A PRELIMINARY SURVEY ON LESSER ADJUTANT (Leptoptilos javanicus) IN KUMANA NATIONAL PARK, EASTERN PROVINCE SRI LANKA

A.M.R.S. BANDARA, K.B. RANAWANA

Abstract


Globally threatened Leptoptilos javanicus (Lesser adjutant) is the largest bird recorded in Sri Lanka. It is found associated with wetlands in the dry zone of the island. These birds are threatened mainly due to loss of habitat which includes loss of feeding and nesting sites. Therefore, it is useful to identify major sites to observe these birds frequently. Main objective of this study was to identify the major sites in Kumana wetland cluster in the Eastern Province where Lesser adjutant can be observed since it provides suitable habitats to these birds and attracts a large number of visitors. This study was carried out in September 2013 in Kumana National Park. Sites occupied by Lesser adjutant were recorded by moving along a trail in a vehicle in Kumana National Park from the main entrance. According to the observations Thummulla wewa (003-06-609E, 001-53-719N), Yakala lagoon (003-04-029E, 001-49-795N) and Aliya wala (003-07-796E, 001-57-449N) are the three best sites to observe Lesser adjutant. A total number of 16 individuals were observed with a sighting of 10 at Thummulla wewa. Ground and tree crowns should be scanned for Lesser adjutants since they tend to rest on upper branches of relatively tall trees associated with water bodies. Alteration of habitats and increasing number of visitors at their natural sites will disturb the birds easily. Therefore, continuous monitoring of their population size and structure and improving the awareness of general public are vital to protect these birds which will attract both local and foreign tourists, especially in eco-tourism.  

KEY WORDS: Habitat, Wetland, Birds, Population size


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References


Dewasurendra, P., Ranawana, K.B. and Nagasena, I., (2013). Bird diversity in Kumana Marsh, Wetlands Sri Lanka: 13-19 pp.

Weerakoon, D.K. and Gunawardena, K., (2012). The Taxonomy and Conservation Status of Birds in Sri Lanka. In: The National Red List 2012 of Sri Lanka; Conservation Status of the Fauna and Flora.

Weerakoon, D.K. & S. Wijesundara Eds., Ministry of Environment, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 114-133 pp.

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