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Common Name : Forest Wagtail     -       Scientific Name : Dendronanthus indicus       -       Other Name : Mookalan Halapenda
Nelum Wila

This is a common migrant, which is found throughout the island during the season. It breeds in eastern Asia, Korea, and China and in Siberia. In winter it migrates to southern India and Sri Lanka. This is the only wagtail that moves its hindquarters sideways.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as Least Concerned (IUCN Red List) and it is a species protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

I have seen this species from the highest mountains to the lowlands. It inhabits shady places and can be found even in the well-wooded gardens of Colombo during the winter months. In the dry zone this active bird is often found along paths through shady forests and among the leaf litter. I hear it frequently at dusk flying over our house in Colombo.

This species is a common migrant to Wilpattu. As it is well camouflaged on the roads it is difficult to spot until you are very close. Often it would fly off the road upon being approached by a vehicle while making its chink chink call and settle on a branch few feet above the ground. It can be seen on shady forested roads through out the park.