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  • Photograph of Ruby Topaz

    The brilliant Ruby Topaz, photographed by Steve Garvie at the Asa Wright Nature Centre on Trinidad.

  • Where to watch birds and wildlife in

    Best Birds and other wildlife in Trinidad and Tobago


    Trinidad Piping-guan, Trinidad (Blue-crowned) Motmot and Tobago (Scrub) Greenlet (Hylophilus insularis, a common resident on Tobago).

    Rufous-vented Chachalaca, White-cheeked Pintail, Scarlet Ibis, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Cocoi Heron, Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird, Red-billed Tropicbird, Brown and Red-footed Boobies, Anhinga, Pearl Kite, Great Black, Savanna, Short-tailed and White Hawks, Ornate Hawk-eagle, Limpkin, Southern Lapwing and other shorebirds, Large-billed, Royal and Yellow-billed Terns, Black Skimmer, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Blue-headed and Orange-winged Parrots, Mangrove and Squirrel Cuckoos, Smooth-billed Ani, Tropical Screech-owl, Ferruginous Pygmy-owl, White-tailed Nightjar, Common (Grey) Potoo, Oilbird, Green, Little and Rufous-breasted Hermits, White-tailed Sabrewing (near-endemic), Ruby Topaz (mostly Feb-Mar), Tufted Coquette, White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated and Green-throated Mangos, White-chested Emerald, Collared and Green-backed (White-tailed) Trogons, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Channel-billed Toucan, woodpeckers, Grey-throated Leaftosser, spinetails, woodcreepers, Barred, Black-crested and Great Antshrikes, White-bellied Antbird, Black-faced Antthrush, Blue-backed, Golden-headed and White-bearded Manakins, Bearded Bellbird, Black-tailed Tityra, tyrant flycatchers including White-headed Marsh-tyrant and Venezuelan Flycatcher, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, White-winged Swallow, Rufous-breasted Wren, Long-billed Gnatwren, Cocoa Thrush, Bananaquit, Bicoloured Conebill, tanagers including Bay-headed, Speckled and Turquoise, Blue Dacnis, Green, Purple and Red-legged Honeycreepers, Red-capped Cardinal, Moriche Oriole, Red-breasted and Yellow-hooded Blackbirds, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Crested Oropendola and Trinidad Euphonia. Also a chance of Audubon's Shearwater, Boat-billed Heron, Pinnated Bittern, Bridled and Sooty Terns (both mostly Apr-Aug), Brown Noddy (mostly Apr-Aug), Red-bellied Macaw, Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, Violaceous Trogon, American Pygmy and Ringed Kingfishers, and Swallow Tanager.

    Red-rumped Agouti. Also a chance of Silky Anteater.

    Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
    Excellent scuba-diving and snorkeling, Green, Hawksbill (nesting mostly May-Sep) and Leatherback (nesting mostly mid-April to mid-May, hatching mostly mid-May to July) Turtles, Spectacled Caiman, Green Iguana, Golden Tegu Lizard and Cook’s Tree Boa.

    Over 600 butterfly species including Blue Morpho, and spiders such as Pink-toed Tarantula.

    Best Sites for Birds and other wildlife in Trinidad and Tobago

    Photograph of White-necked Jacobin

    White-necked Jacobin, another superb hummingbird at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, photographed by Richard Jones.

    Best Times for Birds and other wildlife in Trinidad and Tobago

    December to April is usually the best time to visit for most birds, especially March and early April, before the wet season, when many forest species are at their most active, but the best time for some terns is usually April to August. Female Leatherback Turtles usually start coming ashore to lay their eggs from mid-March and numbers normally reach a peak between mid-April and mid-May when there may be as many as 150 turtles visiting Matura Beach in a single night! From then on it is possible to see the young hatchlings emerge, usually until August.

    Recommended Bird Books etc. for Trinidad and Tobago

    Birds of Trinidad and Tobago by M Kenefick, R L Restall and F E Hayes. Helm, 2019 (Third Edition).

    A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad & Tobago by R Ffrench et al. Comstock Publishing Associates, 2013 (Third Edition).

    Prion Birdwatchers' Guide to Trinidad and Tobago by W L Murphy. Prion, 2004 (Third Edition).

    Field Guide to the Birds of Venezuela by S Hilty. Helm, 2002.

    Birds of South America: Non-Passerines by J R Roderiguez Mata et al. Harper Collins, 2006.

    Birds of South America: Passerines by R S Ridgely and G Tudor. University of Texas Press/Helm, 2009 (Updated paperback edition of books listed next with 400 more illustrations).

    The Birds of South America: Passerines by R S Ridgely and G Tudor. University of Texas Press, 1989 and 1994 (Two volumes).

    Birds of Northern South America by R Restall, C Rodner and M Lentino. Helm, 2006 (Two volumes).

    Mammals of South America by R D Lord. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

    Butterflies of the Caribbean and Florida by P Stiling. Macmillan Caribbean, 1999.

    Apps etc.

    All Birds Trinidad and Tobago by Bloomsbury/Sunbird Images.

    Where to watch birds in Central America & the Caribbean by N Wheatley and D Brewer. Helm, 2001.

    Don’t know which country/countries/regions to visit in the Caribbean? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author and David Brewer. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them in the region, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Birding and Wildlife Trip Reports for Trinidad and Tobago

    Many trip reports, some for Trinidad and Tobago, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Trinidad and Tobago. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Trinidad and Tobago' below.

    Local bird and wildlife guides in Trinidad and Tobago

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation for birders in Trinidad and Tobago

    Some Organized Tours for birds and other wildlife to Trinidad and Tobago

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who are running organized tours to Trinidad and Tobago in the next couple of years include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.