Large Whistling Teal found breeding in Sri Lanka:
VAGRANT in the backyard
How would you react when you are told that a bird classified as a
vagrant- i.e. a migrant that is seen perhaps once in 10 years or so is
discovered breeding in a tank in Sri Lanka? Hitherto, sightings of
solitary specimens have been so sporadic that it was categorized as a
vagrant to Sri Lanka,
Well, on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 at 8.15 a.m. Ceylon Bird Club
Committee Member Tara Wikramanayake saw seven Large Whistling
Teal/Fulvous Whistling- duck Dendrocygna bicolor chicks swimming between
their parents at Anavilundawa Tank in the Chilaw District. Further
scrutiny revealed scattered adults in pairs as well as solitary
individuals. She reported this exciting find to M/s Deepal Warakagoda
and Kithsiri Gunawardena, Jt. Secretaries of the Ceylon Bird Club and
the following day, Deepal visited the location with some wildlife
photographers and counted 20 adults. Recordings of the call (which is
quite different to that of the Lesser Whistling Teal/Lesser
Whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica commonly seen in almost all our
water bodies) were made by them and they also noted further signs of
breeding- one pair presented them with a courtship display while another
was seen mating. So hopefully more chicks will arrive soon.
text books/bird books differ in their description of the location of
this bird in Asia. Some books state it is a vagrant to peninsular India
and Pakistan and breeds in NE India down to Bangladesh and towards S.
Others state that it is a winter visitor to Bangladesh and SE Asia.
It is a rare resident to S. Myanmar and was formerly resident (current
status unknown) in SW and E Myanmar.
It is also found in parts of Africa (south of the Sahara from Senegal
across the sub- Sahara belt to Ethiopia and southwards to down the
entire eastern half of the African Continent to S. Africa and Madagascar
although everywhere the distribution is local and somewhat
discontinuous. It is also found in the tropical Americas.
So what has prompted these birds to come to our country to breed and
where did they come from? Bangladesh, NE India, Madagascar or where?
Further study of this aspect is required.
This is the first record of this vagrant to Sri Lanka, breeding here.
In the interests of the birds' well being and security (especially
since it has started to breed), all visitors to the location are
requested to act with caution and responsibility as we would like to see
this bird establish itself as a breeding resident.