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Population size and movements of the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) in the Jaffna peninsula, Sri Lanka: Results from a long-term study

Authors:

Chaminda Wijesundara ,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About Chaminda
Department of Zoology
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Saumya Wanniarachchi,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About Saumya
Department of Zoology
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Tharangi Hettiarachchi,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About Tharangi
Department of Zoology
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Supun Galappaththi,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About Supun
Department of Zoology
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Asela Weerawardhana,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About Asela
Department of Zoology
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Packiyanathan Rajkumar

University of Peradeniya, LK
About Packiyanathan
Postgraduate Institute of Science
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Abstract

The Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is an uncommon migrant bird species found in Sri Lanka, and is a major attraction among avitourists. Jaffna Peninsula, Mannar Island, and the southeastern coastal areas are the known strongholds of this species in Sri Lanka. Previous studies on this species in the Jaffna Peninsula are limited, most probably due to the inaccessibility of the area during the three-decade long civil war. Hence, the objectives of the present study were to determine the population size and movements of the Greater Flamingo in major flocking areas in the Jaffna Peninsula. The study used point counts to determine population size. Binoculars and spotting scopes were used for observations. Counts were taken monthly for five years from April, 2013 to April, 2018 to cover both migratory and non-migratory seasons. To determine their movements, we mapped the location of flocks using a GPS throughout the study period.
The estimated total population size for Greater Flamingo in the Jaffna Peninsula is 6245±300. The highest average count (1081) was recorded from Nagar Kovil area with mean flock size of 367±73. Flamingos were recorded during both migratory and non-migratory seasons. The highest number of birds was observed from June - August. During the height of the dry season, flamingos moved away from western parts of the Jaffna Peninsula and concentrate on eastern parts possibly due to the higher abundance of food. The wetlands are the highly preferred habitats of the flamingos. The year-round presence of flamingos indicates that they remain in Sri Lanka beyond the migratory season as summer loiterers. The present study shows that the Jaffna Peninsula is an important area for the Greater Flamingo, thus protecting their preferred habitats is critical for their survival.

How to Cite: Wijesundara, C., Wanniarachchi, S., Hettiarachchi, T., Galappaththi, S., Weerawardhana, A., & Rajkumar, P. (2018). Population size and movements of the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) in the Jaffna peninsula, Sri Lanka: Results from a long-term study. Ceylon Journal of Science, 47(4), 373–378. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjs.v47i4.7555
Published on 05 Dec 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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