Diurnal avifaunal diversity, species richness and density along the Bolgoda canal in the Bellanwila- Attidiya sanctuary, western Sri Lanka

Diurnal Avifaunal diversity, density and species richness were studied along the Bolgoda Canal in Bellanwila- Attidiya Sanctuary (70 42/ N, 790 49/ E) of Western Sri Lanka from June 2005 to February 2006. Six lines transect (length 500m) totaling 3.00 km and positioned along the Bolgoda canal were travelled slowly on foot three times per month. The day was divided into three time periods as 0700 – 1000 (morning), 1200 – 1500 (noon) and 1500 – 1800 (evening). Data were collected three times per month for each time period. All birds seen within one hundred meters on either side of each transect were recorded. Fifty-two bird species were recorded including globally endangered spotted billed pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) and four migratory species (Actitis hypoleucos,Burhinus odicnemus, Gelochelidon nilotica, Terpsiphone paradisi). Species diversity was significantly high in December 2005 and low in August 2005. (ANOVA, F= 17.00, p<0.05) Species density was significantly high in September 2005 and low in June (ANOVA, F =15.00, p>0.05) Highest species richness was recorded in the morning session (Species richness 26.32 ± 0.021) and the lowest species richness was recorded in the noon session (Species richness 18.82 ± 0.031). Species richness varied from 33.12 ± 0.023 in August 47.54 ± 0.31 in December 2005. Relative abundant indicated that House Crow (Corvus splendens) was the most abundant species while Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocyona javanica) was the least abundance species. Present study revealed that although the study site is in close proximity to densely populated residential area; it still provides a vital habitat to large number of bird species and therefore warrants protection.

U Dissanayaka and D Mahaulpatha
Department of Zoology, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka.