Birds in Lanka: Janaka Gallangoda’s Photographic Virtuosity

Dr Janaka Gallangoda spent two years at Flinders University in 2014/15 and I have been fortunate in gaining access to his scintillating camera-work previously. Here are a selection from his snap shots of birds in Sri Lanka

 Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra) …. Rare winter migrant to the central hills of Sri Lanka from the Kashmir region of Himalayan foothills. This is a globally threatened bird. Many birdwatchers from all over the world travel to Nuwara Eliya to watch this little jewel.  It is a solitary and fairly territorial bird found near forest edges, gardens and tea estates. 

Orange-breasted Green Pigeon (Treron bicinctus) …… Fairly common breeding resident, found in dry lowlands to lower hills of Sri Lanka. Mainly arboreal, feeding on fruits and hiding in foliage when threatened. Comes to ground to drink, walks rather clumsily with tail held high. Usually found in small or large flocks.

 Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) ….. Common breeding resident bird throughout lowlands, more frequent in lagoons, tanks, and marshes of the north and east of Sri Lanka. Also found in wet zone, in and around Colombo. Keeps in small to large flocks. Wades in shallow when feeding with bill in water, raking with feet. Roosts communally in trees. Range extends to India, China and South-East Asia.

Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis) ….. Common breeding resident bird in the open areas in low country dry zone, occasionally found in lower hills and wet zone. Often perches on a vantage point, branch or wire, lifting tail up and down, looking for pray. Mainly insectivorous but feeds on small vertebrate too.  Range extends Saudi Arabia, South and South-East Asia.

White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) ….. Uncommon breeding resident in lowlands up to lower hills of Sri Lanka. More common in dry lowlands and frequent visitor to higher hills. Fairly large raptor found near coasts, lagoons, tanks and rivers solitary or in pairs. Perches upright on bare branches near water. Feeds by stooping to grab prey from water without plunging. Also rob from other birds. Range extends upto India, China, Philippines and Australia

 Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocerus) …… Common breeding resident in north-west and northern Sri Lanka. Uncommon in north-central area, occasionally few birds appear in dry southern areas during winter migration period. Adults are glossy blue-black with white rictal spot. Long tail is deeply forked. Perches in trees, on posts, or even on cattle to “flycatch”. Range extends to Middle East, South and South-East, Taiwan and Java.

  Brahminy Kite (Haliastus indus) ……….Medium sized raptor with distinctive chestnut and white. Locally common breading resident mainly found in lowland in dry zone, less so in wet zone of Sri Lanka. Usually found near water mainly in costal areas and large inland wetlands, also along rivers, solitary to several or many birds together. Easy flight with much soaring with flat wings, swooping onto food or taking insects in mid-air, also scavenges on rubbish. Ranges from India, South China, South-East Asia, Borneo, New Guinea and Australia.

  Orange-headed Thrush (Zoothera citrina) ………… Rare winter migrant to lowland and up to lower hills with distinguish orange head and underparts. Territorial shy bird inhabits forests, scrub and well-wooded gardens. Generally feeds on ground, turning over leaves. Range extends to Pakistan, India, South-East and East Asia and Java.

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Janaka is a southerner who seems to prefer the hills of Nuwara Eliya. Volare!! …. BUT these snaps from my beloved Galle Fort encouraged me to forgive his prefrences


Filed under education, landscape wondrous, life stories, photography, travelogue

3 responses to “Birds in Lanka: Janaka Gallangoda’s Photographic Virtuosity

  1. Patrick Rodrigo

    Does the orange breasted green pigeon have the Sinhala name Batagoya, which from memory seemed a little larger and used to fly in flocks of at least 50 bird. This was in Trinco in the late 1950s.

    • Janaka Gallangoda

      Both Orange-breasted Green Pigeon and Pompodour Green Pigeon (Sri Lanka Green Pigeon) commonly called as “Batagoya” in Sinhalese. Both can be found in Trinco region in flocks.

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