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– A compilation by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne. Assisted by Divya Martyn.
[*] The first Dragonfly Tour of Sri Lanka is a success. See Trip Reports.
[*] Dragonflies of Sri Lanka, the first photographic field guide. Books on Elephants, Birds, Butterflies, etc. New issue of Zeylanica. CDs of bird calls. See New Publications.
[*] A new mammal, Sinharaja Shrew, described from Sri Lanka. Mountain Mouse-deer photographed. Blue Whale sightings. See Birding and Wildlife News.
[*] Notes of the Zoologists’ Association of University of Peradeniya (ZAUP)


Mountain Mouse-deer photographed in Horton Plains National Park

One of Sri Lanka’s least known mammals, the mouse-deer found in the highlands of Sri Lanka has been photographed in the wild. This may well be the only occasion in which it has been photographed to a ‘publishable standard’ under truly wild conditions.
For many years it was believed that Sri Lanka had one species of Mouse-deer, which was shared with Southern India. Colin Groves a British Taxonomist in June 2005 published a paper in a special supplement (No 12) of The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology whereby he distinguished three species of Mouse-deer from Sri Lanka and India. The Indian Mouse-deer (Moschiola indica) was split as a new species and is now considered endemic to the Eastern Ghats of India. The mouse-deer found in Sri Lanka was split into two new species. The White-spotted Mouse-deer found (Moshiola meeminna) in the dry zone of Sri Lanka and the Yellow-striped Mouse-deer (Moschiola kathygre) found in the wet zone of Sri Lanka. Both species are endemic to Sri Lanka. Presently this raises the number of endemic mammals found in Sri Lanka to eighteen species.
Colin Groves in his paper on mouse-deer from India and Sri Lanka also stated that ‘a single skull from Sri Lanka’s Hill Zone may prove to represent a fourth species’. The ‘Mountain Mouse-deer’ is evidently a very scarce animal. Many of the field staff of Horton Plains National Park had not seen one although they regularly encounter other nocturnal mammals including leopard.
A Mountain Mouse-deer was seen under quite dramatic circumstances on Monday 25th February 2008 by wildlife populariser Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne and Nadeera Weerasinghe the naturalist of St Andrews Hotel. They had agreed with the park warden Mr Y.G.P. Karunarathne to spend a few hours on an informal training session on butterflies and dragonflies for the staff manning the Pattipola Gate to the Horton Plains National Park. They were engaged in identifying some of the dragonflies at the pond besides the ticket office when an animal came running and jumped into the pond and swam towards them. It was the hardly ever seen Mountain Mouse-deer! It was being pursued by a Brown Mongoose, about a third of its size in height. The mouse-deer swam back to the far shore and faced off with the Mongoose. The Mongoose did not enter the water but at times approached within five to six feet of the mouse-deer which responded by flaring its throat and showing the white on its throat. After fifteen minutes the mongoose seemed to tire of the chase and left. The Mouse-deer left but returned soon with the mongoose in pursuit and once again dived into the pond. Forty five minutes later the duo left and Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne and Nadeera Weerasinghe informed the park warden Mr Y.G.P. Karunarathne. Around 5 pm the mouse-deer was seen again by the park warden and his staff. Later around 6pm it was taken in for safe custody, and offered no resistance. It had a small gash near the ear and was in an exhausted state.
Given the significance of the live specimen, Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne after consultation with the park warden informed several scientists of the mouse-deer being temporarily held captive. On Wednesday 27th February 2008, two scientists traveled up with Nadeera Weerasinghe to take measurements and to take a blood sample for analysis. Dr Tharaka Prasad the Deputy Director (Veterinary) of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando who has worked on conservation genetics of elephants and other mammals (, examined the mouse-deer which was released back into the wild later that day. The mouse-deer was found to be a pregnant female and measured 56 cm in length. This places it at the upper end of all specimens of mouse-deer which have been measured.
The newly split wet zone species is bigger than the species in the dry zone. It is too early to establish whether the Mountain Mouse-deer is a separate species or a sub-species of the wet zone Yellow-striped Mouse-deer. It may even transpire that it has no distinct differences from the form found in the wet lowlands. More work may need to be done to resolve the taxonomic questions by examining DNA from other specimens from the wet and dry zones. Ideally more measurements should also be taken in the field through a small mammal trapping survey in the field. A series of images of the Mountain Mouse-deer are on
Free downloads are also available on this website of publications on dragonflies and butterflies.
The total number of mammals endemic to Sri Lanka now stands at eighteen species. In December 2007, a new, endemic species of shrew Crocidura hikmiya, was described by a group of researchers from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka Wildlife Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka and Boston University, USA. The new shrew is presently only known from mid montane and lowland rainforests of Sinharaja. This shrew had previously been identified as Ceylon Long-tailed Shrew (Crocidura miya). The researchers Suyama Meegaskumbura, Madhava Meegaskumbura, Rohan Pethiyagoda, Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi and Christopher J. Schneider published their findings in Zootaxa on 19th December 2007. The paper was titled ‘Crocidura hikmiya, a new shrew (Mammalia: Soricomorpha: Soricidae) from Sri Lanka.

It is likely that as more time is spent on bio-diversity exploration and sophisticated techniques are employed more cryptic species of mammals may be discovered. Local researchers and wildlife enthusiasts are also benefiting from further insights into species which are familiar but about whom little have been published. A case in point are Sri Lankan primates about whose ecology more awareness has been raised thanks to the interest of overseas nationals. Observational studies, even if conducted on public land by visitors, can lead to many insights. It can also stimulate local researchers into undertaking and publishing their own studies. It also opens possibilities for collaboration so that know how and funds can be shared for studies on mammals. Especially with taxonomic work, collaboration with foreign researchers plays an important part in meeting the requirement to examine type specimens lodged in overseas collections.
A New Species of Shrew
A new, endemic species of shrew Crocidura hikmiya, has been described from Sri Lanka by a group of researchers from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, Wildlife Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka and Boston University, USA. The new shrew is presently only known from mid montane and lowland rainforests of Sinharaja. This shrew had previously been identified as Ceylon Long-tailed Shrew (Crocidura miya). The latter species is now believed to be confined to the montane forests of the central hills. The researchers believe that the most frequently encountered shrew in Sinharaja is the new species. The researchers Suyama Meegaskumbura, Madhava Meegaskumbura, Rohan Pethiyagoda, Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi and Christopher J. Schneider published their findings in Zootaxa on 19th December 2007. The paper was titled ‘Crocidura hikmiya, a new shrew (Mammalia: Soricomorpha: Soricidae) from Sri Lanka.

This raises the number of shrews in Sri Lanka to ten of which six are endemic to the island.

Meegaskumbura, S., Meegaskumbura, M., Pethiyagoda, M., Manamendra-Arachchi, K. & Schneider, C. J. (2007). Crocidura hikmiya, a new shrew (Mammalia: Soricomorpha: Soricidae) from Sri Lanka. Zootaxa 1665: 19-30 (2007). ISSN 1175-5326 (print edition). ISSN 1175 5334 (online edition).

On 28th February 2008 Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne and Nadera Weerasinghe looked for dragonflies at the pond near the Pattipola Gate with K.G.P Ranjith Dharmaratne, W.A Nipuna Prabath and Chaminda Prasad. Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombeii), Mountain Reedling (Indolestes gracilis), Wandering Wisp (Agriocnemis pygmea), Sociable Glider (Tramea limbata), Triangle Skimmer (Orthetrum triangulare), Purple Skimmer (Orthetrum pruinosum) were among the species present.
Chandima Jayaweera leading a tour for Janet Austin starting 19th Feb for twenty days has the following highlights to report. Janet and Jaya saw a Spot-bellied Eagle-owl near Sigiriya Rock on 23rd Feb, around 9.30 a. m. They saw a Barking Deer near Hunas Falls Hotel On 26th February. Birding highlights also include Arrenga near Arrenga pool at Horton Plains on 29th Feb around 7.30 a.m and on the same day Kashmir Flycatcher, Indian Blue Robin & Pied Thrush seen at Victoria Park. Janet was also lucky with two leopard sightings at Yala NP on 3rd March at 3.55 p.m. in Butthuwa Junction and another sighting later in the evening at Rakinawala. Jaya also reports sightings of a Watercock at Bundala National Park on 04th March 2008.

Upali Nissanka leading a tour for Joan & Ken Franckom reports the following. Leopard at Yala on 21st Feb (15.00hrs), 100m away from the entrance. They also saw tuskers at Yala NP. Birding highlights include Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher at Sisira’s Lodge, Kithulgala on 28th Feb. Joan and Ken stayed at Teak Forest and they saw Brown Fish-owl (male & female) On 29th Feb & 1st March near the Audangawa Tank. They also saw an Orange-headed Thrush when they were birding near Sigiriya Rock.
Supurna Hettiarachchi on tour with Chris Wyeth & Kathrine on 17th Feb 2008 observed two mixed species bird flocks present together near Maguruwala, Sinharaja which had fifteen Red Faced Malkohas.
Brad Woan and Ruth on a birding tour with Jayaweera were pleased to make a clean sweep of the thirty-three endemics during their stay in Sri Lanka. Brad, had a trip list of 235 which includes Serendib Scops-owl at Morapitiya on 04th Feb. Brad and Ruth also had two leopard sightings (Male and female) at Madapara, Yala on 7th Feb.
Chandima Jayaweera on tour with Brad and Ruth Woan on 8th Feb 2008 reports sighting of a White-browed Wagtail (highly scarce migrant) on the main road at Bundala National Park, around 7.15 a.m.
Linda Bryant enjoyed the thrill of a Spot-bellied Forest Eagle Owl staring straight at them when they were at Kelani Valley Forest Reserve, Kithulgala with Sam Casser. They were also rushing in a jeep to stand just feet away from a Frogmouth at Sinharaja on 6th Feb 2008.
Ceylon Bird Club Birding News (26 January 2008) carried the following reports.
– An Osprey at Navadankulam on 30 December, reported by Namal Kamalgoda.
– A Black-capped Kingfisher at Waikkal, c. 25 metres away from the ferry
landing point at Ranweli Holiday Village, reported by Srinath Seneviratna and
Palitha Antony, 24 December to 19 January.

Supurna Hettiarachchi on tour with Rachel, Schumi and a group of birders, saw a leopard killing a mouse-deer at Rukvila junction on the main road at Yala on 23rd Jan 2008, around 11.00 am.
Upali Nissanka leading a tour for Wildlife Photographer Bob Guest reports two leopard sightings at Yala on 16th Jan at 9.00 a.m near Sajith tree and the other near Patanangala around 2.00 p.m.
Chandima Jayaweera was on tour with David Hosking and Martin Withers and sends in the following reports. ‘Three Spurfowl sightings at Sinharaja rainforest on 11th January. Two leopard sightings in Yala on 15th and 16th January on the Main Road. At Horton Plains on 19th Jan a Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush and Otter seen near Arrenga pool’.
Ceylon Bay Owl seen again at Sinharaja)
On 12th January 2008, H. Ranjaka, one of the volunteer guides in Sinharaja drew the attention of Hetti (Supurna Hettiarachchi) to a roosting owl. Hetti immediately went looking for it with Mark Bibby and was delighted to find a Ceylon Bay Owl. Prasanjit Caldera with his clients was also able to observe the Ceylon Bay Owl. Other birders including Wicky who were on tour also came looking for the Ceylon Bay Owl the next day but could not locate it.
Curiously Hetti, Wicky and Prasanjit are also connected with the famous Ceylon Bay sighting of January to March 2007. The story began when on 29th November 2006 Hetti and David Shackleford were in Sinharaja leading the Rockjumper ornithological tour. They decided to investigate reports of a large owl which was roosting near a bathing spot on the road leading to the Blue Magpie Lodge from Kudawa. This information was conveyed to them by K.D. Warnarathne, the brother of the well known guide Thandula Jayarathna. They located the owl and David identified it as a Ceylon Bay Owl. They also took a few images albeit of modest quality. Whilst they were watching the Bay Owl a Green-billed Coucal came up from below the owl and made a grab. The coucal was probably mobbing the owl as a potential predator. Both birds flew away. They informed others of the Ceylon Bay Owl sighting and a few birders looked for it over the next few days without success.
On 17 January 2007, over a month and a half later, Ranjit Premasiri observed a roosting owl and showed it to Prasnajit Caldera and his clients. At Prasanjit’s request, Ranjith and Thilakasiri Ellawala entered the ticketed area of the reserve and informed Wicky of the roosting owl. Wicky was in Sinharaja on tour with Grahame and Helen Cadogan.
Wicky in turn also informed Lester Perera who was with Vajira Wijewardene, a photographer. They went down to the ‘Govi Sevana’ site to observe the owl. The owl had been new to most of the observers so far. Lester Perera had immediately identified it with certainty as a Ceylon Bay Owl. Over the next two months, until the first week of March 2007, number of local and foreign birdwatchers had the opportunity to see the Ceylon Bay Owl. The Govi Sevana sighting turned out to be not one, but a pair of Ceylon Bay Owls which were nesting. It is matter of speculation as to whether one of the pair was the same as the bird seen earlier by David and Hetti. It is possible as the distance was within a kilometer or so.
The Ceylon Bay Owl is a potential split, but more work especially on vocalizations will need to be done to resolve the taxonomy. Two excellent papers on the Ceylon Bay Owl have been published by Uditha Hettige (Ceylon Bird Club Notes July 2007) and Deepal Warakagoda and Uditha Hettige (Birding Asia Number 8 December 2007).
Chandima Jayaweera on tour with David and Judith Wilkinson reported a Malayan Night Heron at Wasgomuwa National park on 31st December 2007. An Otter at Arrenga pool in Horton Plains on 03rd January 2008.

Wicky Wickramasekara on tour with Li Quan & William Stuarf Bray from 30th Dec – 9th Jan 2008 reports the following. “Two leopard sightings at Yala. On 6th Jan at 10.40 a.m one leopard sighting near Uraniya Wewa. On 7th Jan in the evening around 4.00 p.m one leopard on top of Buttuwa Rock. They had a good run of the mammals at Yala National Park which included three sighting of Golden Jackals, a tusker and sambar”.
Hetti on a birding tour with Markku Tunturi from 18th Dec to 1st Jan 2008, reports the following. “On 23rd Dec at 6.30 a.m -7.30 a.m one Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher and Chestnut-backed Owlet and at 4.00 p.m one Green-billed Coucal seen at Sisira’s River Lounge, Kithulgala. On 24th Dec at 5.30 p.m one Doller bird seen at Kelani Valley Forest Reserve. Birding highlights include four Sri Lanka Bush-warbler at Horton Plains at 6.30 a.m and two Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon seen at Hakkgala Road on 27th Dec at 4.45 p.m. On 29th Dec at 7.00 a.m four Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, two Large Cuckoo Shrike and at 6.00 p.m Jungle Owlet and they heard the Oriental Scops Owl at 8.00 p.m near the Tree Tops Jungle Lodge. On 1st Jan, twenty five Oriental Pratincole and forty Small Pratincole seen at Kirinda – Bundala Road”.

Wicky Wickramasekara on a group tour with James, Rob & John from 6th Dec – 20th Dec 2007 report that they managed to see all 33 endemics birds and photographed Serendibs Scops owl, Ceylon Whistling-thrush and the endemic Red Slender Loris.

Hetti on a birding tour with Alan & Jill Parker from 5th Dec to 17th Dec 2007 reports the following. “On 7th Dec 2007 at 5.00p.m a Ruddy – breasted Crake seen at Vil Uyana Hotel, Sigiriya. On 8th Dec 80 Elephants and one Lesser Adjutant at Kaudulla National Park. Birding highlights include one male Kashmir Flycatcher seen at Hunas Falls Hotel at 8.00 a.m on 11th Dec. On 12th Dec at 4.00 p.m a Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher and on 13th Dec at 7.30 a.m one Green-billed Coucal and one Chestnut-backed Owlet were seen in Sisira’s River Lounge, Kithulgala. On 14th Dec at 7.00 a.m a Bush Warbler and Otter seen at Horton Plains and at 4.30 p.m two Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush (male & female) and ten Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon seen on the Hakgala Road. One Scaly Thrush and one Pied Thrush at Victoria Garden on 15th Dec at 7.30 a.m – 8.30 a.m. Birding highlights at Bundala National Park on 16th Dec at 8.00 a.m were two Small Pratincole, one Oriental Skylark, one Great Knot, one Broad-billed Sandpiper and one Lesser Noddy”.
Thilanka Ranathunga, Palinda Ranasinhe, Gihan Perera and Lahiru Sameera visited Kithulgala forest on 3rd December 2007 from 6.30 a.m to 4.00 p.m. Observed more than 40 species of birds, including endemic Junglefowl, Green-billed coucal, Red-faced Malkohas, Grey Hornbill, Spot-winged Thrush, Brown-capped Babbler, Scimitar-babbler, Orange-billed Babbler and Blue Magpies. Among the butterflies sighted were some rare species such as Blue Oakleaf, two females and a male. A rare sighting of the critically endangered, endemic Ceylon Rose, laying eggs in a shrub, which was later identified as Thapasa Bulath (Thottea siliquosa) which belongs to the family Aristolochiaceae. The rare Blossom Krait (Balanophis ceylonesis) and Endemic Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus trigonocephalus) were some of the important sighting of Reptiles.

Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne reports from his garden in Colombo on Saturday 1st December 2007. “Kept hearing a sharp, short whistled whiszk call being uttered by Palm Squirrels. This is very similar to the call heard frequently in the rainforests from Dusky Squirrels and Layard’s Squirrels. I do not recollect having heard this from Palm Squirrels before. I saw 4 Palm Squirrels and I suspected this was being uttered in stress perhaps because there was an attempt by a rival pair to take over territory. This whistled calls continued on and off for at least an hour or more during the morning. I heard the agitation of Yellow-billed Babblers later and I found four of them mobbing a Rat Snake which had taken refuge under a bush. One pecked at the body of the snake. They did a lot of wing stretching displays as well. They were fearless and at least two of them hopped under the bush. The Palm Squirrels were nearby and were engaged in exaggerated fanning of their tails. The snake retreated and I stopped hearing the sharp whiszk whistles. I wonder whether this call is reserved as an alarm call for snakes as I have not heard this before from Palm Squirrels”.
The following bird species’ were observed by Nadeera Weerasinghe at Kaludiyapokuna on 12th November 2007. “Whistling Teal, Stork-billed Kingfisher, White-breasted Kingfisher, Pheasant Tailed Jacana, Cattle Egret, Small Egret, Little Cormorant, Greater Coucal, Scaly-breasted Munia, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Red Wattle Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, Pond Heron, Grey-breasted Prinia, White-breasted Waterhen, Common Kingfisher.

Nadeera Werasinghe observed the following in a Nature walk around the Sigiriya Moat on the 24th of November 2007 at around 07.30 am. “Observed a troop of Toque Monkeys leaping up in the air to catch termites which were taking wing. At the same time they were catching termites I observed Grey Hornbill, Oriental White-eye, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Large-billed Crow, White-bellied Drongo and Indian Robin also catching and feeding on Termites. Juvenile Grey-headed Fish-eagle arrived and perched in Vil Uyana wetland”.
Blue-eared Kingfisher sighted at Palutawa Lake on 10th December, 07.00 am, by Nadeera Weerasinghe. Also recorded a pair of Fish Owl, Grey-headed Fish Eagle and White-bellied Fish-eagle.

Notes of the Zoologists’ Association of University of Peradeniya (ZAUP)
– from Sep. 2007 – Feb. 2008
(Observations/ records by Ruchira Somaweera, Nayana Wijetilake, Nilusha Somaweera & Nuwan Bandara, unless otherwise stated).
Birds- A Himalayan Buzzard and several Black-winged Kites at Horton Plains NP on 22 January 2008. The Buzzard was walking on grassland and trying catching a Black-cheeked lizard (Calotes nigrilabris). Flock feeding was commonly observed and the species commonly associated with most flocks were Flame minivets, Yellow-eared bulbuls, Dark-fronted babblers, Scimitar babblers, Grey-headed canary flycatchers (most common), Velvet-fronted Nuthatchs, Sri Lanka white-eyes and Dusky-striped jungle squirrels (Funambulus sublineatus). A Reef heron in the dark morph was observed near the TCP mangrove regeneration plot at Kalpitiya on 02nd September 2007. A very successful trip to Wasgomuwa NP in November 2007 recorded six Lesser Adjutant as a group (wonder whether this behavior is common?), an oriental darter, a magnificent flock of 13 Malabar Pied Hornbills, a Sirkeer Malkoha, an Eurasian Hoopoe and several species of Pigeons. It seems that tanks in and near Wasgomuwa NP are good places to observe the largest swimming bird (Spot-billed Pelican) and the smallest swimming bird (Little grebe) in the island at a single location. Three Hawk Cuckoo juveniles were observed at different locations, all within the University of Peradeniya premises and Yellow-billed Babblers were observed to feed them. A nice picture of a babbler feeding a hawk cuckoo almost twice its size is in the website (mentioned above). Additional records from University premises include, Indian blue robin, Black eagle, Collard scops owl, Brown wood owl, Brown Hawk owl, Lesser yellow-naped woodpecker and Brown-capped woodpeckers. Hemendra Priyanga observed six Eurasian blackbirds near Idikatupahana at Peak wilderness on 15th January at about 7.30am in the morning. Other interesting records include a Rufous woodpecker nesting in an old ant nest in an ‘Iththa’ tree near Kaluganga at Pallegama; a pair of Racket-tailed drongos also at Pallegama; White-throated flowerpecker at Doluwa in Peradeniya; Grey-headed fish eagle at Udawattakele and a Wood pigeon in Lower Hantana. Injured specimens received at the department during the last two months include three Emerald doves, a hawk cuckoo, a brown hawk owl, an Asian koel and an Oriental scops owl.

Reptiles – Two specimens of the Beddome’s Cat Snake (Boiga beddomei) were recorded from Rattota in Matale and Katugasthota in Kandy. Though considered as the rarest cat snake in Sri Lanka, recent records prove that it’s much widespread than previously thought. A considerable number of land monitors (Varanus bengalensis) are now present in and around Kandy. The species was not common in wet hills till recently. Whether the shifting of the distribution range is related to climatic change is an interesting topic to study. Similar range shifts have been observed in few other herps too. ZAUP members observed a Forsten’s Cat Snake (Boiga forsteni) swallowing a strange-looking Calotes lizard near the office at Kanneliya forest reserve. They suspect it to be De Silva’s Lizard (Calotes desilvai), an endemic lizard hitherto only known from Eastern Sinharaja. A Hump-nosed Lizard (Lyriocephalus scutatus) we observed last September at Kanneliya, was infected (possibly) with Ulcerative Stomatitis (“Mouth rot”). This is the first time we observed the condition in a wild lizard, which is otherwise found mostly in captive snakes. A ‘fine’ specimen of the endemic and rare Pygmy lizard (Cophotis ceylanica) was observed in a flower garden in the Nuwara Eliya town. A “wild” Four-claw Gecko (Gehyra mutilata) population was observed in a cave at lower Hantana. The morphometrics of these geckos (with relation to their ecology) are being compared with those found in anthropogenic habitats (as this species is “almost” confined to human habitats). The endemic Sri Lankan Flying Snake (Chrysopelea taprobanica) was observed to be common in the Pallegama area, but unfortunately they are largely killed as these snakes commonly climb onto roofs of houses searching for geckos. Egg laying of several species of geckos, including the Slender Gecko (Hemiphyllodactylus typus), was observed within University premises during the past few months.
Mammals – Among interesting records within the last couple of months were a Jungle cat at Wasgomuwa; all four species of mongoose and all three species of civet cats including a road-killed Golden Palm Civet (now deposited at the Zoology dept. museum); a Large flying squirrel and a Dusky-striped jungle squirrel at the Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya and a pack of six Jackals at Pitawalapathana at Knuckles.
Conservation – A total of 73 Blotched-filamented barbs (Puntius srilankensis) bred under captivity at the department were released to several localities of Kaluganga at Pallegama in November 2007. Almost 150 captive bred Blackspot barbs (Puntius singhala) were released to Sarasawioya & Mahaweli river at Peradeniya in December. Both these species are Sri Lankan endemics. A 15-foot Indian Python laid 27 eggs within the premises of a University farm at Udaperdeniya, but unfortunately most eggs were damaged due to a fungal infection. Six hatchings were surgically removed from the eggs (before they also got infected) and three each were released to Sinharaja and Upper Hantana. The ZAUP continues to provide the ‘snake information service’, and if you encounter any snake at your home you could contact us to get help in identifying the snake and for instructions in safely removing the snake from the apartment. Call Dept. of Zoology at UOP on 0812 394471 for assistance. This service aims in both protecting the snakes and people.
Websites – On 26th February 2008, Nayana launched ( ), a site with pictures and brief accounts of almost 80 species of Sri Lankan butterflies. ( was updated with the latest checklist of the Sri Lankan reptiles.

Further Blue Whale sightings – Mirissa, Southern Sri Lanka
Sue Evans
It appears that our whale ‘visitation’ off the south coast near Mirissa is a regular event. Most recently we’ve had consistent sightings of blue whales about 6-8 Nautical Miles off-shore over the last two months since early December 2007. Peak sightings were over the Christmas/New Year period; from 25th Dec through to 6th Jan, pods of between 3-7 whales were spotted every day when the weather was dry and calm, generally on exactly the same latitude. These whales, which Anouk Ilangakoon has identified from our photos as the Blue Whale, appeared to be travelling slowly in a westerly direction. However since then smaller pods have been regularly spotted during January with the last sightings of 2 whales on February 4th.
This is exciting news for whale lovers in Sri Lanka. Since our first confirmed sight of the Blue Whales off Dondra Head in April 2006, the Mirissa Water Sports team have been keeping a detailed log of all the sightings of both whales & dolphins so that we can begin to understand their behaviour patterns. Although it is a not scientific record, we are hopeful that this information will be of some help to cetacean experts in future studies.
Last year both blue & sperm whale were again regularly spotted between mid April to 9th May 2007 (pre-monsoon). Lets hope they come inshore again for Sinhala New Year 2008!!
For photos and more information on whale watching trips visit our website:

Nuwara Eliya Nature Observations in February 2008
Nadeera Weerasinghe, Naturalist, St Andrews Hotel

08th February 2008;
Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri), Ceylon Whistling-thrush (Myophonus blighi), observed in the St. Andrew’s Cloud Forest Trail. Also were able to see some other common montane birds with Ceylon White-eye (Zosterops ceylonensis), Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus).
12th February 2008;
Around 0130 hrs during my Adams Peak climb near the ‘Gangula-tenna’, I heard a call of Montane Slender Loris.
23rd February 2008;
Ceylon Woodpigeon (Columba torringtonii), Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri), Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus orientalis), Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus vociferus), Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus), Ceylon Junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii) and endemic butterfly Ceylon Tiger recorded from Horton Plains National Park.
24th February 2008 ;
Black Indian Blackbird (Turdus simillimus kinnisii) seen at Galway Land National park.
25th February 2008
Himalayan Buzzard (Buteo burmanicus), Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus), Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri) recorded from Horton Plains National Park.
About 1 km away from the Ohiya railway station, Gehan de Silva Wijeyerathne, Nadeera Weerasinghe and Chaminda Prasad observed a Chestnut-backed Owlet (Glaucidium castanonotum). Also we heard calls of Ceylon Blue Magpie (Urocissa ornata).
In the same day between 1000 hrs to 1130hrs we recorded six species of dragonflies near the ticketing counter at Pattipola, entrance to Horton Plains National Park.
(Triangle Skimmer, Sociable Glider, Wondering Wisp, Mountain Reedling, Red-veined darter, Pink Skimmer)
*** Brown Mongoose and Mouse-deer also seen in the same location.
Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra), seen at the Kande-ella forest School.
28th February 2008;
Slaty-legged Crake (Rallina eurizonoides amauroptera) seen at the St. Andrew’s Hotel
29th Febryary 2008
Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra) seen at the St. Andrew’s Hotel

Sri Lanka: Dragonflies and other Wildlife
9th – 22nd October 2007
Dave Smallshire
UK participants:
Peter Brown and Lynn Loughlin, Simon and Cathlyn Davidson, Roger Jones and Dave (BDS Leader) and Sue Smallshire.
This British Dragonfly Society trip to Sri Lanka was organised by Quest for Nature ( and Jetwing Eco Holidays ( Using the expertise of Jetwing CEO Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, the administrative skills of Ajanthan Shantiratnam and the specialist skills of local dragonfly expert Karen Conniff, we set out on a trip which would delight us with 65 species of dragonfly, 161 species of birds, including 30 (2 heard only) of the 33 endemics, 56 species of butterfly, 13 species of mammal, 18 species of reptile, plus frogs, millipedes, crabs, snails, spiders, orthopterans, scorpion and …leeches! Our Jetwing Eco Holidays naturalist guide was ‘Wicky’ Wickramasekara who was an expert bird guide, pretty knowledgeable about other wildlife and history, and great fun to be with. Our cheerful Jetwing driver Jude and his assistant made us very comfortable on an air-conditioned coach as we motored through the country’s winding roads and busy streets. We soon learned that it was best to enjoy the surroundings and leave watching the traffic to Jude!

Itinerary and Highlights
Wednesday 10th October
Dave and Sue arrived in Sri Lanka four days early to stay with friends in Kandy, and in Talangama with Karen, before the trip began. Simon and Cathlyn also came a few days early from a trip to Southern India. We met Roger, and Peter and Lynn, our honeymoon couple, at the airport, brought them to the beautiful Villa Talangama for our first night and even managed to see a small Land Monitor and a Spot-billed Pelican on the way. The Villa, which provides exceptional accommodation, overlooks the Talangama Tank and after short introductions and some good Sri Lanka tea we had a gentle stroll. The dragonfly list started immediately, with Wandering Wisp (Agriocnemis pygmaea), Painted Waxtail (Ceriagrion cerinorubellum), Yellow Waxtail (Ceriagrion coromandelianum), Stripe-headed Threadtail (Prodasineura sita), Asian Groundling (Brachythemis contaminata), Pied Parasol (Neurothemis tulia), Variegated Flutterer (Rhyothemis variegata) and the crepuscular Dingy Duskflyer (Zyxomma petiolatum). Chequered Keel-backed Water Snake and a large Rat Snake started our reptile list and as the sun set we watched Black-crowned Night Herons leaving their roost opposite the villa as hundreds of egrets, Open-billed Storks and Black-headed Ibis came in. Several Indian Flying Foxes and other smaller bats passed over as we made our way back. Not a bad start.
Gehan and Ajanthan arrived to welcome each of us with a Jetwing Eco Holidays shoulder bag full of goodies. This included Gehan’s photo booklet Dragonflies of Sri Lanka, a wall chart of the Butterflies of Sri Lanka, various checklists and, of course, the all-essential, must-wear-to-look-cool-in-the-rain-forest, leech socks! Gehan then gave us each a copy of the new Dragonflies of Sri Lanka field guide, ‘hot off the press’. We were delighted. This comprehensive guide was the product of several years of hard work by Karen, Gehan and Slovenian biologist Matja? Bedjani?, and proved invaluable during the trip.
After an excellent meal we even managed to stay awake to start the log!
Thursday 11th October
Some of the group met at 6.30 (that’s dedication for you) for a pre-breakfast walk. It was well worthwhile, with Shikra, Pied and Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pintail Snipe, Long-billed Sunbird, Greater Coucal, Oriental Magpie-robin and Black-rumped Flameback to add to the list.
After breakfast, and the appearance of an Indian Rockdweller (Bradinopyga geminata) beside the Villa’s fishpond, we headed south to Sinharaja, stopping briefly at the local Hokandara ditch. We parked by a well where a surprised lady cheerfully carried on doing her washing as we crowded around to photograph the very attractive Yellow Featherleg (Copera marginipes). Along the ditch, one of Karen’s favourite haunts, we found Adam’s Gem (Libellago adami), Sri Lanka Orange-faced Sprite (Pseudagrion rubriceps ceylonicum), Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina) Asian Pintail (Acisoma panorpoides), Asian Groundling (Brachythemis contaminata), Oriental Scarlet (Crocothemis servilia) and Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens).
We continued on our journey, stopping briefly to stretch our legs at Morapitiya. Amazingly, a quick look along a roadside seepage found us four new species: Dark Glittering Threadtail (Elattoneura centralis), Spine-tufted Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysis), Indigo Dropwing (Trithemis festiva) and Sri Lanka Cascader (Zygonyx iris ceylonicus). We returned happily to the coach to finish our journey to Sinharaja.
The Sinharaja Rainforest is situated in the wet southwest of the island. The 112km2 Man and Biosphere Reserve is managed by the Forest Department and is Sri Lanka’s premier rainforest. Except for a few montane species, almost all the Sri Lankan endemic birds can be seen here, not to mention some nice endemic dragonflies. On arrival we donned our elegant leech socks and climbed into a jeep, which trundled precariously up the steep rocky track and dropped us about a kilometre from Martin’s Simple Lodge. We continued on foot, peering into the ditch at the side of the track. We soon found Shining Gossamerwing (Euphaea splendens) and Blurry Forestdamsel (Platysticta maculata). Our driver pointed out a delicate Green Vine Snake and we also saw a Green Forest Lizard and the bizarre Kangaroo Lizard. As we neared Martin’s we saw our first Brown-breasted Flycatcher, Layard’s Parakeet and Malabar Trogon.
Martin’s Simple Lodge was as its name suggested, but the setting was worth any compromise in the comfort zone. The veranda, where drinks and meals were served, was perched on the steep hillside and the views of the surrounding forest were fantastic. Purple-faced Leaf-monkeys could be heard and seen in the far off trees and many birds were lurking below the dining area. The lights attracted moths and other invertebrates, which horseshoe bats swooped in to take over our heads as we tucked into our evening curry.
Friday October 12th
We woke to the melodious song of the Spot-winged Thrush. Pre-breakfast bird sightings included Orange Minivet, Legge’s Flowerpecker, Golden-fronted Leafbird and Yellow-fronted Barbet. After breakfast we set out for the reserve and were delighted to see the endemic Sri Lanka Blue Magpie just outside Martin’s. This most beautiful of crows is restricted to substantial areas of wet zone forest.
As we entered the reserve we realised that millions of tiny leeches were all reaching out to welcome us. The rains had brought them all out to look for a meal, but our leech socks gave us some comfort, and we soon got used to the idea that leeches were all part of the fun. We saw our first Oriental Green-wing (Neurobasis chinensis), Black-tipped Flashwing (Vestalis apicalis nigrescens) and many Pied Parasols. The highlight was a very accommodating Fruhstorfer’s Junglewatcher (Hylaeothemis fruhstorferi) at its only known location in Sri Lanka, although this may come to be overshadowed by the discovery of three Gems (Libellago sp.) that could not be attributed to any of the four species known in Sri Lanka. Flying in the morning sunshine were some beautiful butterflies including Commander, Blue Mormon, Common Rose, Great Crow, Red Helen, Glassy Tiger and the spectacular Tree Nymph.
As we approached lunchtime the heavens opened, so we made our way back to Martin’s. The weather was to follow this pattern for the next few days, with bright sunny mornings and steamy wet afternoons. After lunch the rain let up enough for us to make our way up to a pond above the lodge. Malabar (Pseudagrion malabaricum) and Blue (P. microcephalum) Sprites, Crimson Dropwing (Trithemis aurora), Common Bluetail (Ischnura senegalensis) and the handsome Rapacious Flangetail (Ictinogomphus rapax) were all new species. As the weather had improved, we entered the reserve again and although we saw no more new dragons, we did hear our first Sri Lanka Junglefowl.
Saturday October 13th
Our Spot-winged Thrush alarm woke us before dawn and a few of us had an early morning sighting of the stunning Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher. After breakfast we walked down to meet the coach. The rare Brink’s Shadowdamsel (Drepanosticata brincki) was found in the ditch and White-faced Starling and Dusky Striped Squirrel were added to the list. Sri Lanka Spurfowl was calling close but not seen.

We headed north to Kitulgala, arriving for a late lunch at the Plantation House, which overlooked the Kelani river. That afternoon we took the local ferry across the river to the Kelani Forest Reserve. Ferry is possibly a little over-stated, as it was a dug-out canoe just wide enough to stand up in, but thankfully supported by a bamboo stabiliser. We saw no new dragonflies, but it was an exciting afternoon’s birding, with Green Imperial Pigeon, Ceylon Grey Hornbill, Hill-myna and Bar-winged Flycatcher as highlights.
Sunday October 14th
We saw Black Eagle and Jerdon’s Leaf-bird around Plantation House before driving a short distance to the Ingoya Estate where rubber and cocoa were growing alongside the tea. We based ourselves at the Royal River Resort for the day. The charming rest-house was built on the side of the Ing Oya river and from here we walked through the plantation to the Ederu Ella waterfall.
En route, in temperatures around 35C, we found Ultima Gem (Libellago finalis), Dark Forestdamsel (Platysticta apicalis), Jungle Threadtail (Elattoneura caesia), Rivulet Tiger (Gomphidia pearsoni) and Pink Skimmer (Othetrum pruinosum neglectum). High over the rapids below the waterfall around 30 Sri Lanka Cascaders were flying together. As we made our way down for lunch we had fantastic views of Chestnut-backed Bee-eater. Cameras clicked excitedly as it flew in and out from its perch. We also saw one of the most spectacular butterflies of the trip, the Tamil Lacewing.
Some of the group took a cool dip in the swimming pool before lunch, whilst the rest of us sat back with a cool drink. After lunch we set out again, but the morning heat had its revenge: heavy rain stopped play and we returned to the Resort for tea and cake. As we looked out on the torrential rain, the intrepid Karen negotiated the rocks to pluck a larva from under the waterfall. We all had a good look at the creature, a Sri Lanka Cascader, and compared it with an exuvia of the same species that Karen had found earlier.
As we drove back to the Plantation House we made a quick stop at Sisira’s River Lounge, which overlooks the Kelani River. Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher is often seen feeding in the wooded gully below the restaurant, though on this occasion we were unlucky. We ordered ‘Wickies’ (the Arrack and ginger beer cocktail favoured by Wicky) all round, which helped to compensate as we took stock of the dragonflies we had seen so far and reviewed their identification features.
Monday October 15th
Having been tipped off that the Dwarf Kingfisher was an early morning visitor to Sisira’s, a few of us rose early and descended on the River Lounge for coffee. We were rewarded with fantastic views of this ‘ooh ah’ bird.
We set out for Nuwara Eliya stopping at various streams on the way. After lunch at the St. Andrew’s Hotel we walked around the town’s Victoria Park. Despite the rain, we found Mountain Reedling (Indolestes gracilis) and Malay Lilysquatter (Paracercion malayanum). Bird highlights included Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Forest Wagtail and Sri Lankan White-eye.
Back at St. Andrews we glimpsed an Ashy Prinia before settling down for the evening. The comfortable colonial hotel provided excellent food and on retiring to bed we found hot water bottles!
Tuesday October 16th
Armed with a packed breakfast, we made an early start for the Horton Plains, the highest plateau on the island, where temperatures sometimes fall below zero at night. The cloud forests here are rich in endemic plants and animals.
We arrived around 8.00am and scanned the ponds by the entrance gate. Mountain Reedlings were emerging and there were several Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) around. On a higher pond we had brief glimpses of our first Hawker of the trip, Fiery Emperor (Anax immaculifrons). A few Sri Lankan Junglefowl fed near the road and Sri Lanka Bush-warbler, Pied Stonechat, Plaintive Cuckoo, Hill Swallow, Zitting Cisticola (Fan-tailed Warbler) and Large-billed Leaf-warbler were seen. As we made our way back down, we stopped to photograph a large Sambar Deer, which put its head into our vehicle to have a closer look at us. There were Purple-faced Leaf-monkeys in the trees. This highland race, also known as Bear Monkey, has a shaggy coat for protection from the cold.
We returned to St. Andrews in heavy rain and discussed options for the afternoon over lunch. Some of the party decided to visit Pedro’s Tea Factory whilst the rest of us braved a stroll in the rain at Bomuru Ella, on the outskirts of the town. As we walked through woodland in the rain (the temperature had fallen below 20C!), we had great views of five Sri Lanka Woodpigeons and found a weird but beautifully marked Rhino-horned Lizard on the path.
Wednesday October 17th
A Brown Shrike sat out on a wire as we left in the morning for a 20-minute journey to the Hakgala Botanical Gardens. Above the gardens is the Hakgala Strict Nature Reserve, a refuge for rare montane plants and animals. The montane race of Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, shy elsewhere, and the Toque Macaque are used to people here and so easily observed. A series of ornamental ponds and streams provided numerous Mountain Reedlings and Red-veined Darters and a very obliging Fiery Emperor. Triangle Skimmer (Orthetrum triangulare) and Sociable Glider (Tramea limbata) were new.
From here we drove via Kandy to the beautiful Hunas Falls Hotel. We planned to stop at Kandy’s Peradeniya Gardens where around twenty thousand of Sri Lanka’s largest Fruit Bat (the Indian Flying-fox) roost. Unfortunately, as we entered the town torrential rain set in and we abandoned this plan. Luckily however, as we left Kandy, we found a small roost by the side of the road.
The Hunas Falls Hotel nestles on the edge of the Knuckles range, north of Kandy. The accommodation was luxurious and the restaurant overlooked an artificial lake and waterfall. We had a brief walk around the ponds in the gardens before Gehan joined us for dinner and the following day.
Thursday October 18th
Brown Mongoose and Toque Macaque were out and about before breakfast but there was no sign of the Otters that apparently frequented the lake. After breakfast we walked up through the tea plantation checking the small streams as we went. The dragonfly highlight was Adam’s Shadowdamsel (Drepanosticta adami), while Danaid Eggfly and Tamil Yeoman topped the butterfly sightings. We had excellent views of Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Black-headed Cuckoo-shrikes, White-browed Fantail and Indian Black Robin, with a few of the party lucky enough to see Lesser Yellownape. One of the most exciting finds of the morning, however, had to be the beautifully-marked Sri Lanka Green Pit Viper that Peter found sunning itself on a small bush just above a waterfall. It seemed unperturbed as we queued up to photograph it. We returned via the lake where Dave spotted the only Yerbury’s Elf (Tetrathemis yerburyi) of the trip.
Later, as we had tea on the balcony, a Brown Fish-owl flew into a tree close by. We quickly got a scope on it and to our delight, as dusk fell, it flew even closer and then dived to catch a fish which it proceeded to eat on a rock on the edge of the lake. Even the hotel staff came to have a look at it!
Friday October 19th
After the previous evening’s excitement, those out bright and early were rewarded by seeing an otter (Lutra lutra), a family of four Brown Mongooses and a troop of Toque Macaques. A pair of Brahminy Kites, sitting in a tree by the lake, swooped down to collect the bread that the hotel staff were feeding to the fish. They gave us a great display of their agility. We visited the herb garden and were persuaded to try the flesh of the cocoa fruit, which was delicious.
We left at around 10.00am for our next destination Dimbula. On the way we stopped at some paddy fields at Sudu Ganga where there were many dragonflies to photograph in the heat of the sun. Paddyfield Parasol (Neurothemis intermedia), Blue Pursuer (Potamarcha congener), Blue Percher (Diplacodes trivialis) and Scalloped Spreadwing (Lestes praemorsus decipiens) were new species for us. We settled in at the Amaya Lake resort where we were accommodated in very comfortable game-lodge style chalets, set in woodland on the edge of a large tank.
After lunch we took a short trip to the nearby Kaludiya Pokuna Tank, where we found the spectacular Elephant Emperor (Anax indicus) and several Foggy-winged Twisters (Tholymis tillarga). Small Minivets flew in and out of a nearby tree. We moved on to the larger Palutawa Wewa Tank where we saw more Elephant Emperors and a Blue-eyed Pondcruiser (Epophthalmia vittata cyanocephala) ovipositing offshore, which Karen identified by its characteristically rapid and erratic flight. Across the Tank, a pair of White-bellied Fish Eagles mated noisily in a tree top and further on a Spectacular Malabar Pied Hornbill flew in close to us.
Saturday October 20th
The grounds around the hotel and small wooded area near the tank proved a good habitat for birds. Ceylon Woodshrike, Brown-capped Babbler, Thick-billed Flowerpecker, White-rumped Shama, Grey Hornbill and Paradise Flycatcher were all new birds for the trip and Wicky heard his first Indian Pitta of the season.
After breakfast we drove north towards Sigiriya, with the sun shining and the temperature heading into the upper 30s C. We stopped at a small tank at Mananata where we spent an exciting couple of hours and recorded 20 dragonfly species. White-tipped Spreadwing (Lestes elatus), Somber Lieutenant (Brachydiplax sobrina), Amber-winged Glider (Hydrobasileus croceus), Spine-legged Redbolt (Rhodothemis rufa), Restless Demon (Indothemis limbata sita) and Burmeister’s Glider (Tramea basilaris burmeisteri) were new and Peter unwittingly photographed Pruinosed Bloodtail (Lathrecista asiatica), which we identified later that day from his photo. Luckily for the rest of us, we had great views of this lovely dragon the following day.
Then on to Sigiriya, one of the most highly rated archaeological sites in Sri Lanka. It is centred around the Sigiriya rock, an inselberg that juts about 200m above the surrounding dry lowlands. In the 5th century AD, King Kasyappa made it the focus of his palace and at the base of the rock are several hundred acres of landscaped gardens surrounded by moats. The moats and surrounding wetlands and tanks were our next stop. The moats provided us with good sightings of Malay Lilysquatter, while Scarlet Basker (Urothemis signata) and Dancing Dropwing (Trithemis pallidinervis) brought our count for the day to a more than satisfactory 33. An Oriental Darter was fishing in the moat and a Cotton Teal flew round and round our heads before landing. Groups of butterflies were taking salts from damp areas of the tracks, including the spectacular Common Jay and Spot Swordtail. Wicky hoped to find Orange-headed Thrush along a shady track through the woodland at dusk: we only heard the thrush, but he did find an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher for some of those who had missed it at Sisira’s. We saw the amazing Black-naped Monarch, Indian Blue Robin came down to drink at a puddle and a white Indian Paradise Flycatcher crossed the path in front of us.
Sunday October 21st
Sadly, we had reached our last full day in Sri Lanka and had to head back to Colombo, via the ancient Arankele Forest Monastery. This fascinating archaeological site has meditating promenades, ponds and winding pathways dating from the 6th – 8th centuries. On one of the formal ponds, probably a former bathing place, we found Light-tipped Demon (Indothemis carnatica), Indian Rockdweller and Elephant Emperor. Amber-winged Gliders were ovipositing in tandem and we found a perched Foggy-winged Twister. Finally, on an adjacent tank we had one of the best photo opportunities of the trip, a perched male Pruinosed Bloodtail (Lathrecista asiatica), bringing our total dragonfly count for the trip to 65.
We arrived back in Colombo at the Blue Ocean Hotel, Negombo, where we said goodbye to Karen and assured her that her first trip as a tour leader had been a great success and much appreciated. We learned that our driver’s assistant Chandana had just become a father and Jude whisked him away to see his new baby. We completed our final log in the bar and promised to share with each other the many thousands of photos we had taken.
Monday October 22nd
After a night of torrential rain and thunder, Dave and Roger did a bit of sea watching before breakfast and saw terns, terns and more terns! Perching themselves and scope on the life-guard’s tower they saw Crested, Lesser-crested, Gull-billed, Whiskered and Common Terns. A most satisfactory finale for them.
At around 10.30am we headed for the airport where we bade our farewells to our fantastic Jetwing Eco Holidays team: Wicky, Jude and Chandana. Our flight with Sri Lankan Airways left at 1.30pm and we arrived in Heathrow around 8.30pm after a comfortable flight with excellent food.

Bedjanic, M., de Silva Wijeyeratne, G., and Conniff, K. (2007). Dragonflies of Sri Lanka. Gehan’s Photo Guide Series. Jetwing Eco Holidays: Colombo. 248 pages (A5). ISBN 978-955-1079-15-4. Rs 1,750.
The first photographic field guide to the dragonflies of Sri Lanka covering 91 of the 118 species found in Sri Lanka. It includes 35 of the 52 endemic species. A landmark publication and the first modern photographic field guide to the Odonata of South Asia. A pdf of the book can be downloaded (free of charge) from
BirdGuides Ltd. (2007). British Birds interactive. DVD-ROM.
£75 for subscribers until 31st December 2007, after which the price will be £99.
A comprehensive resource of 100 years of amazing articles published in British Birds including photographs, illustrations and more than 40,000 pages of text. Users have access to text and image search filters, photographs, illustrations, thousands of articles and can locate articles using species, author, photographer or descriptive terms.
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2007). A Pictorial Guide and Checklist of the Birds of Sri Lanka. Jetwing Eco Holidays: Colombo. 66 pages. A4. Rs 850.
A lavishly produced checklist with photographic plates facing the checklist pages. Photographs of 281 species. The checklists contain a map of key birding sites in Sri Lanka, a booklist, a discussion on the uses of a checklist and the nomenclature, taxonomy and the status of birds as used in the checklist. Twenty one columns of tick boxes.
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2007). Sri Lankan Wildlife. Bradt Travel Guides, UK. 144 pages. 13.5 cm x 21.5 cm. ISBN-10 1 841621 74 9, ISBN-13 978 1 841621 74 6.
An overview of Sri Lanka’s wildlife and wilderness areas, illustrated with over 120 photographs. Probably the best overall introduction to Sri Lankan wildlife. Text and principal photography by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne. GBP 15.99.

de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2006). Butterflies of Sri Lanka and Southern India. Gehan’s Photo Booklet Series. 26 plates (A5). Jetwing Eco Holidays: Colombo. ISBN 955-1079-11-6. Rs 300.
A booklet comprising of 26, A5 sized colour plates with captioned photographs. Covers 96 of Sri Lanka’s 243 described species of butterflies and skippers (Lepidoptera). A pdf of the booklet can be downloaded (free of charge) from
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2006). Birds of Sri Lanka and Southern India. Gehan’s Photo Booklet Series. 42 plates (A5). Jetwing Eco Holidays: Colombo. ISBN 955-1079-10-8. Rs 500.
A booklet comprising of 42, A5 sized colour plates with captioned photographs. Covers 263 of Sri Lanka’s 444 recorded species of resident and migratory birds. Eco Holidays: Colombo. A pdf of the booklet can be downloaded (free of charge) from
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2007). Portrait of Sri Lanka. New Holland Publishers, London. 120 pages. Hard Cover & Dust Jacket. ISBN 1-84537-110-0.
A beautifully designed souvenir guide to Sri Lanka’s people, culture, landscapes and wildlife. A part of New Holland’s Portrait series.
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2007). The Endemic Birds of Sri Lanka. Jetwing Eco Holidays, Colombo. 44 pages. A5. Self cover. ISBN 978-955-1079-13-0. Rs 210.
A photographic guide to the endemic birds of Sri Lanka with descriptions and illustrations of each species.
De Silva, M. & de Silva, P.K. (2007). The Sri Lankan Elephant. Its evolution, ecology & conservation. WHT Publications (Pvt) Ltd. Colombo. 278 pages. ISBN 978-955-9114-39-0. Rs 1,750.
Gamage, R. (2007). An illustrated guide to the butterflies of Sri Lanka. Published by the author. 264 pages. ISBN 978-955-50360-0-9.
Colour illustrations of 244 species of butterflies and skippers. Some of the plates show some of the food plants. A 5 in size. The inclusion of the host plants make it a useful addition to the butterfly watcher’s library. Rs 2,000.

IUCN Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Environmental Resources. (2007). The 2007 Red List of Threatened Fauna and Flora of Sri Lanka. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 148 pages. ISBN 978-955-8177-63-1.

Zeylanica. (October 2007). Volume 7, No 1. WHT Publications (Pvt) Ltd. Colombo. 124 pages. ISSN 1391-6270. Rs 1,000.

1. Poster – Mammals of Sri Lanka
The Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) in collaboration with the Zoologists Association of the University of Peradeniya has launched a series of posters on the wildlife of Sri Lanka.
The first in the series is a set of posters on the MAMMALS OF SRI LANKA. Each poster has information on the behavior, distribution and characteristics of each species, along with the common and scientific names in Sinhalese and English. Additionally the Society’s website contains detailed information about the fauna and flora of Sri Lanka for use by students and other interested individuals and organizations.
The Posters are available for sale at a pre-launch price of Rs. 200 each and Rs. 350 for a set of 2 posters at the SLWCS Colombo HQ, at 38 Auburn Side, Dehiwala (opposite Arpico on the sea side and open 24h). For those who are interested they can also browse an extensive library on Sri Lankan related natural history and scientific publications. The posters will also be available at the Zoologists’ Association office in the Dept. of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya. The posters will be available for sale at leading bookshops shortly. A number of poster sets will also be donated to a few selected organizations and schools.
Posters can be sent internationally and ordered by credit card. Email for details. For more information on the SLWCS visit the Society s website at:

2. Primate Conservation Society of Sri Lanka
We would like to inform you that we (the young researchers who are working with primates) have created an organization called the Primates Conservation Society of Sri Lanka.
It was created to achieve the following objectives.

– To promote conservation of non human primates and nature
– To promote conservation oriented research activities in Sri Lanka
– To act as a forum for people interested in those fields by holding regular meetings,
providing an information service and publishing of relevant materials
– To work with other organizations with similar aims within the country and globally

Our official web site ( is under construction; it will provide latest information about the Sri Lankan primates soon.

For more information contact, Saman Gamage B.Sc. (Agric), M.Phil. (Biodiversity), President (Primate Conservation Society of Sri Lanka & Land Owners Restore Rainforests in Sri Lanka). 30A, Maddumagewatta, Gangodavila, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka. +94+11 2852409, Mobile +94+ 773 554 230.

3.Photo Booklet on the Butterflies of Sri Lanka & Southern India:
Jetwing Eco Holidays, well known for its expertise in nature tourism has launched a new series of natural history publications. The newest addition to its portfolio of books is the “Gehan’s Photo Booklet” series. This series of booklets includes photographic identification guides to the fauna and flora of Sri Lanka.
The first booklet of this series is the Butterflies of Sri Lanka and Southern India. Photographs of 96 of the 242 species of butterflies and skippers found in Sri Lanka are included in the booklet. Many of the species have two images each, depicting both the underwing and upperwing of the butterfly. For some of the species where sexual dimorphism is present, images of both sexes are included. Images of Sri Lanka’s largest species of Butterflies such as the Blue Mormon, Common Birdwing and the endemic Ceylon Tree Nymph are included in the booklet. All the photographs in this booklet have been taken by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, CEO of Jetwing Eco Holidays.
To encourage and facilitate a wide a audience, especially school children to learn and identify the butterflies they encounter, the species names have been given in three languages (English, Sinhala and Tamil). The booklet can also be used in Southern India as Sri Lanka shares many of the butterfly species with Southern India.
This series is an initiative by wildlife populariser Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne who together with Jetwing and the tourism industry is on a mission to create a million wildlife enthusiasts in Sri Lanka. Hiran Cooray, Director Jetwing Eco Holidays and Managing Director Jetwing Hotels, believes that education & awareness is the key to conservation, and hopes this booklet series will not only help the younger generation but also adults to appreciate the biodiversity around them.
This booklet can be carried easily in one’s backpack or even in a handbag with its handy A5 size (20.8 x14.8 cm). It includes six images per page and comes with a stiff, laminated cover. The butterflies are laid out in the order of their taxonomy.
Advanced users may also find the colour plates convenient in the field to complement the more advanced books, which are sometimes cumbersome to be carried in the field.
The GPB – Butterflies of Sri Lanka & Southern India retails for Rs. 300 and can be purchased at all leading bookshops and from Jetwing Eco Holidays at Jetwing House, 6th Floor, 46/26, Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 02, during regular office hours. Email:

4. Photo Booklet of the Birds of Sri Lanka & Southern India:
This book contains photographs of 263 of the 444 species of birds recorded in Sri Lanka. It has photographs of 25 of the 33 endemic birds of Sri Lanka and includes many of the common migrant waders and seabirds. Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne the CEO Jetwing Eco Holidays, has taken nearly all of the images in this booklet.
This is one of the first photographic guides to birds which has the species names in three languages (English, Sinhala and Tamil). The booklet can also be used in Southern India as Sri Lanka shares many of the birds with Southern India. One of the features in the book is the inclusion of flight shots of some of the waders, waterfowl and most importantly the raptors, which are usually difficult to identify. This booklet is aimed at both young school children as well as the casual birdwatcher. This series is an initiative by wildlife populariser Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne who together with Jetwing and the tourism industry is on a mission to create a million wildlife enthusiasts in Sri Lanka by the year 2025.
According to Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne “Most people now understand the importance of conserving eco-systems. School children at a relatively early age are taught the importance of the environment and how people should aim to minimize their impact. However in the developed world, the conservation lobby is more successful at a local level because people can connect with the environment more intimately. This is because they can put a name to species they see in their home garden or local wild patch. Conserving the environment should not be something conceptual. In Europe for example, they will fight to preserve habitats where on their walks they see chaffinches, greenfinches, speckled woods, tortoise shells, emperor dragonflies, etc. In Sri Lanka in the local languages we have only one word for butterfly despite having 243 species of butterflies and skippers. We have only one word for dragonfly despite having 118 species. So conservation of wildlife remains a somewhat abstract concept.
The idea behind this book is that even an urban dweller in a city will realise how many species of birds can be seen in a large city. Knowledge transforms a back garden into an urban nature reserve. These booklets are intended to awaken people to the richness of Sri Lankan wildlife and to create a personal connection. When that happens, Sri Lanka will have a stronger lobby for conservation of wildlife and people will understand that even a small back garden planted with a few fruit trees nurture biodiversity. Even urban gardens attract colourful Brown-headed and Ceylon Small Barbets, Black-headed Orioles, Purple-rumped and Loten’s Sunbirds, etc. Urban wetlands adjoining Colombo such as the Kotte Marshes and the Talangama Wetland are very rich in birds. The Talangama Wetland has over a hundred species recorded from it, including migratory birds such as Brown Shrike, Indian Pitta and waders such as Common and Wood Sandpiper, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Golden Plover and other migrants such as Yellow and Forest Wagtails. These simple photo booklets will help children and adults to put a name to birds they see and create a more intimate connection with the environment”.
This booklet can be carried easily in one’s day-pack or even in a handbag with its handy A5 size (20.8 x14.8 cm). It includes nine images per page in the 42 colour plates. The book has a stiff, laminated cover which is spiral bound for ease of use in the field. The birds are laid out in the traditional taxonomic order. Advanced users may also find the colour plates convenient in the field to complement the more advanced books, which are sometimes too cumbersome to be carried in the field.
The Birds of Sri Lanka & Southern India retails for Rs. 500 and can be purchased at all leading bookshops including Sarasavi Bookshop, Vijitha Yapa, ODEL, Barefoot, Lake House Bookshop (Hyde Park Corner), etc. It is also available from Jetwing Eco Holidays at Jetwing House, 6th Floor, 46/26, Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 02, during regular office hours. Those wishing to preview the book can download the pdf file of the book from There is no charge for downloading the electronic copy.

5. CD Sound Guides to the Birds of Sri Lanka

The Sound Guides to Sri Lankan birds published on cassette tapes since 1997 by Deepal Warakagoda are now available on CD from the Drongo Nature Sounds Library.

These Guides on tape have been popular for some time amongst Sri Lanka birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts as very useful companion guides to their books on bird identification.
However, the cassettes have been of somewhat limited use because after some years the tape medium deteriorates, and then also the sound quality. The Drongo Nature Sounds Library decided to make available again these popular Sound Guides on much longer-lasting audio media – Compact Discs of a good-quality brand.

These Sound Guides have now been recorded on TDK CDs with a professional audio duplicating system at the Drongo Nature Sounds Library studio to maintain a high standard of recording quality. These CDs can be played on any home or car CD players or computer CD/DVD-ROM drives.

The original compilations have now been digitally re-mastered for improved sound quality. The CDs, too, are produced with colour labels and covers.

The Sound Guides now available on CD are as follows.

1. Bird Sounds of Sri Lanka: Part 1. Non-Passerines. Little Grebe to Woodpeckers. 72 species including 10 endemics. 60 min. Originally published in 1997.
The English and scientific name of each species are announced before its sounds are heard. A leaflet providing details of each bird sound and its recording is now included.
See below for the number of species in each bird group or family featured in this compilation.

2. Bird Sounds of Sri Lanka: Part 2. Passerines. Indian Pitta to Warblers. 43 species including 6 endemics. 60 min. Originally published in 1998.
This compilation features a variety of sound types of each species in it and a ‘soundscape’ of rainforest birds at the end.
The English and Sinhala name of each species are announced before its sounds are heard. A leaflet providing details of each bird sound and its recording is now included.
See below for the number of species in each bird group or family featured in this compilation.

3. Bird Sounds of Sri Lanka: Part 1: Second Edition. Non-Passerines. Little Grebe to Woodpeckers. 74 species including 12 endemics. 60 min. Originally published in 2001.
This edition includes some species for whom recordings were not available for the first edition of 1997, and omits mainly some species of herons and shorebirds which were included in it.
The English and Sinhala name of each species are announced before its sounds are heard. A leaflet providing details of each bird sound and its recording is now included.
See below for the number of species in each bird group or family featured in this compilation.

4. Bird Sounds of Sri Lanka: Habitat Edition 2005. 105 species including 19 endemics. 74 min. Originally published in 2005.
This compilation includes a selection of Non-Passerines and Passerines, from Little Grebe to Ceylon Blue Magpie, and includes nocturnal birds, all of these being grouped into eight different habitat types (i.e. Birds of the rainforest, Birds of the marshes, Birds in the lagoons, Birds in town gardens, Birds of the hills, Birds in dry forests, Birds in grassland and scrubland, and Nightbirds of the dry zone). Each of the eight parts opens with a short ‘soundscape’ of many birds which occupy that habitat.
The name of each soundscape and the reference number of species featured are announced in English at beginning of the section for each habitat. A leaflet providing details of each bird sound and its recording is now included.
See below for the number of species in each bird group or family featured in this compilation.

Price: Rs. 750/- for each CD.
Orders can be placed with
Deepal Warakagoda, at Drongo Nature Sounds Library.
Tel: 011 281 7370 or email:

Sound Guide Bird families/groups No. of species
Part 1. Non-Passerines
Grebes. 1
1997 [First edition]. Bitterns, Herons, Egrets. 6
Teals (Tree Ducks). 2
Hawks, Eagles. 5
Francolins (Partridges), Fowls. 3
Waterhens, Coots. 2
Shorebirds (Jacanas, Stilts,
Stone-Plovers, Plovers, Sandpipers .10
Terns. 2
Pigeons, Doves. 4
Hanging Parrots, Parakeets. 4
Cuckoos, Malkohas, Coucals. 8
Owls, Nightjars. 5
Swifts. 2
Trogons. 1
Kingfishers. 3
Bee-eaters. 3
Hoopoe. 1
Hornbills. 2
Barbets. 4
Woodpeckers. 4

Sound Guide Bird families/groups No. of species
Part 2. Passerines Pittas. 1
1998 Larks. 2
Pipits, Wagtails. 5
Wood-Shrikes, Cuckoo-Shrikes,
Minivets. 6
Bulbuls. 6
Leafbirds (Chloropsises), Ioras. 3
Robins, Chats, Thrushes. 8
Prinias, Warblers. 12

Sound Guide Bird families/groups No. of species
Part 1. Non-Passerines
Grebes. 1
2001. Second edition. Bitterns, Herons, Egrets. 2
Teals (Tree Ducks). 1
Hawks, Eagles. 6
Francolins (Partridges), Fowls,
Button-Quails (Bustard-Quails). 6
Waterhens, Coots. 2
Shorebirds (Jacanas, Stilts,
Stone-Plovers, Plovers). 5
Terns. 2
Pigeons, Doves. 7
Hanging Parrots, Parakeets. 5
Cuckoos, Malkohas, Coucals. 9
Owls, Nightjars. 5
Swifts. 2
Trogons. 1
Kingfishers. 3
Bee-eaters. 3
Hoopoe. 1
Hornbills. 2
Barbets. 4
Woodpeckers. 7

Sound Guide Bird families/groups No. of species
Habitat Edition Grebes. 1
2005. Teals (Tree Ducks). 1
Non-Passerines: Hawks, Eagles. 3
Francolins (Partridges), Fowls. 4
Shorebirds (Jacanas, Stilts,
Stone-Plovers, Plovers, Sandpipers. 8
Pigeons, Doves. 5
Hanging Parrots, Parakeets. 2
Cuckoos, Malkohas, Coucals. 6
Owls, Nightjars. 6
Kingfishers. 2
Bee-eaters. 3
Hoopoe. 1
Hornbills. 1
Barbets. 3
Woodpeckers. 3

Passerines: Pittas. 1
Larks. 3
Wood-Shrikes, Cuckoo-Shrikes,
Minivets. 4
Bulbuls. 6
Leafbirds (Chloropsises), Ioras. 3
Robins, Chats, Thrushes. 7
Prinias, Warblers. 7
Flycatchers. 4
Babblers. 4
Sparrows. 1
Tits. 1
White-eyes. 1
Sunbirds. 2
Orioles. 1
Starlings, Mynas 4
Drongos. 3
Magpies. 1