The Central Asian Flyway covers at least 279 migratory water bird populations of 182 species, including 29 globally threatened species and near threatened species that breed, migrate and spend the non-breeding winter period within the region. Species such as the Baer’s Pouchard Critically endangered. Northern Bald Ibis, Whitebellied
Heron, Baer’s Pochard and Endangered. Greater Adjutant and vulnerable – Black-necked Crane, Indian Skimmer, Lesser Adjutant, Masked Finfoot, Socotra Cormorant, Wood Snipe and near threatened. Black-headed Ibis, Lesser Flamingo, Pygmy Cormorant, White-eyed Gull are completely or largely restricted to the Central Asian Flyway range.
There are many strong birding clubs in the word. I have met many birders from Holland and they are directly connected to many bird clubs in the world. If we really target in this field it will not be difficult to achieve the goals by introducing a new concept on bird watching here in Sri Lanka. Though it may be a new concept to Sri Lanka but to the travellers it is not because they have come here many times for this purpose. Cairns Bird watching club – Australia, Panama, Bhutan, Papua new Guinia, Bornio, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Of Spain, Ecuador, Cape May – USA, Peru, India, South Africa, Belgium, Netherlands, UK are some of the counties that has very strong bird watching clubs and they travels right round the world and minimum stay in a country not less than seven days. Some members of Dutch B W C stayed almost close to month in Sri Lanka. The information above proves that Sri Lanka Is A True Birders Paradise.
WHY SRI LANKA IS IMPORTANT ON ASIAN MIGRATORY BIRD FLYWAY
Sri Lanka is the southernmost land mass of the Central Asian Flyway and is the final destination of many migratory birds exiting the eastern and western Indian flyways and the Andamon islands. The Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka has declared four Ramsar sites and declared other Protected Areas in Sri Lanka which are wetlands habitats of migratory water birds. These include: Anawilundawa Sanctuary, Bellanwilla – Attidiya Sanctuary, Bundala National Park, Gal Oya National Park, Giants’ Tank Sanctuary, Kumana National Park, Muthurajawela Sanctuary and Yala National Park.
Bird distribution in Sri Lanka is largely determined by its climatic zones. The dry zone is largest of the three, covering more than half of the area of the island, with a prolonged dry and hot period and only one monsoon (the northeast monsoon from October to January). The wet zone, with two monsoons, is in the southwestern quarter of the island, where the few remaining rain forests are found and humidity is high.
The central hill zone rises to over 2450 m (8-10,000 ft) and has a cool temperate climate. Most of the 26 endemic species are confined to the wet and the hill zones, with only a few extending into the dry zone as well, and below given the list of some of the endemic bird species in Sri Lanka.
- Lanka Spurfowl (Galloperdix bicalcarata)
- Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl (Gallus lafayettii) National bird of Sri Lanka
- Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon (Columba torringtoniae)
- Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot (Loriculus beryllinus)
- Layards Parakeet (Psittacula calthropae)
- Red Faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus)
- Sri Lanka Green Billed Coucal (Centropus chlororhynchos)
- Serendib Scop Owl (Otus thilohoffmanni)
- Chestnut Backed Owlet (Glaucidium castanotum)
- Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis)
- Sri Lanka Yellow Fronted Barbet (Megalaima zeylanica)
- Black – Capped Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus)
- Sri Lanka Spot – Winged Thrush (Zoothera spiloptera)
- Sri Lanka Thrush (Zoothera imbricate)
- Sri Lanka Bush Warbler (Bradypterus palliseri)
- Sri Lanka Dull Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus)
- Brown Capped Barbbler (Pellorneum fuscocapillus)
- Sri Lanka Orange Billed Barbbler (Turdoides rufescens)
- Sri Lanka Scimitar Barbbler (Pomatorhinus melanurus)
- Ashy Headed Laughingthrush (Garrulax cinereifrons)
- Sri Lanka White Eye (Zosterops ceylonensis)
- Sri Lanka Bleu Magpie (Urocissa ornata)
- Sri Lanka White Faced Starling (Sturnornis albofrontatus)
- Sri Lanka Hill Mynah (Gracula ptilogenys)
- Black – Throated Munia (Lonchura malacca)
- Sri Lanka Green Pigeon (Treron pompadora)
- Sri Lanka Woodshrike (Tephrodornis [pondicerianus] affinis)
- Crimson – Backed Goldenback Woodpecker (Chrysocolaptes stricklandi)
The bird watching in Sri Lanka will seduce bird enthusiasts. Kumana, Singharaja, Horton Planes, Udawaththa Keley (Kandy), Bellanwila (heart of the city), Muthrajawela, Minneruya, Kawdulla, Kitulgala, Minipe, Adamspeak, Yala, Udawalawe, Wilpaththu, Kottawa cum Piliyanadala area, Roomassala, Galoya are some of the famous places for Ornithologists to observe and study about the feathered friends. Other than the above mentioned locations generally entire Sri Lanka is a place for bird watching. I have observed many birds (other than the forest birds) from my garden at home (Close to the city) and many local birders also must have experienced the same.
There are key things to know before you step out for bird watching program.
- Bird watching is a group or individual activity.
- Dress in green, khaki or brown so that you can easily hide from their sight.
- Silence is golden and it is very important. A “first timer” in to this activity must clearly keep it in mind. Most of the birders mainly concentrate on the call of the species and the observation is done thereafter. Good Ornithologist always keeps their eyes and ears open to nature. If you disturb him by talking or any other means he may lose the best part of the program. All you can do is to follow him/her and write down notes (if possible do up a small sketch of the specimen) to ask questions at the end of the program to clear your doubts.
- Patience is important
- Wellbeing and comfort of the birds are important and also the anticipation too important.
- Be prepared with relevant information.
- Start early in the morning.
- Make notes and location references if you have a GPS it will be an added help to your program.
- Field Guide is always useful.
- Try to remember the local names too.
Sri Lanka a land like no other is a pearl in the Indian Ocean. Blend of beautiful nature creations like sunny beaches, misty hills, rain forests, valleys etc. It is a Paradise for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts because of the rich bio diversity. This splendid country is famous not only because of the cultural triangle but for wildlife too. It is the duty to protect this golden land from pollution, and to avoid taking any environmentally unhealthy materials when you are taking part in these activities.
**(Certain information regarding recent research on the above been gathered by Wikipedia website and the fundamental information are gathered from the literature of Leggy, Phillips and GM Hendry). Also from bottom of my heart I must very much thank the Top Management Viz Mr. Rahula Dassanaieke (MD) and Mrs. Shyami Dassanaieke (Directress) for the support that they rendered to me to go ahead with this article. No doubt “The Other Corner” is a true birders paradise and 75% of my bird photography is done in the hotel premises.
Source from Future Magazine