Avifaunal diversity and bird community responses to man-made habitats in St. Coombs Tea Estate, Sri Lanka

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J. Dananjaya Kottawa-Arachchi
Rajika N. Gamage


A survey on birds was conducted at St. Coombs Tea Estate, Talawakelle, Sri Lanka with the objective of assessing the avifaunal diversity of a given tea plantation ecosystem. Bird populations were sampled in man-made habitats such as home garden, wetland, tea plantation, Eucalyptus plantation and small scale reservoir. Hundred-and-twenty counts were made for each habitat and in addition, activities of birds, feeding habits and food recourses were also observed. A total of 87 species, including 11 endemic and 11 migrant species of birds, was recorded, which included one globally threatened species, Kashmir Flycatcher Ficedula subrubra and 16 nationally threatened species. A majority of the bird species were observed in home gardens (75%), followed by reservoirs (57%), wetlands (48%), tea plantations (43%) and in Eucalyptus plantations (23%). Home gardens support bird diversity while the species richness of endemic bird species increases thereby enabling these findings to be used as guidelines in long term conservational practices. Several conservation measures such as increasing plant diversity, introduction of shade trees and prevention of fire are recommended to conserve and enhance avifaunal diversity in tea plantations.

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Author Biographies

J. Dananjaya Kottawa-Arachchi, Friends of Horton Plains, Tea Research Institute, Talawakelle, Sri Lanka

Mr. J. Dananjaya Kottawa-Arachchi is a research officer and he has conducted research on biodiversity in tea plantations and birds of montane ecosystems in Sri Lanka. He is the vice president of Hill Country Environment Association and secretary of Friends of Horton Plains, Sri Lanka.

Rajika N. Gamage, Friends of Horton Plains, Tea Research Institute, Talawakelle, Sri Lanka

Mr. Rajika N. Gamage is a wildlife photographer and author of illustrated guide to the Butterflies of Sri Lanka. He is a photographer at Tea Research Institute and has conducted research on butterflies of Sri Lanka. He is the president of Hill Country Environment Association and committee member of Friends of Horton Plains, Sri Lanka.


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