Trinidad & Tobago Bird watching:
Key bird watching sites on Trinidad
There is plenty on Trinidad to occupy a full week of bird watching every day. Trinidad's variety of habitats and sites making for some very pleasant and interesting bird watching - particularly for the relative newcomer to bird watching in the neotropics.
The Northern Range
Trinidad's Northern Range is forested hills crossing the width of the island, and here one finds a wide variety of species not normally seen at the lower elevations elsewhere. Bird watching from lookout points on the Arima-Blanchisseuse Road and Lalaja Road brings Double-toothed Kite, Channel-billed Toucan, Black-tailed Tityra and Ornate Hawk Eagle; Golden headed Manakin; Blue-headed Parrot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Slaty-capped Flycatcher, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Speckled and Hepatic Tanagers.
Asa Wright Lodge and Nature Centre is in this area. Its birds of greatest interest include White-necked Jacobin, Collared Trogon, Blue-crowned Motmot, Chestnut Woodpecker, Great Antshrike, Bearded Bellbird and Oilbird (to limit disturbance, bird watching visits to their oilbird cave are generally limited to guests of the lodge staying several nights).
Heights of Aripo
The Heights of Aripo (El Cerro del Aripo) is Trinidads highest mountain at 3,000ft. Targets here include White Hawk, Common Black Hawk, Violaceous and White-tailed Trogons, Purple Honeycreepers, Turquoise and Speckled Tanagers.
Mount St Benedict
Mount St Benedict is a 600 acre estate of mountains and valleys, with habitats ranging from rainforest to pine forest to cocoa and coffee plantation, all easily accessible on a series of nature trails.
This is where Pax Guest House is situated. The bird watching owners have established a hummingbird trail where 11 species have been recorded. In just a few minutes Long-billed Starthroat, Green Hermit, Tufted Coquette, Copper-rumped Hummingbird, White-chested Emerald and Ruby-topaz Hummingbird can be seen on flowering bushes and feeders. Up to 12 raptors can be readily seen from the Avian Terrace, including Turkey Vultures, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Common Black Hawk, White Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Grey-headed Kite, Double-tooth Kite. The Alben Ride trail has flycatchers and seedeaters.
Excursions into the forested hills above Pax produce Rufous-breasted Hermit, Violaceous and White-tailed Trogons, Buff-throated Woodcreeper, White-flanked Antwren, Golden-headed and White-bearded Manakins, Rufous-breasted Wren, Long-billed Gnatwren, Tropical Parula, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Blue Dacnis, Trinidad Euphonias and White-shouldered Tanagers.
At the end of the day you can hope to see or hear Little Tinamou, Orange-winged Parrot, Saltators, Scaled Pigeon, Pauraque, Tropical Screech-Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Yellow Oriole and Lesser Swallow-tail Swift.
Cumaca Valley mountains
The Cumaca Valley mountains is a productive area for bird watching for mountain forest species such as bellbirds, woodpeckers, Zone-tailed Hawk, Blue Dacni, Collard Trogon, Green Kingfisher, toucans, White-flanked Antwren and many other desirable species.
At the far end of the Northern Range, Toco on the north east coast of Trinidad, and the area beyond it, is the place to find Trinidad's only endemic, the Pawi or Trinidad Piping Guan.
The oddly named Valencia Stretch is an area of open scrub near sand and gravel quarries. Typical sightings include Masked Yellowthroat, Stripped Cuckoo, Plain Breasted Spinetail, Greyish Saltators and Peregrine Falcons.
Aripo Agricultural Research Station
Aripo Agricultural Research Station provides bird watching access to open savannah, wet pastures, hedgerows and isolated trees. Typical of these areas are Savannah Hawk, Wattled Jacanas, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, White-headed Marsh and Pied Water Tyrants, Grey Kingbird, White-winged Swallow and Red-breasted Blackbird.
Wintering American shorebirds are often found in the wetter areas. In season can be found Solitary and Least Sandpipers, Southern Lapwing and Stilt Sandpipers. Also a chance of Cocoi Heron, Striped Cuckoo and Pinnated Bittern.
Arena Dam is a favourite spot for bird watching with good chances of Grey Hawk, Plumbeous Kite, White-bellied Antbird, Squirrel Cuckoo, Marsh and Water Tyrants, Osprey, Neotropic Cormorant, Tree Duck, Yellow-Rumped Cacique and Rufous-tailed Jacamar.
In and around Arena Forest (lowland forest) search first for Yellow-rumped Caciques and Piratic Flycatchers. In the forest proper are Squirrel Cuckoo, White-tailed and Violaceous Trogons, Lineated and Golden Olive Woodpeckers, Plain Ant Vireo, White-bellied Antbird, Spectacled Owl, and Green Hermit.
Tricity Water Treatment Plant
Trinidad's Tricity Water Treatment Plant provides refuge for Least Grebe, Little Blue and Striated Herons and Snowy Egret. Bird watching here also should produce are Yellow hooded Blackbirds, Shiny Cowbirds, Yellow Oriole and wintering and migrating American shorebirds, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper and Black-necked Stilts. And, with luck, Ringed Kingfisher and Masked Duck.
Wallerfield is a disused airfield in the Aripo Savannah. Typical bird watching sightings here include Pale-vented Pigeon, Fork-tailed Palm Swift, Sulphury and Bran-coloured Flycatchers, Masked Yellowthroat, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Moriche Oriole and occasionally Crimson-crested Woodpecker.
It is good for night birds: Pauraque, White-tailed Nightjar, Nacunda Nighthawk, Tropical Screech Owl and Barn Owl.
Trinidad's West Coast
Trinidad's west coast provides ricefields, tidal mudflats, a wetland reserve, and swamp that can all be visited in one hectic day.
The Caroni ricefields can produce Limpkin and Long-winged Harrier.
The tidal mudflats at Waterloo offer Neotropic Cormorant, Brown Pelican, Tricoloured Heron, Little Blue and Great Blue Heron, Striated Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Snowy and Great White Egret, Semipalmated Plover, both Yellowlegs, Solitary, Spotted, Semipalmated and Western Sandpipers, Laughing Gulls, Large-billed and Yellow-billed Terns and American Black Skimmers.
Caroni Swamp is one of Trinidad's highlights. Within easy reach of Port of Spain it is an extensive area of mangrove intersected by many channels, with some beautiful open lagoons.
The area is home to several mangrove specialities: Grey Potoo, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Black-crested Antshrike or Bicoloured Conebill. It hosts the big event of Trinidadian birding - the dusk arrival of Scarlet Ibis and herons in large numbers returning from feeding grounds in Venezuela.
Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust
On the coast before San Fernando, the small bird watching reserve maintained by the Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust has a breeding programme for Scarlet Ibis and Whistling Ducks; other species found here include Saffron Finch and Red-capped Cardinal, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Grey-necked Wood Rail, Anhinga, Black-crowned Night Heron, Osprey and Ringed Kingfisher.
It's a lovely spot for a birding walk.
Manzanilla and Nariva Swamp on Trinidad's east coast are long windswept beaches backed by coconut palms, mangrove fringed streams, shallow freshwater swamp, rice and water melon fields.
Typical here are Magnificent Frigatebirds, Brown Pelicans, Common Black Hawk, Yellow-headed Caracara, Bat Falcon, Red-rumped Woodpecker, Black-crested Antshrike, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Silvered Antbird, Striated Heron, American Purple Gallinule, Red-breasted and Yellow-hooded Blackbirds, Shiny and Giant Cowbirds, Pinnated Bittern, Long-winged Harrier and Azure Gallinule.
Red-bellied Macaws come to roost in a roadside group of palms for a very memorable bird watching experience.
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Birdwatching in Trinidad & Tobago
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