On our recent birding trip (Feb 13th 2016, The Great Backyard Bird Count) along the buffer zone of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Sethumadai, we chanced upon a lucky sighting of the rarely seen Sri Lanka Frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger), a bird that is high on the wish list of many birders and photographers.
Closely related to Nightjars, this nocturnal bird was feeding on the ground and flew across our vehicle and sat perched on a tree root overgrown over a rock. As it was dusk we suspected it to be a nightjar and stopped the vehicle. Much to our excitement, a closer look revealed the ID of the bird. The male (in picture) is grey and heavily spotted. The female is rufous, lightly spotted with white.
This species is found only in the Western Ghats in southwest India and Sri Lanka. They normally live in tropical forest habitats, and can easily be overlooked due to their camouflage, often looking like a jagged or broken branch. Also their nocturnal habit makes them hard to spot.
However, they are not as rare as had been previously supposed. The species has been sighted in the past in dense tropical forest of the Karian Shola area of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve near Top Slip. However, this sighting is the first in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve at a lower altitude like Sethumadai and goes to prove the biodiverse rich tracts of the Anamalais with suitable conditions and topography serve as an ideal habitat for wildlife.
Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
This species is found only in the Western Ghats in southwest India and Sri Lanka. These birds normally live in tropical forest habitats and can easily be overlooked due to their camouflage often looking like a jagged and broken branch.