2-3 eggs.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Striped dewflower (Murdannia striatipetala)

An indigenous annual herb occurs in abandoned paddy fields, wet open sandy areas, ditches, seasonal swampy places, edge of scrubland etc. from sea level to about 30 m a.s.l. Flowering from January to February. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

St.John's Wort(Hypericum mysurense)

An indigenous much-branched shrub occurs in patanas, grasslands and open busy places in upper montane zone (Above 1500 m). Flowering throughout the year.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Little Branded Swift (Pelopidas agna)

Little branded Swift is a rare butterfly with not much data on its distribution in the island. As per Woodhouse it is more likely to be found in the mid to upper hills while other similar species Small Branded Swift (Pelopidas mathias) with larger spots flies in the low country to mid hills (L.G.O. Woodhouse, 1950). It inhabits grasslands and open areas. Larva feeds on Oryza sativa ගොයම් and another unidentified Poaceae species.*

Friday, April 10, 2015

කූඩලු[Kudalu]/Garden balsam/Common balsam (Impatiens balsamina)

An introduced annual herb native to India and Southeast Asian mainland.  It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant and also escaped and naturalized along roadsides and open places. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Heliotropium scabrum

A spreading or procumbent indigenous herb occurs along roadsides and wastelands of the dry zone. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Annotated checklist of vagrant Shrikes (Family: Laniidae) 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 Laniidae (Shrikes) in Sri Lanka.

Great Grey Shrike [Northern Shrike/Southern Grey Shrike](Lanius excubitor meridionalis)
First sight record of it is from a scrub jungle on the outskirts of paddy cultivation near Kekirawa during December 1940 (Phillips W.W.A, 1978). Second record is from 6-7th mile of Murunkan - Silavaturai Road in May 1974 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1975).
Several other sightings are - 
1) Single bird from Maho in January 1978 (Hoffmann, T. W.,1979), 
2) Single bird (Pied Shrike?) from Pannikar villu-Wilpattu in January 1983 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1984), 
3) Single bird at Hantana in January 1985 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1986), 
4) Two sighting in February 1986 - one at Buttuwa in Yala and other one at Horton plains (Hoffmann, T. W., 1987
5) Sighting of two birds at Ampitiya in January 1992 (Hoffmann, T. W.. 1993)

Hoffmann, T. W., 1975. Notes From The Ceylon Bird Club, 1974. Loris, 13(5), 275-276.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1979. Note from the Ceylon Bird club 1978. Loris, 15(1), p6-8.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1984. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1983. Loris, 16(6), 299-301.
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., 1993. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club, 1992. Loris, 20(1), p12-14.
Phillips W.W.A, 1978. Annotated checklist of the Birds of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1978 revised edition

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Elephant ear (Caladium bicolor)

Native herb of South America. Introduced as an ornamental foliage and escaped and naturalized in the lowland open disturbed areas, especially in rubber plantations.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Gymnostachyum hirsutum

Rather rare endemic herb occurs along stream banks of submontane secondary forests. Flowering from April to July.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Philippine Swift (Catloris philippina seriata)

Rare butterfly found in wet zone habitats from lowlands to about 300ft elevation of the hills. Larva feeds on Bambusa multiplex, Bambusa vulgaris (උණ), Dendrocalamus giganteus and Ochlandra stridula (බට) of the family Poaceae.(Jayasinghe H.D. et. al. 2014)


Jayasinghe H.D., Rajapaksha S.S. & de Alwis C. 2014 A Compilation and Analysis of food plants utilization of Sri Lankan butterfly larva (Papilionoidea) TaprobanicaVol 6(2) 110-131pp.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Cyanotis axillaris

An indigenous herb occurs margins of tanks, ponds, rock pools and water holes, swamps, moist grassy and seepage areas, grasslands, roadsides, roadside ditches, etc, from sea level to 470 m elevations. Flowering from October to April and July.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Youth and Age (Zinnia elegans)

Native herb of Mexico. Introduced as an ornamental plant and cultivated in gardens. Also escaped and perhaps naturalized in the waste grounds and margins of fields. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Small Buttonquail (Annotated checklist of vagrant Buttonquails(Family: Turnicidae) of Sri Lanka)

      Birds that appear outside their normal range are known as vagrants. This post listed up to date published sight records of the single *unconfirmed vagrant of the family Turnicidae (Buttonquails) in Sri Lanka.

      1) Small Buttonquail (Turnix sylvaticus dussumier)
Single sight record from the Buttuwa wewa area of the Yala national park in February 1978 by Dr. Ben King, an American ornithologist, is the only record of the occurrence of this bird in Sri Lanka (Hoffmann, T. W. 1979 & Hoffmann, T. W., 1978)

     Hoffmann, T. W., 1979. Note from the Ceylon Bird club 1978. Loris, 15(1), p 6-8.
     Hoffmann, T. W., 1978. New birds in Sri Lanka. Loris, 14(5), 308.

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

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Barleria cristata

An introduced small shrub native to Southeast Asia. Cultivated in gardens. Flowering throughout the year.