Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Green vine snake (Ahaetulla nasuta)

English : Green vine snake
Binomial name : Ahaetulla nasuta
Sinhala : ඇහැටුල්ලා / ඇස්ගුල්ලා
Green vine snake is a mildly venomous reptile living in all environmental regions of Sri Lanka except montane zones elevation above the sea level is greater than 1000 meters. Most of the time this snake can be seen on trees or shrubs. They have a green color body as an adaptation for arboreal life. Their female snakes give birth to young instead of laying eggs. There is a folk story among Sri Lankan people that this snake pull out human eyes using its pointed head when threatened, which is not true. A.nasuta feed on lizards and frogs.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)

English : Common Tailorbird
Binomial name : Orthotomus sutorius
Sinhala : බට්ටිච්චා

Common tailor bird is brightly colored and can be seen in tropical Asia including Sri Lanka. It is given the name 'Tailor bird' due to its ability of creating nests by sewing large leaves of trees together into a shape of a cradle.They feed on insects.Even this bird lives hidden within vegetation, presence can be identified by loud "cheeup-cheeup-cheeup" call.

Sri Lanka White-eye (Zosterops ceylonensis)

English : Sri Lanka White-eye
Binomial name : Zosterops ceylonensis
Sinahal : ශ්‍රී ලංකා සිතැසියා

Sri Lanka White-eye is an endemic resident breeder in Sri Lanka. It lives in highlands elevation above sea level is greater than 1200 meters. This bird can be identified by its white color ring around the eye which made of tiny feathers. They mainly feed on insects, but eat fruits and nectar. Another species of White-eye called 'Oriental White-eye' can be seen in lowlands of Sri Lanka which is not endemic.

Chocolate Soldier (Junonia iphita)

English : Chocolate Soldier / Chocolate Pansy
Binomial name : Junonia iphita

Chocolate Soldier is a common butterfly that can be seen in most parts of Sri Lanka.Special habit of this butterfly is laying eggs on the ground or dried twigs near the host plant. Later larvae have to find their way to the host plant to continue its life-cycle.

Gladeye Bushbrown (Mycalesis patnia)

English : Gladeye Bushbrown
Binomial name : Mycalesis patnia 

Gladeye Bushbrown is a common butterfly that can be seen in Sri Lanka and southern India. Butterfly can be easliy identified by eyelike spot on the forewing.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

English: Red-wattled Lapwing
Scientific: Vanellus indicus
Sinhala: රත් යටිමල් කිරළා[Rath yatimal kirala]

This bird can be seen in wetlands of Udawalawa and Yala in pairs or small groups. Still small groups of Red-wattled Lapwings can be seen even in wetlands of Colombo district Of Sri Lanka. V. indicus can be identified easily by its red color fleshy wattle in front of each eye and the black tipped red beak. It is popular for its loud call that rendered as "did he do it or pity to do it". Apart from Sri lanka they have been distributed across West Asia eastwards across South Asia and Southeast Asia. They feed on insects, snails and grains.

Black-headed Ibis & Asian Openbill

English: Black-headed Ibis / Oriental White ibis
Scientific: Threskiornis melanoce
Sinhala: ඉන්දු සුදු දෑතුඩුවා [Indu sudu dethuduwa]
Black-headed Ibis can be seen in lowland regions of Sri Lanka. They live mostly in wet areas of Udawala and Yala national parks. Long down-curved beak is used to hunt their pray hidden in shallow mud or water. Their Male and female birds look similar.

English  : Asian Openbill
Scientific : Anastomus oscitans
Sinhala : ආසියානු විවරතුඩුවා [Asiyanu wiwarathuduwa]
This bird can be seen in wet areas of dry zone national parks of Sri Lanka. It has been given the name “Open bill” due to the beak that doesn’t get fully closed. Always the bill is closed with a considerable gap between the lower and upper mandible. Even thought Open bill’s diet consists of Snails, It eats other aquatic creatures like fish and frogs.

Tawny Coster butterfly (Acraea violae)

English : Tawny Coster
Scientific : Acraea violae

Tawny Coster  is a butterfly lives in all regions of Sri lanka and India. Even though the Towny Coaster is a  slow moving butterfly, It is ignored by most of the predators like birds. Reason for that is it's ability of secreting a smelly and unpleasant liquid for predators when threatened.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Little Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)

English : Little Green Bee-eater / Green Bee-eater
Scientific : Merops orientalis
Sinhala : කොළ කුරුමිණි කුරුල්ලා / පුංචි බිඟුහරයා / හරිත බිඟුහරයා [Kola kurumini kurulla / Punchi binguharaya / Haritha binguharaya]

Merops orientalis is the smallest among the other four species of Bee-Eaters living in Sri Lanka. Due to that reason it is given the name ‘Little Green Bee-eater’. Their male and female birds look similar.
It can be seen mostly in dry zone of Sri Lanka such as Udawalawa and Yala national parks. Globally they have been distributed across sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal and the Gambia to Ethiopia, the Nile valley, western Arabia and Asia through India to Vietnam.
They feed on bees, other flying and ground dwelling insects. M. orientalis uses its ability of catching insects in flight for hunting their pray. They have a special habit of removing stings and breaking exoskeleton of its pray by thrusting against the perch.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sri Lanka Dull-blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordida)

E.sordida in 50 rupee note
English : Sri Lanka Dull-blue Flycatcher / Dusky-Blue Flycatcher
Scientific : Eumyias sordida
Sinhala : අඳුරු නිල් මැසිමාරා / Anduru nil masimara

Sri Lanka Dull-blue Flycatcher is an endemic bird living in highlands of Sri Lanka. It can be seen mostly in forests and well wooded areas where elevation from the sea level is greater than 600 meters. Horton Plains National Park, Piduruthalagala and Hakgala are some places among them.

Female of this bird is slightly duller compared to the adult male. Nest is cup shaped and made of moss. Even thought the adult birds has the color of dull blue, juveniles are brown. This bird feeds on flying insects, beetles and other insects. It has been reported that it eats berries. An image of E. sordida can be seen in 50 rupee note of Sri Lanka (2010 series).

Monday, February 17, 2014

Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon)

English : Common Bluebottle / Blue Triangle
Scientific : Graphium sarpedon

Common Bluebottle is a butterfly living in South and Southeast Asia including almost all environmental regions of Sri Lanka. It feeds on nectar of flowers and males have the habit of feeding by the edges of puddles. Larvae of the G. sarpedon feed on trees which belong to Lauraceae family. It is considered as a fast moving and fast reacting butterfly by making it difficult to catch.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rhododendron arboreum subsp. zeylanicum

Flower Bud (Young)
Flower Bud
Engish    :  Azalea 
Scientific:  Rhododendron arboreum subsp. 
Sinhala   :  මහරත්මල් / අශෝක [Maha Rathmal /

R.subsp.zeylanicum is an endemic tree grows in highlands of Sri Lanka. It can only be seen in montane environments where elevation above sea level is greater than 1500 meters. It is the most prominent tree in grass lands of Horton National Park.
The existance of this flower in Sri Lanka has been reported by an Arabic traveler named Ibn Battuta in one of his documents. He has mentioned in his ancient writing that he saw a red color flower while visiting Adams peak about the size of a palm of the hand.
The flower is considered as the official flower of Central province of Sri Lanka. One of Its other sub species grows in montane areas of Nepal is considered as the national flower of that country.
Almost all parts of this tree (leaves, stem, fruits and flower buds) have been highly adopted to the cold and windy climate of growing environment. Leaves are rough and surface of the stem is thick. Flower buds are covered with hairs. fruits produce hundreds of tiny seeds to increase the chance of getting germinated.
Another species of Rhododendron can be seen in Sri Lanka named Rhodoendorn indicum which was introduced as an ornamental plant.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pygmy lizard (Cophotis ceylanica)

English:    Pygmy lizard
Scientific: Cophotis ceylanica
Sinhala:    කුරු බෝදිලියා

This slow moving rare endemic arboreal lizard is restricted only to highlands of  Sri Lanka. It can be found in Horton Plains National Park, Hakgala and Piduruthalagala mountain range. C. ceylanica has been well adopted to the cold and windy climate of central hills. As adaptations it bears live young instead of laying eggs. Its body texture has the same coloration of lichens and tree moss to make it difficult to identify at once. This species of lizard is considered as highly threatened due to the climatic changed and deforestation.

Sri Lankan Kangaroo lizard (Otocryptis wiegmanni)

English:    Sri Lankan Kangaroo lizard
Scientific: Otocryptis wiegmanni
Sinhala:    පිනුම් කටුස්සා / යක් කටුස්සා / තැලි

O. wiegmanni is an endemic lizard mostly living in wet zone forest such as Kanneliya and Sinharaja. They can also be seen in lower mountain forests. It’s Diet consists of insects and tender leaves. This lizard got its name, "Kangaroo lizard" due to the ability of running bipedally when threatened.

Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis)

English:    Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill
Scientific: Ocyceros gingalensis
Sinhala:    ශ්‍රී ලංකා අළු කෑදැත්තා

O. gingalensis is an endemic and widely distributed bird in Sri Lanka. Mostly eat fruits. It has gray and black feathers.  Male and female of this bird looks similar. Nests are made on holes of trees.

Common Leopard butterfly (Phalanta phalantha)

English:    Common Leopard
Scientific: Phalanta phalantha

Can be seen in all regions of Sri Lanka. Apart from Sri Lanka this butterfly has been widely distributed in  Bangladesh,India,China and even African countries. It is a sun loving butterfly belongs to Nymphalidae family. It's Male and female looks similar.

Sri Lanka Junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii)

Sri Lanka Junglefowl - Male
Sri Lanka Junglefowl - Female
English:    Sri Lanka Junglefowl
Scientific: Gallus lafayetii
Sinhala:    වළි කුකුළා

Gallus lafayetii is an endemic bird to Sri Lanka and regarded as the national bird. Male is bigger compared to female and bright in color. Female is smaller and has a color of dull brown. Most of the time they spend the day by searching the ground for insects and seeds for their diet. It can be seen in most forests of all regions of Sri Lanka such as Sinharaja, Horton National Park and Yala.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus trigonocephalus)

Engish:     Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper
Scientific: Trimeresurus trigonocephalus
Sinhala:    පලා පොළඟා [Pala Polanga]

T. trigonocephalus is an endemic snake of Sri Lanka. It is moderately venomous and venom mostly consists of hemotoxins that can affect on the bloodstream of it’s pray or enemy. This nocturnal viper has a pair of pit organs on either side of their head that can detect infrared light / heat rays emitted by its pray or enemy. There for Sri Lankan Green Pit Vipers are considered to have a night vision similar to a modern military equipment. Even though they are distributed across most parts of Sri Lanka, Most commonly seen in wet zone rain forest such as Sinharaja and Kanneliya.

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis tickelliae)

Engish:     Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
Scientific: Cyornis tickelliae
Sinhala:    ටිකල් නිල්-මැසිමාරා [Tickell Nil

C. tickelliae lives in every part of Sri Lanka and India to southeast Asia. It feeds on insects. This bird has a special ability of catching insects in flight. Female is duller in color compared to male. It can be seen eagerly looking for flying insects to catch in the flight in places where insects are gathered.

Daffodil orchid (Ipsea speciosa)

Ipsea speciosa
Ipsea speciosa
Engish:      Daffodil orchid
Scientific:  Ipsea speciosa
Sinhala:     නගා මැරූ අල [Naga maru ala]

I.speciosa is a rare and endemic species of orchid found in Pathana grasslands of Sri Lanka. This has been reported mainly from the mid hills of the country. Most of the time existence of the orchid can be identified only during the flowering season which falls on April – May.  Flowers are bright yellow in color.

In local medicine yams of this plant is considered as a powerful aphrodisiacs drug. This plant relates to a Sri Lankan folk tale that describes a story of killing his sister by a prince. According to the folk tale, one of prince who got angry upon his sister’s unexpected erotic behavior has killed his own sister. But later prince has found that his sister was innocent and the reason for her unexpected behavior is due to swallowing a piece of yam of this plant by mistake.
Sinhala name of this orchid (Naga Maru Ala) is translated to English as “Yam which killed the younger sister”.

Sundew (Drosera burmannii)

Drosera burmannii

Engish:     Sundew
Scientific: Drosera burmannii
Sinhala:    කඳුලැස්ස [Kandulessa]

Drosera burmannii is a type of sundew which is a carnivorous plant grown in Horton Plains National Park of Sri Lanka. It has become carnivorous to fulfill the need of Nitrogen.  So the plant can survive in soils where poor in nutrients. Surface of the leaves of D. burmannii is covered with hair like structures that secretes a sticky and digestive liquid which can adhere and digest it’s pray. This species is considered as a medicinal plant in Hindu medicine.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hump-nosed Lizard (Lyriocephalus scutatus)

 Hump-nosed Lizard (Lyriocephalus scutatus)

Engish:     Hump-nosed Lizard
Scientific: Lyriocephalus scutatus
Sinhala:    ගැට හොඹු කටුස්සා [Gata-hombu
                 Katussa] / කරමල් බෝදිලියා [Karamal

This agamid lizard is endemic to Sri Lanka. It can be seen in wet zone forests such as Sinharaja and Kanneliya.  Lizard can be identified by its hump like structure on the top of its nose. Most of the time it can be seen hanging on stems of trees vertically. If threatened this lizard opens its mouth by showing dark colored inside as a defense mechanism for enemies.