A new bird species for Sri Lanka

    A new bird species for Sri Lanka reported by Prof. Ragupathy Kannan (Honorary Professor at Department of Zoology, University of Ruhuna)

    picProf. Ragupathy Kannan published an article in Indian Birds (Indian Birds Vol. 16 No. 6, Publ. 28 December 2020, p.195-198) to report a new bird species for Sri Lanka. The Common Swift Apus apus, which is a migratory bird uncommon in much of South Asia was not reported in Sri Lanka until these sightings revealed in the article. The bird was known as a widespread two-way winter migrant from southern Africa through Middle East to Eastern China and was earlier reported from Maldives and India. Prof. Kannan mentions that it is likely that the Common Swifts are under-reported everywhere in the Indian Subcontinent and may have been mistaken as Indian House Swifts or Asian Palm Swifts which are somewhat more common.

    Prof. Kannan who is from University of Arkansas, Fort Smith, USA came to Department of Zoology, University of Ruhuna as a Fulbright fellow in February 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. Although the Fulbright 2020 program was suspended in March, he opted to continue his stay as an Honorary Professor in Zoology. Although stranded in Sri Lanka due to the pandemic, his extended stay allowed him to continue his passion of birding without any hindrance from his rented bungalow located in Browns Hill, Matara, which is approx. 35 m above sea level. So far, he is close on recording 500 stationary bird counts from his residence, recording bird calls and reporting them on eBird. He hopes that this massive dataset will serve as a bedrock to help monitor bird populations in Sri Lanka into the future.  He spotted the new migratory bird from that unique vantage point during his regular bird counting sessions, and a local birder contributed to the finding.

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