Saturday, May 30, 2015

Parakeet-flower/Parakeet heliconia (Heliconia psittacorum)

Native herb of tropical South America,southern Caribbean islands to eastern Brazil. Introduced as an ornamental plant and cultivated in home gardens. Also naturalized in many places from lowlands to hills. Flowering probably throughout the year.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Passion fruit vine/Banana passion fruit/Sweet cup(Passiflora edulis)

An introduced climber cultivated in gardens and plantations. Also naturalized along forest margins and disturbed places up to about 2200 m elevations. Probably a native plant of Brazil. Flowering from September to April. Fruits edible and used for beverages. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Desmodium repandum

An indigenous herb occurs in shaded places of forests and forest edges in the montane zone up to about 2000 m a.s.l. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

මොණර පෙතන්[Monara-pethan]/Umbrella-dracaena (Dianella ensifolia)

Common herb in mid-hills to montane region up to about 1500 m elevations. Flowering in April and flowers open in the afternoon. Probably an indigenous plant also occurs in Africa, Australia, tropical Asia, Madagaskar, Mauritius, Southern China, Thaiwan, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and pacific islands. Berries shining blue when ripe. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

අලු ප්‍රීනියා/ අලු හම්බුකුරුල්ලා[Alu Prinia/Alu Hambu Kurulla]Ashy Prinia(Prinia socialis brevicauda)

Common breeding resident inhabiting grasslands, paddy fields and scrubs throughout the island. Much common in the dry zone. It lives as pairs and feeds on small insects, spiders, etc. The breeding season lasts from February to June and August to October. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

මිරිස් [Miris]/Chilli/Red pepper (Capsicum annuum)

Native plant probably of Mexico to Colombia. Now widely cultivated in plantations and home gardens. Occasionally escaped.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Acranthera ceylanica

An endemic perennial herb occurs in moist shady places, often near streams in lower montane zone.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Queen-of-the-night/Lady-of-the-night/Night blooming Jasmine(Cestrum nocturnum)

Native shrub of Mexico. Introduced and often cultivated in home gardens for its scent. Sometimes escaped and naturalized. Flowering in June, November and probably in other months of the year during the dry season. Flowers opening during the night.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mexican sword-plant (Echinodorus palifolius)

An introduced marsh herb cultivated, escaped and probably naturalized along pond margins, marshy areas and ditches around Colombo*. Mexican sword-plant is a popular aquarium plant native to South America.

*Naturalized populations observed at Thalangama tank, Kotte marshes and Bellanwila-Attidiya sanctuary. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gaudy Baron/Elahera Butterfly(Euthalia lubentina psittacus)

Rather uncommon butterfly though widely distributed throughout the island in all climatic zones from sea level to about 1500 m altitude. Both males and females settle on wet earth to absorb minerals and feeds on rotten fruits (which is unusual since in most other butterflies it is only males do mud puddling.) Woodhouse* remarks that it is also known as the Elehera (ඇලහැර) among 'Kandy collectors'  since it is always found in that area during March and September. Larva feeds on varies Loranthus[පිළිල] (Family: Loranthaceae) species (Dendrophthoe falcata, Macrosolen capitellatus, Taxillus incanu, Taxillus tomentosus and Tolypanthus gardneri)# 

* Woodhouse L.G.O. (1950) The Butterfly Fauna of CeylonCeylon Government Press, Colombo, 2nd (Abriged) Edition.  1950.
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, May 19, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

Henckelia communis[Chirita zeylanica]

Rather common endemic herb occurs in rocky areas in and along shaded stream beds of  undisturbed montane forests of the wet and intermediate zones (Above 750m a.s.l.). Flowering in March and June to August (Probably irregularly throughout the year)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Slender-billed Oriole (Annotated checklist of vagrant Orioles (Family: Oriolidae) 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 Oriolidae (Orioles ) in Sri Lanka.

      1Slender-billed Oriole (Oriolus tenuirostris)
Single sight record at Bundala available according to the Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G. 2010: 274 Quoting CBCN 2002, Dec: 250). A sight record of single bird on 31st December 2003 at Bundala national park is listed in Appendix 2 ( of CBC under the criteria of the report ‘lacks sufficient diagnostic detail or, where necessary, sufficient comparison with ‘confusion’ species or subspecies; and there is therefore doubt as to the identification of the bird concerned’. Neither 2002 nor 2003 annual reviews of CBC notes contain both sight records mentioned above (Siriwardana, U., 2003 & Warakagoda, D., 2004)


Kotagama, S., Ratnavira, G. 2010. An illustrated Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka. Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, Colombo.
Siriwardana, U., 2003. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2002. Loris, 23(3&4), 36-39.
Warakagoda, D., 2004. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2003 Loris, 23(5&6), 36-41

*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. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

බෙරු දියනිල්ල[Beru-diyanilla]/Peruvian primerose-willow(Ludwigia peruviana)

Native plant of tropical and sub-tropical America. Introduced and naturalized in wet places such as stream banks, flood plains, disturbed places, etc. from 150 to about 1500 m elevations. Very common.

Friday, May 15, 2015

බෝඹු/වල්-බෝඹු [Wal-Bombu/Bombu] (Symplocos cochinchinensis)

An indigenous shrub or small tree occurs in the wet zone from sea level to about 2100 m a.s.l., often in secondary vegetation. Also in rain forest understorey. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Common Lascar (Pantoporia hordonia sinuata)

Locally common butterfly flies in wet and intermediate zone from lowlands to about 1400 m elevations. It has a slow flight which somewhat resemble to the flight of a dragonfly which too has similar colors (i.e. Variegated Flutterer). Larva feeds on leaves of Acacia caesia(හිඟුරු-වැල්and Acacia pennata (ගොඩ හිඟුරු)*. As per Ormiston^ it is especially common in May and June.

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.
Ormiston  W. (1924) The Butterflies of Ceylon, H.W.Cave & Co., Colombo 1924, AES Reprint New Delhi, 2003

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Four leaf devil pepper (Rauvolfia tetraphylla)

Native shrub of tropical America. Introduced and cultivated for medicinal use. Escaped and also naturalized in shaded places in the low country. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Black-headed Cuckooshrike/කලු-හිස් කොවුල්සැරටිත්තා/කලු-හිසැති කොවුල් ඇස්පටියා[Kalu-his Kowulsaratiththa/Kalu-Hisathi Kowul Aspatiya](Coracina melanoptera sykesi)

An uncommon breeding resident inhabiting open forests and scrub lands with scattered trees from lowlands to mid hills. It lives usually as solitary birds or as pairs though sometime encounters as small flocks. It feeds on caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers. etc. actively searching trees in the canopy. The breeding season lasts from March to May The nest is a small shallow saucer  composed of rootlets, leaf midribs etc. plastered with cobwebs and placed on a fork of a tree, where it lays 2 eggs. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Creeping daisy(Sphagneticola trilobata[Wedelia trilobata])

An introduced procumbent herb native to northern part of South America and the West indies. Naturalized and now a very common weed growing in dense mats along roadsides and waste lands from sea level to about 1500 m elevations. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Erect spiderling (Boerhavia erecta)

An indigenous ascending or decumbent herb common along roadsides and open sandy places, often near coast.

Friday, May 8, 2015

හිරිගඩු පඳුරු මැඩියා[Hirigadu paduru madiya]/Hollow-snouted Shrub Frog (Pseudophilautus cavirostris)

An endemic shrub frog occurs in the south western wet zone including Knuckles range from 30 to 1000 m elevations. It inhabits closed canopy rain forests and occasionally in some anthropogenic habitats. Found on moss-covered rocks, tree trunks and branches as well as inside crevices close to streams.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Nodeweed (Synedrella nodiflora)

Native herb of West Indies. Introduced and now a common weed along roadsides, waste places and cultivated grounds. Flowering from August to May and probably all the year round.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

වෙසක් මල්[Wesak-Mal] (Dendrobium maccarthiae)

Rare endemic epiphyte occurs only in the Rathnapura jungles. Flowering from May to July. Hence the vernacular name Wesak mal (Wesak > Sinhalese name for the month of May and mal > flowers)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya patenas)

An uncommon butterfly occurs all over the island. But abundant in moderate elevations from 2000 to 4000 ft. It inhabits open areas such as grasslands, pathways, etc. In such habitats it can be encountered usually on the ground resting with wings open. When alarm it flies fast for a short distant to settle again. Larva feeds on leaves of Justicia procumbens, Lindernia pusilla and Centranthera indica(දුටු සතුටු)*

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.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sunday, May 3, 2015

කූඩලු මල්[Kudalu Mal](Impatiens flaccida)

An indigenous herb common in moist shaded places, often along pathways, river banks etc. in secondary or degraded forests, villages and cultivated lands from lowlands to about 1000 m a.s.l. Usually growing in large colonies.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Chestnut-shouldered Petronia (Annotated checklist of vagrant Sparrows (Family: Passeridae) 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 Passeridae (Sparrows & allies) in Sri Lanka.

Chestnut-shouldered Petronia[Yellow-throated Sparrow] (Petronia xanthocollis xanthocollis)
Legge procured two specimens from a considerable flock in company with a number of Weaver birds, on some openly-wooded grass-land near the sea, close to Madampe while on a trip to Chilaw in October 1876. It is the only record hitherto of this species in Sri Lanka (Legge 1880: 783).

Legge V., 1880. A History of the birds of Ceylon  1983 second edition.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Copper leaf/Jacob's coat (Acalypha wilkesiana)

Common shrub cultivated in gardens. Native to the Fiji and nearby islands in the South Pacific.