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Common Name : Lesser Sand Plover     -       Scientific Name : Charadrius mongolus       -       Other Name : Mongolian Plover (E), Kuda Welioleiya (S)
Maha Wewa

This is a very common migrant to the dry lowlands of the country. A lesser number visits the wet lowlands as well. Five subspecies have been recognized based on plumage. These are C.m.mongolus, C.m.atrifrons, C.m.pamirensis, C.m.stegmanni and C.m.schaeferi. The race that arrives in the country is C.m.atrifrons. This species breeds in the Himalaya’s and in the bare costal plains of northeastern Siberia. During winter these populations arrive in east Africa, south Asia and Australia.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as Least Concerned (IUCN Red List).

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

I have seen this species throughout the lowlands up to an altitude of about 350 meters. During the migrant season they are quite common in open areas such as lagoon shores, lake shores, marshes, mud flats, open fields, beaches etc. In the dry zone this is one of most common migrants and can be seen at all suitable localities including all dry zone national parks. In the north I have seen them at many locations including Mannar, Jaffna peninsula, Delft Island, Analathivu Island and Palaithvu Island. Close to Colombo they can be seen at Kotte Marshes, Bellanwila Attidiya and Thalangama wetlands. In December 2004 I counted a flock of 176 birds at Kotte marshes, which is my highest count of this species anywhere in the wet zone.

This is a very common species around the villu system at Wilpattu. During the season they are seen at locations such as Kuruttupandi Villu, Thimbiri Wila, Kokkare Villu, Mahapatessa, Kaali Villu, Maha Wewa and at Kudiramalei Point. In 2006 I observed them at Palliyawatta, which is an island off the cost of Kudiramalei point.