Field Guides
Home Tours Guides News About Us FAQ Contact Us
Field Guides Tour Report
Trinidad & Tobago Feb. 2014
Feb 5, 2014 to Feb 14, 2014
Eric Hynes & Lena Senko (w/ Dave Ramlal, Gladwyn James)

You don’t have to be a lady hummingbird to admire the attractive features of a male Tufted Coquette! (Photo by guide Eric Hynes)

The islands of Trinidad and Tobago are a fantastic gateway to Neotropical birding, and on this tour these two Caribbean gems showed their avian riches off with pride. (At 231 species, we had one of the highest species counts in recent years!) Of course, there's also the added bonus of escaping cold and stormy winter weather up north...

In Trinidad, we didn't have to go far to find a bouquet of colorful, energetic bird life. Relaxing on the Asa Wright veranda was actually the best way to get up-close and personal with many representative bird families of the New World tropics: honeycreepers, tanagers, euphonias, oropendolas, bananaquits, and hummingbirds, like the dainty Tufted Coquette, all whooshed around the feeders with frenzy. Looking farther out into the canopy, we watched Orange-winged Parrots, Channel-billed Toucans, and a displaying Bearded Bellbird, whose weird wattles shook whenever he bellowed out a metallic "BONG!" from the treetops. Some of us even got lucky enough to see a perched adult Ornate Hawk-Eagle from the veranda. Its bright, rusty face and black crown plumes were unforgettable. Fortunately, we had another encounter with this species later on -- an immature bird that posed nicely on a bare limb.

Each habitat we visited in Trinidad had something special to offer. We peeked into a cave close to Asa Wright and saw nesting Oilbirds, whose startling cries echoed off the walls. Wet moriche palm swamps gave us Sulphury Flycatchers, Yellow-crowned Parrots, Fork-tailed Palm-Swifts, rare Red-bellied Macaws, and an Epaulet Oriole. From the grasses of Aripo Livestock Station we pulled out such goodies as Grassland Yellow-Finch, Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, and Yellow-chinned Spinetail. Red-breasted Blackbirds sang from the tops of short shrubs while Pied Water-Tyrants and White-headed Marsh-Tyrants frequented creek edges. We had to smile when a cheeky Green-rumped Parrotlet made a surprise landing right beside us on a fence post. And, we had to admit -- the family of four roosting Tropical Screech-Owls was incredibly cute. On our night drive through the same livestock station, many Common Pauraques flushed before us, and a White-tailed Nightjar sat cooperatively on the road, allowing us to approach slowly for better looks. We even saw an unexpected Black-eared Opossum.

Mysterious tangles of mangroves at Nariva and Caroni swamps revealed a pair of furtive Silvered Antbirds, handsome Straight-billed Woodcreepers, a tiny American Pygmy Kingfisher, and restless Red-rumped Woodpeckers. A curled-up, sleeping Silky Anteater was a surprise, along with a Common Potoo camouflaged on its day roost. While we sat in a comfortable boat, enjoying sips of rum punch, we were overcome with awe when the warm sunset gave way to a fiery spectacle of Scarlet Ibis as they came in to roost for the night, along with large flocks of Little Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, and Tricolored Herons. The high-altitude forests of the Northern Range had their own unique treasures. A Black Hawk-Eagle was a wonderful sight as it cruised right over our heads… so were the Golden-crowned Warblers, the secretive-but-loud White-bellied Antbird, and even the drab Euler's Flycatcher. (Little brown guys deserve credit, too!) Scrub habitat surrounding Aripo Savanna refused to give up its Pearl Kite in spite of our arduous searching, but it granted a charismatic Little Cuckoo, Bran-colored Flycatcher, White-winged Becard, Streaked Xenops, and a Masked Yellowthroat. Before we left Trinidad, we even picked up some rarities such as Aplomado Falcon, Cocoi Heron, and Plumbeous Kite!

After hopping over to the smaller island of Tobago, we gathered up a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Caribbean Martin, White-fringed Antwren, and many Anhingas on our way to the lovely Blue Waters Inn. The feeders at the inn were frequented by the shy but stunning Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, while the grounds were patrolled by very tame Rufous-vented Chachalacas and Ruddy Turnstones. In the forest, we admired a cooperative Collared Trogon, White-tailed Sabrewing, Golden-olive Woodpecker, and stunning Blue-backed Manakins. During lunch, a tame Trinidad Motmot paid us a visit and posed superbly for the cameras. Our trip to the nearby island of Little Tobago entertained us as well, with boobies and tropicbirds galore, along with an Audubon's Shearwater in its burrow.

Overall, we couldn't have been more grateful for the good weather, myriad of birds, and friendly folks we met along the way. We owe a big "thank you" to our fabulous local guides, Dave and Roodal Ramlal in Trinidad and Gladwyn James in Tobago, to our wonderful driver Charran and sharp-eyed guard Richard, and to all of you for traveling with us and making this tour such a success. Eric and I certainly look forward to seeing you again someday!

As they say in Trinidad…

Feel da riddim!


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Tinamidae (Tinamous)

This Trinidad Motmot looks quite regal and stately in his bright blue-green plumes. (Photo by guide Eric Hynes)

LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – John’s keen eyes spotted one sleeping on a mound of vegetation on the grounds of Tobago Plantations.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors)
WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL (Anas bahamensis) – At least four individuals hanging out with a bunch of Blue-winged Teal among the mangroves on our way to Caroni Swamp. A very striking duck… its name couldn’t be more fitting!
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
RUFOUS-VENTED CHACHALACA (Ortalis ruficauda) – A common, tame, and very raucous resident on the grounds of Blue Waters Inn. Locally called the “Cocrico,” it is the national bird of Tobago.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus)
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)
AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER (Puffinus lherminieri) – The individual we saw inside its nest burrow on Little Tobago was a wonderful surprise for all. [N]
Hydrobatidae (Storm-Petrels)
LEACH'S STORM-PETREL (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) – At least a dozen feeding on the ocean from our lunch stop at Manzanilla Beach in Trinidad.
Phaethontidae (Tropicbirds)
RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon aethereus) – We couldn’t have asked for better looks of these elegant birds gliding through the air at Little Tobago. That mother and chick on the nest right near our feet was pretty amazing, too. [N]
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – Famous for being a kleptoparasite, this species pursues smaller birds like terns and tropicbirds, forcing them to either drop or regurgitate the fish they had caught.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
BROWN BOOBY (Sula leucogaster) [N]
RED-FOOTED BOOBY (Sula sula) [N]
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
Anhingidae (Anhingas)

The show of Scarlet Ibis coming in to roost at Caroni Swamp will forever be etched in our memories… (Photo by guide Eric Hynes)

ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – There was quite an abundance of anhingas on the grounds of Tobago Plantations, including a dead one swinging from a tree by its neck. Yikes.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi) – This species is an uncommon visitor to the islands, so seeing one standing out in the open near the “melon patch” on our third day was a real treat.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – Some of us had never before seen such big groups of tricoloreds until our boat trip at Caroni Swamp.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) [N]
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – This is the small heron on Tobago, and it is entirely replaced on Trinidad by the Striated.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

A boatful of happy birders, setting off to seek Scarlet Ibis, Red-rumped Woodpeckers, Green-throated Mangos, and many other goodies at Caroni Swamp. (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

SCARLET IBIS (Eudocimus ruber) – Watching numerous red clouds of them arrive at Caroni Swamp was magical.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis) – We had several soaring adults on the morning of our fourth day on our way to Aripo Savannah. Later, a dark morph juvenile at Nariva Swamp took us by surprise.
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) – How nice of it to circle right over our heads at Blanchisseuse Road!
ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) – A stunning raptor. Some were fortunate to see an adult from the AWNC veranda, but then all of us got on the beautiful juvenile later on.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus)
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea) – We owe a big “hurrah!” to sharp-eyed guard Richard for this one!
LONG-WINGED HARRIER (Circus buffoni) – A “better view desired” bird… seen too briefly and too distantly, unfortunately.
COMMON BLACK-HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus)
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – Its bright rufous wing pattern in flight is gorgeous.
GREAT BLACK-HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga) – An immature cruised over the hills right outside of Blue Waters Inn on our penultimate morning there.
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis)

Those large eyes help the Oilbird find the fruit it feeds on at night. Here’s one perched on its nest on a cave ledge. (Photo by guide Eric Hynes)

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – Our best views were of an individual perched atop the canopy at the AWNC veranda. Its wings were spread out like those of a vulture as it was drying off after a rain.
GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus)
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – Good drive-by looks on our way to the “temple in the sea” and then the giant Hanuman statue. This species’ barred underwings and tail and its yellow cere set it apart from the Turkey Vulture it mimics so well.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
CLAPPER RAIL (Rallus longirostris) [*]
GRAY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus) – What a nice surprise it was to find one at night, sleeping on a branch, as we headed out of Caroni Swamp.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus)
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – An abundant beauty of a plover.
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana) – The fluffy, long-toed chicks we saw walking around on the lily pads were absolutely adorable.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

Young male Purple Honeycreepers are particularly pretty with their dappled plumage of green and indigo. (Photo by guide Eric Hynes)

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – Our best look was of one standing near a ditch on the side of the road shortly after we arrived in Tobago. The bird kept tilting its head up warily, likely watching out for a falcon.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)
RED KNOT (Calidris canutus) – This uncommon migrant was a nice write-in for our checklist. We had a group of them hanging out at the Waterloo-Orange Valley Fishing Jetty, where we also had many other shorebirds: both yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpipers and Plovers, Willets, and Short-billed Dowitchers.
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (GRAELLSII) (Larus fuscus graellsii) – We found several of these guys relaxing in a big group of Black Skimmers, Royal Terns, and a vast number of Laughing Gulls on a sandbar at the fishing jetty.
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)
BLACK SKIMMER (CINERASCENS) (Rynchops niger cinerascens)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Common around the Blue Waters Inn. Larger and more purple all over than White-tipped Dove.
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – Nice scope looks from the AWNC veranda. Its red eyes and bill were quite visible, even at a big distance.
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata) – This species is far more common on Tobago.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)
GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla) – Commonly heard in the forest at AWNC but very difficult to see due to its shyness and tendency to hide in thick vegetation.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
LITTLE CUCKOO (Coccycua minuta) – What a charismatic cuckoo! Its bright rufous plumage, white tail tips, bright yellow bill, and raised crest had us staring with admiration at the Aripo Savannah.

An immature Wattled Jacana grazes among the lily pads, using those long toes to steady itself on the wobbly surface upon which it strolls. (Photo by guide Eric Hynes)

STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia)
GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major) – One individual came to greet us almost as soon as we boarded the boat at Caroni Swamp.
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – We saw a family group of four, fluffed-up birds roosting together in a small tree at the entrance to the Aripo Livestock Station, which was very endearing indeed.
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – While easily heard, this little owl can be tough to find. We owe guard Richard a big “thanks” for finding this little guy for us while we were all working on our checklist.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Lurocalis semitorquatus) – Two birds were seen swooping in front of the AWNC veranda just after sunset. Boy they are fast!
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)
WHITE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis cayennensis) – One of our night drive highlights at the Aripo Livestock Station.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) – First seen (albeit poorly) on our hike on the AWNC grounds the first day. We also saw the distant eye-shine of two on our night drive. Finally, we had one at Caroni Swamp, perching high up in a tree. Not bad for potoo sightings, especially given this bird’s superb camouflage skills.
Steatornithidae (Oilbird)

Participant Jane Barnette was very skilled and lucky to capture this shot of a male Ruby-topaz Hummingbird because this species is very shy… and fast!

OILBIRD (Steatornis caripensis) – In Trinidad, this bird is sometimes called “diabotin” (French for “little devil”) because its cries are likened to those of tortured men. Spooky as that sounds, oilbirds are harmless, nocturnal frugivores. [N]
Apodidae (Swifts)
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila) – Another “Julia and Lena only” swift.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – We had a large, soaring flock on our way to the Aripo Savannah and could definitely see these big swifts’ white collars.
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura)
BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus)
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris)
FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata)
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy)
LITTLE HERMIT (Phaethornis longuemareus) – One of the “better view desired” birds on our trip, since it was only seen quickly zipping by.
RUBY-TOPAZ HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysolampis mosquitus) – What a gorgeous hummer! Tough to track down because it is very shy, but we all had good looks here and there, especially if a male came in to the feeders at Blue Waters Inn.
GREEN-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax viridigula) – At Caroni Swamp only.
BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – We saw at least three nesting females on our trip. Their dainty lichen nests sewn together with spider webs were a marvel to behold. [N]

Straight-billed Woodcreepers are handsome residents of mangrove swamps. (Photo by guide Eric Hynes)

TUFTED COQUETTE (Lophornis ornatus) – Perhaps the star hummer at the AWNC veranda. We saw both males and females buzzing around the vervain flowers like bumblebees. The male is a hummingbird heartthrob, with bright orange ornamental feathers on his head.
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris) – Julia and Lena had a female very briefly at one of our road stops on the fourth day, when we were all looking for the elusive Trinidad Euphonia.
BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes notata)
WHITE-TAILED SABREWING (Campylopterus ensipennis) – Only in the forest on Tobago.
WHITE-CHESTED EMERALD (Amazilia brevirostris)
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis)
GUIANAN TROGON (Trogon violaceus)
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) – Who would have thought that our bathroom stop at the Main Ridge Forest Reserve would yield such a beautiful bird?
Momotidae (Motmots)
TRINIDAD MOTMOT (Momotus bahamensis) – This species was split in 2010 from the Blue-crowned Motmot into five separate species: Blue-crowned, Whooping, Andean, Amazonian, and Trinidad Motmot.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – One at Nariva Swamp. A much larger and heavier-billed bird than the Belted.
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – We had a single female on the grounds of the Tobago Plantations.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – Great spotting by Joyce of one at Nariva Swamp.
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – At Caroni Swamp, we finally got the little guy!
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – A very common on Tobago; our most memorable encounter was of a singing pair only a few feet over the trail at Main Ridge Forest Reserve.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus)
Picidae (Woodpeckers)

A Red-billed Tropicbird cruises past Little Tobago Island, its bright red bill and elegant white plumage contrasting beautifully with the deep blue ocean below. (Photo by participant Gregg Recer)

RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus)
RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis kirkii) – An elusive swamp-lover. We had three restless individuals at Caroni Swamp who kept flying back and forth over our heads.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus)
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – The pair that was intent on excavating a nest hole near the AWNC veranda was fun to watch.
CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos) – A very brief, flyby bird.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – We had a couple of these scarce raptors when we were near Manzanilla Beach and Nariva Swamp.
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)
MERLIN (Falco columbarius)
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis) – One of the trip’s highlights because it is a rare bird in the lowlands of Trinidad.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – The bird we saw perched on a snag out at the livestock station was the most cooperative of all. It even sat through that brief, sudden downpour that hit us.
Psittacidae (Parrots)
RED-BELLIED MACAW (Orthopsittaca manilata) – This species has become quite scarce and was not seen on this tour in the last five years. We therefore felt blessed to see the six birds feeding on moriche fruit near Arena Forest (thanks to great spotting by our driver, Charran).

This male Silvered Antbird has a lot to say. (Video by guide Lena Senko)
GREEN-RUMPED PARROTLET (Forpus passerinus)
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus) – We encountered a sizeable flock at the small community of Morn Lacroix, where we also found nesting Yellow-rumped Caciques.
YELLOW-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona ochrocephala) – We were happy when a well-hidden pair in the moriche palms at Waller Field finally showed themselves.
ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica)
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – The bloodshot eye of this species is unmistakable.
BLACK-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus canadensis)
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis) – Not an obliging species due to its furtive nature, but we managed to get on a couple at Tobago’s Main Ridge Forest Reserve.
WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula axillaris) – Both a male and female were present in the flock at the ant swarm we encountered along the road.
WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (Formicivora grisea)
SILVERED ANTBIRD (Sclateria naevia) – We coaxed both a male and a female out from the mangroves at Nariva Swamp. Interestingly enough, it was the female who first came in to the playback rather than the male.

The nesting colony of Cattle Egrets we encountered on Tobago offered us some nice photo opportunities. (Photo by participant Barb Wanless)

WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza longipes) – A difficult-to-get (but loud!) bird of thick undergrowth.
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis) – Another one of those species that is super easy to hear, but good luck finding it. Some had glimpses of it walking on the ground.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus) – One paid us a brief visit in the forest on Tobago.
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) – At the ant swarm, two birds showed themselves nicely. This species has a dark malar stripe, which is a useful field mark for a dingy bird.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans)
STRAIGHT-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Dendroplex picus) – Both near the fishing jetty and at Caroni Swamp. A striking woodcreeper with buffy stripes on its head and chest and a pale, straight bill of course.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans) – One dangled from the vegetation overhanging the trail at Aripo Savannah
YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus)
PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens)
STRIPE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis cinnamomea) – Even local guide Gladwyn was thrilled to find a pair at their nest at the Main Ridge Forest Reserve. [N]
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii)
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus) – A few folks got on it at one of our stops along Blanchisseuse Road on the second day.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – Seen briefly by some on our first walk in the forest at Asa Wright.

When participants Cathy and Gregg told Lena about a fledgling Bananaquit nearby, she rushed off to get her camera and was lucky to capture this parent coming in to feed its baby a stream of sugar water.

YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris) – A bird much more frequently heard than seen, but we caught up to it eventually at the Aripo Savannah.
BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus)
EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri)
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – Seen perched up in a snag near the scatter station’s radio tower on the second day. Its dark “vest” was clearly showing.
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus)
FUSCOUS FLYCATCHER (Cnemotriccus fuscatus) – Some saw this little brown fellow on the grounds of Blue Waters Inn.
PIED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola pica) – We had at least half a dozen of these sharp-looking flycatchers at the livestock station, along with a couple of newly-fledged youngsters who were sitting huddled up against one another
WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala) – Just a couple at the livestock station. All black with a white face and slight crest.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – Never did lay eyes on it but heard it on three different days. [*]
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – Common on Tobago, especially on the island of Little Tobago.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Great looks at a couple along Blanchisseuse Road. That stocky bill is sizeable indeed.
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus) – One briefly along Blanchisseuse Road.

Winding our way through the coconut palms on the Manzanilla to Mayaro Road -- these palms were great for Common Black-Hawks and Savanna Hawks. (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – At Morne La Croix we saw these brood parasites investigating caciques' nests, with the intention of eventually dumping their eggs in there, of course.
SULPHURY FLYCATCHER (Tyrannopsis sulphurea) – This species prefers moriche palms and was therefore seen only on the first day, at Waller Field. It resembles the Tropical Kingbird but has a shorter bill and tail, darker gray head, and a different call. The tail also lacks the deep notch characteristic of the TK’s tail.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
GRAY KINGBIRD (Tyrannus dominicensis)
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
BEARDED BELLBIRD (Procnias averano) – An unforgettable bird of the tour. Heard every single day at Asa Wright, often also giving us great looks through the scope. This bird aptly demonstrated that light travels one million times faster than sound: we always saw the male’s mouth opening a few seconds before we heard the “bonk!”
Pipridae (Manakins)
BLUE-BACKED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia pareola) – Eventually we all got great looks at the Main Ridge Forest Reserve at the pretty males with their bright blue backs and red caps.
GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala)
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

Zolani (a.k.a. “Z”), our guide on Little Tobago, got this great image of a nesting Audubon’s Shearwater with his phone and was kind enough to share it with us. (Photo by local guide Zolani)

WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) – A very cooperative male landed in the branches directly over us at Aripo Savannah, showing off those white wing bars for which he is known.
Vireonidae (Vireos)
RED-EYED VIREO (MIGRATORY CHIVI) (Vireo olivaceus chivi) – This subspecies breeds in South America, has a simpler song, and is larger than “our” vireos back home, making taxonomists suspect that it may actually be a different species. More investigation is needed.
SCRUB GREENLET (Hylophilus flavipes) – Seen well by the group who went on the optional morning birdwalk at Blue Water Inn. Nice spotting, Greg.
GOLDEN-FRONTED GREENLET (Hylophilus aurantiifrons)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) – Sings all day but tough to see!
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)
CARIBBEAN MARTIN (Progne dominicensis) – Found only on Tobago, while Gray-breasted is a Trinidad-only bird.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)
WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer)
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus) – This warm-colored skulker with a black-and-white stripy face was seen well on our last day at Asa Wright.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

We admired this female Black-throated Mango’s nest-building skills; she very deftly wove together numerous tiny “puzzle pieces” of lichen with spider webs. (Photo by guide Eric Hynes)

LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – Sometimes it would work the bushes behind the feeders at Asa Wright, capturing insects with its toothpick-like bill.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
YELLOW-LEGGED THRUSH (Turdus flavipes) – Only in the forest on Tobago.
COCOA THRUSH (Turdus fumigatus)
SPECTACLED THRUSH (Turdus nudigenis)
WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (Turdus albicollis)
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)
MASKED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis aequinoctialis) – It boldly popped to the top of a bush at Aripo Savannah, giving all good looks.
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – We watched a female flitting among the leaves at Main Ridge Forest Reserve. Soon she will be on her way to the Northeast to breed.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – Much brighter blue and yellow than the Northern Parula.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus) – A couple of individuals paid us a visit along Blanchisseuse Road.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
MASKED CARDINAL (Paroaria nigrogenis) – An immature male with a splotchy red-and-white head came in to see us off shortly after we boarded our boat at Caroni Swamp.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus)
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo)
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)
TURQUOISE TANAGER (Tangara mexicana) – These tanagers preferred to feed on little fruits in the trees around the feeders at Asa Wright.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola)
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus) – Abundant at the Asa Wright feeders. We particularly liked seeing the immature males who were blotchy green-and-purple all over. Very pretty.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)
BICOLORED CONEBILL (Conirostrum bicolor) – Brief looks at several pale blue males at Caroni Swamp.
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola) – A few females and a couple bright yellow males were on the grounds of our lunch stop at Carli Bay, where Gregg and Cathy treated us to some delicious, fresh watermelon. Later on, those in Charran's van saw a dozen feeding in the grass by the side of the road.
GRASSLAND YELLOW-FINCH (Sicalis luteola) – They were tricky at first, never staying up in the grasses long enough at the livestock station. Fortunately their shyness wore off as the day went on, and we had great looks of a couple perching and feeding near us, by the road.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – The local name for this species is “Johnny Jump-up” because the male makes many little jumps while he is displaying.

Turquoise Tanagers loved the little fruits in the trees above the feeders at Asa Wright Nature Center. (Photo by guide Eric Hynes)

RUDDY-BREASTED SEEDEATER (Sporophila minuta) – According to locals, this species has been decreasing in numbers each year due to habitat loss, so it was nice to see half a dozen or so at the livestock station.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Ahh, the ever-present BQ…
SOOTY GRASSQUIT (Tiaris fuliginosus) – No matter how hard we worked to see him, this little bird kept being evasive, so not all of us got decent looks.
BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris bicolor) – Seen shortly after our arrival on Tobago, perching in the grasses or on fences by the side of the road. The dark olive male looks like his entire front end was dipped into charcoal.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – Saltators get their name from the Latin “saltator,” which means “leaper” or “jumper”. I’ve never thought them to be particularly jumpy, though. They should have named the grassquit “Blue-black Saltator” instead.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
RED-CROWNED ANT-TANAGER (Habia rubica) – At least a couple were attending the army ant swarm along Blanchisseuse Road, calling harshly.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-BREASTED BLACKBIRD (Sturnella militaris) – A beauty of the grasslands, it was a common species at the livestock station.
CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris)
YELLOW-HOODED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus icterocephalus) – We had a flock of about a dozen birds at Nariva Swamp. They were shy, though, never perching up for more than a few seconds.

A gorgeous sunrise over Little Tobago feels like the perfect way to end a day… and a triplist. (Photo by participant Gregg Recer)

SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – This large cowbird is a particular specialist in parasitizing oropendola nests.
EPAULET ORIOLE (MORICHE) (Icterus cayanensis chrysocephalus) – The Moriche Oriole was once considered a distinct species but is now placed as a subspecies. A resident in moriche palms only and therefore sometimes tricky to find. We were lucky to see one well on the first day.
YELLOW ORIOLE (Icterus nigrogularis) [N]
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus) [N]
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)
TRINIDAD EUPHONIA (Euphonia trinitatis) – What a challenging little bird! We heard its melancholy, two-part whistle on our first two days, and it wasn’t until day four that we briefly saw a male and female at a stop along Blanchisseuse Road. The male of this species has a black throat, unlike the Violaceous, whose throat is completely yellow.
VIOLACEOUS EUPHONIA (Euphonia violacea)

COMMON OPOSSUM (Didelphis marsupialis) – Also known as the Black-eared Opossum. Eric spotted him on our night drive through the livestock research station.
GREATER WHITE-LINED BAT (Saccopteryx bilineata) – Hanging down from the window screen at the abandoned building at Arena Forest.
SILKY ANTEATER (Cyclopes didactylus) – Curled up and sleeping in a tall mangrove tree at Caroni Swamp.
NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO (Dasypus novemcinctus) – Seen by some on the night walk at Asa Wright.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis)
RED-RUMPED AGOUTI (Dasyprocta agouti)



Tree Boa (Corallus ruschenbergerii ) -- A.k.a. Cascabel Dormillion; seen curled up in a mangrove at Caroni Swamp

Giant Ameiva (Ameiva ameiva)

Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus)

Gold Tegu (Tupinambis teguixin)

Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)

Common House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus)

Totals for the tour: 231 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa