THE SERENDIPITY GUIDE TO THE RAINFOREST: BIRDS
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2003). The Serendipity Guide to the Rainforest: Birds. Serendipity. August 2003. Page 8.
A photo essay.
The Birds of the Rainforest
The Lowland Rainforests of Sri Lanka such as Sinharaja are good places to observe a biological phenomenon known as ‘mixed species feeding flocks’. As the name suggests, a number of species, at times more than twenty species, can get together to feed in a large flock. This helps the birds to maximise their feeding success and security. The feeding flocks combs through the rainforest like a giant vacuum cleaner feeding on invertebrates, animals, fruits and other plant maters at varying levels of the forest’s structure.
<Pix of Orange-billed Babbler>
The Orange-billed Babbler (endemic) is the best clue to the presence of a feeding flock. They are a ‘nucleus’ species in a flock and keep up a constant medley of chatters and squeaks which betrays the presence of the flock.
<Pix of Crested Drongo>
The Crested Drongo is another nucleus species which often summons a flock by uttering a ‘flock formation’ call. It utters a series of far carrying belling notes. A courageous bird, it acts a s security guard, often driving away large raptors which are several times its own size.
<Pix of Red-faced Malkoha>
The furtive and usually silent Red-faced Malkoha is a bird of the canopy. As a result of its discrete behaviour and the distractions of noisier birds, it is often overlooked. The male and female have brown and white irides respectively, allowing the two to be told apart.
<Pix of Legge’s Flowerpecker>
The Legge’s Flowerpecker (endemic) at times joins feeding flocks. It may descend very low to feed on the fruits of the small Bowitiya bushes. The male is more brightly coloured than the female.
<Pix of Green-billed Coucal>
The Green-billed Coucal (endemic) is one of the rarest birds in Sri Lanka confined to a few remaining rainforest patches such as Sinharaja, Morapitiya and Bodhinagala. It is best detected by its whoop whoop call which can be heard from deep in the forest.
The Serendipity Guide to the Rainforest is prepared by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne. For information on Educational Rainforest Tours contact Amila Salgado on firstname.lastname@example.org. Images are (c) Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Fuji 100.