Sri Lanka, a small island nation located in the Indian Ocean, is known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and diverse wildlife. Among the many species of birds that call Sri Lanka home, Layard’s Parakeet stands out as a unique and colorful symbol of the island’s rich biodiversity.
Named after the British zoologist Edgar Leopold Layard, who first described the species in 1854, Layard’s Parakeet (Psittacula calthropae) is a medium-sized parrot that is endemic to Sri Lanka. It is one of the eight species of parrots found in Sri Lanka and is the only parrot species that is confined to the island.
Characteristics of Layard’s Parakeet
The Layard’s Parakeet is a strikingly beautiful bird, with a predominantly green plumage that is accentuated by a bright red patch on its shoulder and a yellow-green coloration on its cheeks. It has a distinctive long tail that is blue at the base, and a curved beak that is ideal for cracking open seeds and nuts.
Habitat and Distribution of Layard’s Parakeet
Despite its beauty, the Layard’s Parakeet is not a commonly sighted bird in Sri Lanka. It is primarily found in the wet zone forests of the island’s central highlands, where it feeds on fruits, seeds, and flowers. The bird is known to form small flocks, and its raucous calls and acrobatic flight patterns make it a delight to watch for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
Where Can You Find Layard’s Parakeet
- Kitulgala Forest Reserve
- Sinharaja Rain Forest
- The Peak Wilderness Sanctuary
- Kanneliya Rain Forest Reserve
- Hiyare Forest Reserve
- Udawattakele Forest Reserve
- Riverstone Area
Threats to Layard’s Parakeet & Conservation
Sadly, the population of Layard’s Parakeet is declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as forests are cleared for agriculture and human settlements. The bird is currently classified as least concerned (LC), and conservation efforts are underway to protect its remaining habitats and raise awareness about the importance of preserving Sri Lanka’s unique biodiversity.
In conclusion, Layard’s Parakeet is a beautiful and unique bird species that is emblematic of Sri Lanka’s rich biodiversity. Its distinctive coloration, playful behavior, and acrobatic flight patterns make it a bird worth seeing for any nature enthusiast visiting the island. However, it is also a bird that is under threat, and it is our responsibility to protect its habitats and ensure that future generations can enjoy the beauty of this remarkable bird.