Wednesday, October 28, 2009

‘Revised Avifaunal List of Sri Lanka’

Download pdf version of the “Revised avifaunal List of Sri Lanka” by C.D. Kaluthota and Prof. S.W. Kotagama at the web site of the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka.

Last taxonomic list of birds was published in 2006 as a part of National effort to document the fauna of Sri Lanka. However, due to recent advancement in researches in the region, taxonomy of birds undergone several changes.

Since, FOGSL now adopts the standards devised by BirdLife international on the avian taxonomy, it was necessary to revise the Avifaunal list. “Revised Avifaunal List of Sri Lanka” discusses the taxonomic changes in family level as well as species level, those relevant to Sri Lanka. It also provides complete list of birds recorded from Sri Lanka including new additions in recent years.


Friday, October 23, 2009

14th P. B. Karunaratna Memorial Exhibition on Bird Conservation

The exhibition will be held from 28th October to 01st November at the Department of Zoology (Faculty of Science), University of Colombo, Colombo 03. It will be open to public from 9.00am to 6.30pm.

Themes for this year’s exhibition are:
· Why Birds
· Endemic Birds of Sri Lanka
· Threatened Birds of Sri Lanka
· bird Adaptations
· Birding Sites of Sri Lanka
· Birding in Bird Hides
· Biodiversity & Conservation
· Sinharaja World Heritage Site
· Eco Tourism

All are Welcome to this Knowledge Festival

Friday, October 16, 2009

‘Sri Lanka Birds’ in the month of September 2009

Sri Lanka Birds’, Sri Lankan section of the global effort of bird conservation named ‘Worldbirds’ completed another fruitful month by the end of September 2009. Summary results of the analysis for September are given in this report. This analysis is based on the data downloaded on 14th October 2009.

New members -14
Total members -361
FOGSL warmly welcomes new members to the ‘Sri Lanka Birds’ community.

Total Number of Observations -1557
Number of Species -198
Number of Endemic Species -21
Number of Proposed endemic Species - 7
Number of migrant species -32
Sand Martins and Great knots observed at Bundala National Park and Bar-tailed Godwits observed at Yala National Park are noteworthy records entered during the month.

Nesting records
Number of observations -4
Number of species - 3
Black-hooded Oriole, Red-vented Bulbul and Black Eagle were the species observed with nesting activities.

Mostly recorded species (No: of observations)
Red-vented Bulbul (55)
Yellow-billed Babbler (51)
White-throated Kingfisher (51)
Common Myna (50)
House Crow (38)

Top five users (No: of observations)
Newton Jayawardane (428)
Kasun Dayananda (372)
Nadika Hapuarachchi (303)
Chinthaka Kaluthota (149)
Amila Sumanapala (92)

A total of 42 locations were visited during September by ‘Sri Lanka Birds’ members. Highest number of observations was made at Ragama (360) as in many previous months. Many new locations were added to the system with interesting visits during the month.

Current statistics describing the number of field visits, number of observations and bird species, as well as the number of users registered in the system, are displayed on the login page of ‘Sri Lanka Birds’.

FOGSL highly appreciates the contributions of members towards conservation of birds through this initiative.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Long feared extinct, rare crow rediscovered in Indonesia

Known to science only by two specimens described in 1900, a critically endangered crow has re-emerged on a remote, mountainous Indonesian island.

The Banggai Crow (Corvus unicolor) was thought to be extinct until Indonesian biologists finally secured two new specimens on Peleng Island in 2007.

An ornithologist who specializes on the birds of southern Asia, Pamela Rasmussen studied the two century-old specimens known as Corvus unicolor in New York's American Museum of Natural History. She compared them to the new crow specimens in Indonesia's national museum, to lay to rest speculation that they were merely a subspecies of a different crow.

The rediscovery was spearheaded by professor Mochamad Indrawan of the University of Indonesia, chairperson of the Indonesian Ornithologists' Union, who conducted ecological field studies. He was assisted by collaborator Yunus Masala and by the Celebes Bird Club, members of which secured the new specimens that are now catalogued at the Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense in Java.

A photo of the Banggai Crow debuts this week in volume 14 of the influential Handbook of the Birds of the World. In the meantime, Rasmussen, Indrawan and colleagues have submitted the detailed paper confirming the species' rediscovery for publication.

Read the story here
Photo by Philippe Verbelen (extracted from

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bird conservationist Dr. Nigel Collar nominated for the 2010 Indianapolis Prize

BirdLife’s Dr Nigel Collar has been nominated to receive the Indianapolis Prize - the world’s leading award for animal conservation. “I’m honoured to be listed alongside some of the world’s greatest conservationists”, said Dr Collar.

Dr Collar is one of 29 world renowned animal conservationists vying for the prize, and has been nominated for his three decades of groundbreaking fieldwork and research on the world’s birds.

Nigel has served BirdLife as Director of Science and Director of Development, and since 2001 has worked as Leventis Fellow in Conservation Biology.

In addition to receiving the largest individual monetary award for animal conservation in the world of $100,000, the recipient is also awarded the Lilly Medal, an original work of art that signifies the winner’s contributions to conserving some of the world’s most threatened animals.

Read the story here.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sight record of a Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos at Bundala National Park

During a visit to the Bundala Salterns (Bundala National Park), on 29th September 2009, I observed a Pectoral Sandpiper.

There were a limited number of waders in the Bundala Salterns although the water level was low exposing a large area of mud flats. In the early morning of 29th, I decided to visit the Western end of the salterns, where I had seen a few small flocks of waders on the previous day. I observed a few of these flocks which consisted of the familiar species. While scanning with my spotting scope, I saw a larger flock of around 300 birds, at the distant corner of the salt pan. Although it was far away, I walked to the mudflat. The flock consisted of common species such as Curlew Sandpipers, Common Redshanks, Lesser Sandplovers, Kentish Plovers, Little Stints, etc. Three Great Knots which is uncommon in the area were also observed. Hence, I decided to have closer look at the flock.

I could approach to within 20m of the flock without disturbing them. I then saw a bird, which I have never seen before. Its JIZZ suggested that it was a sandpiper. It moved with the Curlew Sandpipers. The bird was slightly smaller than the Curlew Sandpipers and stayed within two feet of the shoreline. During my observations it did not leave the water.

The bill was short and slightly down curved, showing a yellowish base. The upperparts were brownish and the underparts excluding the breast were white. The upperparts and crown appeared streaky with a slightly rufous tinge. The breast was nicely streaked and the streaks stopped abruptly at the lower breast marking a sharp demarcation. Its legs were yellowish green. As the bird was new to me, I referred the field guide by John Harrison, which I had with me. The species closest in appearance of the “new” bird was the ‘Sharp-tailed Sandpiper’. However, the bird lacked the white eye-ring and prominent eye brow that widens behind the eye of the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. The flock was disturbed by a low-flying flock of Spot-billed Pelicans and the wader flock flew away. However, I managed to observe the bird for nearly 30 minutes and sketch it. After I reached our camp site, I referred “Shorebirds: an Identification guide to the birds of the world” by Peter Hayman, John Marchant and Tony Prator. I found that the specimen was undoubtedly a Pectoral Sandpiper. One of the characteristics observed by me viz. “the streaking on the breast is sharply demarcated from the unmarked white belly, with the line of division running across the lower breast” was mentioned in this reference. Hence I identify the bird as a Pectoral Sandpiper in non-breeding plumage.

The Pectoral Sandpiper winters mainly in South America while a small population visits Australia and New Zealand. It breeds in Siberia and North America.

This species was first recorded from Sri Lanka by a group of visiting bird watchers at Weerawila in March 2002. Thereafter, to the best of my knowledge, there were no reports of this species. Hence this is probably the second record of the species from Sri Lanka.

Reported by C.D. Kaluthota