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Common Name : Indian Roller     -       Scientific Name : Coracias benghalensis       -       Other Name : Dumbonna (S)
Habawewa
12/06/2014
Habawewa
12/06/2014

The Indian Roller is a common breeding resident of the lowlands of the country. It is found from West Asia across the Indian subcontinent in to South East Asia. Three subspecies have been recognized. C. b. benghalensis is found from Iraq and Arabia across the Indian Subcontinent north of the Vindyas Mountain range in India. C.b.indicus is found in peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The third subspecies C.b. affinis is found in North Eastern India, Thailand, Myanmar and Indochina in South East Asia.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Least Concerned” (National Red List 2012).

Indian Roller is a species protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

I have seen this species through out the dry lowlands of the country and in some locations in the wet zone as well. The highest altitude at which I have recorded this species has been at Koslanda at 736 meters. I have also seen it at Peradeniya at an altitude of 496 meters, Kandy at 472 meters and at Teldeniya at 420 meters. It is common in all the dry zone national parks and is usually seen in open localities perched on dead tree stumps. In the dry zone it is usually quite common and can often be seen perched on the electricity cables along the roads. In the city of Colombo I remember the Indian Rollers to be common in most cricket grounds about four decades ago but they have become very rare now. In the wet zone it is not as common as in the dry zone but I have seen it at locations such as Attanagalla, Bodinagala, Kalagedihena, Ratmalana, Labugama and Radawana. In 1996 I saw one at Rajagiriya but had not seen the species at this locality since then. It is commonly seen around the Air Port at Katunayake and towards the north from Negombo. It is usually common in most coconut groves. In the north I have seen it in the Jaffna peninsula and is very common among the Palmyra trees in the Mannar Island. I have seen it in the offshore islands such as the Delft, Analathivu and Eluwathivu.

In Wilpattu it is common in open areas such as Chenas bordering the park in Hunuwilagama, Radagama, Habawewa, Kirimatiyawa and can be commonly seen perched on the electricity cables on the approach road to Wilpattu.