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Field Guides Tour Report
Trinidad & Tobago I
Feb 11, 2017 to Feb 20, 2017
Tom Johnson with Mahase Ramlal & Gladwyn James

An adult White-tailed Tropicbird, rare in T&T, greeted us at the overlook on Little Tobago Island and circled with Red-billed Tropicbirds in front of us in beautiful light. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

This running of our always popular T&T tour was notable for a great combination of weather, excellent birding, and a very fun group. We started off with six nights at the famous Asa Wright Nature Centre (henceforth AWNC) in Trinidad's Arima Valley. Here we enjoyed the hummingbirds and tanagers from the veranda (Tufted Coquette and Purple Honeycreeper, anyone?) and took advantage of the great trails (Bearded Bellbird, fruiting fig trees full of manakins and Bay-headed Tanagers) and the excellent sky-watching conditions (Black Hawk-Eagle, Gray-headed Kite, several species of swifts). It was relaxing to come back to the same lodge each night after days afield on the montane Blanchisseuse Road and the lowlands of Nariva Swamp, the Aripo Savannah, and the coastal flats of Waterloo and Caroni.

Some particular highlight species on Trinidad were Epaulet (Moriche) Oriole at Waller Field, two Little Cuckoos, White-shouldered Tanager, calling Spectacled Owl at AWNC, and a Franklin's Gull at Orange Valley.

Our final two-and-a-half days were spent on the smaller island of Tobago with its beautiful beach scenes and general Caribbean atmosphere. In the wetlands of the island's SW corner, we found Mangrove Cuckoos, White-cheeked Pintail, a cooperative Wilson's Snipe, and a vagrant Gray Heron from the Old World to compare with the more familiar Great Blue Heron. From our base at the island's eastern tip at Blue Waters Inn, we journeyed up into the Main Ridge Forest Preserve to see Blue-backed Manakins, Collared Trogons, Red-legged Honeycreepers, and the very localized White-tailed Sabrewing (great scope views!). A ride on a glass-bottomed boat from our hotel to Little Tobago Island allowed us to see a vagrant Scaly-naped Pigeon (now resident here in small numbers), Peregrine Falcons, and a fantastic seabird colony that included Red-footed and Brown boobies, sharply appointed Red-billed Tropicbirds, and, amazingly, a locally rare White-tailed Tropicbird that made several close passes in front of us.

Thanks go to Mahase Ramlal (Trinidad) and Gladwyn James (Tobago) for their expertise, guiding skill, excellent driving, and friendship. Finally, I'd really like to commend the entire group -- this includes both those on the left side of the bus and the right -- for making this a smooth and fun birding tour. I hope to see you out in the field (maybe in Wisconsin or Cape May) again sometime soon!


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)
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) – We heard the whistles of this secretive forest bird a few times at AWNC and at Waller Field. [*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors) – Seven were at the edge of Caroni Swamp with the big flock of Black-necked Stilts.

This Venezulean Flycatcher took a long, hard look at us before heading off into the forest of Tobago's Main Ridge. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL (Anas bahamensis) – Two of these fine Caribbean ducks were swimming in a ditch at Bon Accord, Tobago.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
RUFOUS-VENTED CHACHALACA (Ortalis ruficauda) – Fairly common on Tobago.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus) – Three were at Bon Accord, Tobago.
Phaethontidae (Tropicbirds)
WHITE-TAILED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon lepturus) – Woah! A gorgeous adult circled around with Red-billed Tropicbirds above a hidden nest site on Little Tobago Island. The species is quite rare in the country, but one pair seems to be making a nesting attempt this winter.
RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon aethereus) – These stunning seabirds flew by us at close range at the overlook on Little Tobago Island.
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – Fairly common on both coasts of Trinidad and also on Tobago.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
BROWN BOOBY (Sula leucogaster) – Good scope views from Little Tobago Island.
RED-FOOTED BOOBY (Sula sula) – This is the common booby on Little Tobago Island, where several different color morph combinations breed together in the same colonies.

A White-headed Marsh-Tyrant lived up to its name in the marshy roadside ditches of Nariva Swamp. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Good views of these small, widespread cormorants in freshwater and coastal wetlands.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – Fairly common at freshwater wetlands on both islands.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis) – Common along the coastlines.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – A few were on Trinidad, and we had the interesting opportunity to compare one with a vagrant Gray Heron at Bon Accord, Tobago.
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – This Eurasian vagrant with the short legs and white "pants" was a stunning highlight at Bon Accord, Tobago. Even better was the opportunity to compare it with the longer-legged, rust-tinged Great Blue Heron at the same site.
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi) – This South American beast posed nicely for us at the mouth of the Nariva River.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Fairly common on both islands.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Large flocks arrived at the roost at Caroni Swamp with the Scarlet Ibis.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – Common, with many seen around Caroni Swamp.
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – Large flocks were seen in flight at Caroni Swamp as they headed to roost.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Common on both islands.

Showing a remarkable tail pattern, this Yellow-rumped Cacique was flying away from its nesting colony in northern Trinidad. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – Several were seen nicely on Tobago. One even caught a small ameiva along the driveway to Blue Waters Inn on Tobago.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Several were along the road at Nariva Swamp on Trinidad.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – One was along the shore of the big lake at Tobago Plantations.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – Good views of these crab-eaters on Tobago.
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – Mahase and Darren put us onto a day-roosting bird in Caroni Swamp. This is a tough bird to see in the country and a real highlight, even if the views were challenging. It's sort of like a night-heron with a shovel strapped on to its face!
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
SCARLET IBIS (Eudocimus ruber) – These magnificent red waders put on an amazing show as they flew in to roost early at the Caroni Swamp on Trinidad. We watched waves of hundreds arrive on the roosting island and settle in for the evening. The single bird that walked around at fairly close range earlier in the day at Brickfield was pretty neat too, but it was definitely overshadowed by the roost flight experience.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Very common and widespread on Trinidad.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Fairly common on Trinidad.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Seen on the last four days of the trip along the coasts on Trinidad and also on Tobago.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii) – Mahase was kind enough to show us a bird sitting on a nest in the Aripo Savannah area.

Early in the tour, we found this beautiful White Hawk perched alongside the road in the Arima Valley. What a stunner! Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis) – One circled above us as we watched a fruiting fig tree at AWNC on our first day.
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) – Just a couple of us caught the fine adult that circled over, whistling, at AWNC.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus) – One zoomed over heading down the valley early one morning at AWNC, but only a few saw it.
LONG-WINGED HARRIER (Circus buffoni) – Two birds coursed over the rice fields at great distance to the east of Caroni Swamp.
COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus) – Common in the forests of Trinidad's Northern Range.
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – Several of these peachy, long-legged raptors were seen nicely in open habitats on Trinidad.
GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga) – A pair soared past us on the Main Ridge of Tobago.
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – Excellent views on our first days in the Arima Valley of Trinidad. One even perched below eye level along the Blanchisseuse Road for an interesting perspective on this handsome hawk.
GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus) – A few adults sat up for us on Trinidad.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – Fairly common in forest on both islands.
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – A few circled over us on Trinidad. One in particular kited above and then plunged into the canopy of a tree on the Blanchisseuse Road, coming out with a Blue-gray Tanager in its talons and the tanager's mate in hot pursuit.
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – Two passed overhead during our day on the Blanchisseuse Road.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
MANGROVE RAIL (ATLANTIC) (Rallus longirostris pelodramus) – We heard at least one at Orange Valley, Trinidad. This species used to be considered part of Clapper Rail. [*]

A female White-tailed Nightjar sat on her two eggs while we watched from a short distance away on an abandoned airfield. It was magical to see the cryptic plumage of this bird up close. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus) – Though these loud "donkey birds" called back from the mangroves on Trinidad, we couldn't entice them out for views this time. [*]
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus) – Great views, especially at the Trincity Sewage Ponds and at Bon Accord.
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata) – Fairly common, especially in freshwater on Tobago.
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) – One flew past us at Nariva Swamp.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – A surprisingly large flock of 46 showed off along the edge of Caroni Swamp.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – Several stalked the flats at Brickfield.
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – Common on both islands in open areas.
WILSON'S PLOVER (Charadrius wilsonia) – A couple of these stout-billed hunters ran around on the mud at Brickfield.
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) – Fairly common at Brickfield.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana) – Common in freshwater wetlands on both islands.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – Seen at Brickfield and also along a canal at Bon Accord.

This Scrub Greenlet sang his car alarm song from the edge of a neighborhood at Bon Accord, Tobago. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – Common along the coasts, including at our hotel on Tobago.
RED KNOT (Calidris canutus) – A flock of perhaps 15 hunkered down in the distance on flats south of Brickfield.
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER (Calidris pusilla) – These small, stubby-billed shorebirds mixed with the longer-billed Western Sandpipers at Brickfield.
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri) – We found these mixed with Semipalmated Sandpipers at Brickfield.
WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata) – One sat out in the open on two different occasions for us near Bon Accord, Tobago.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – Fairly common on both islands, especially at Caroni Swamp.
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) – Excellent views at Bon Accord, Tobago.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – The driving route near Bon Accord, Tobago yielded excellent comparisons of the two yellowlegs.
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata) – The Willets that we saw at Brickfield appeared to be the lanky "Western" subspecies that *might* be split from the Eastern subspecies in summer 2017 by the AOU. A compelling LSU-based genetics study is the basis for this possible split.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) – Nice studies of this species along with Greater Yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpiper at Bon Accord.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla) – Common along the coasts, especially at Brickfield where there were hundreds.
FRANKLIN'S GULL (Leucophaeus pipixcan) – One immature bird flew around and landed in the large Laughing Gull flock at Brickfield, Trinidad. The species is rare but regular in the country.

Here's one of the big flocks of Scarlet Ibis coming in to their roost in Caroni Swamp. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (GRAELLSII) (Larus fuscus graellsii) – Seven of these European migrant gulls were mixed with Laughing Gulls and terns on the flats at Brickfield.
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus) – Fairly common along the coasts of both islands.
BLACK SKIMMER (CINERASCENS) (Rynchops niger cinerascens) – Roughly 60 were on the flats at Brickfield.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Common in urban areas. [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Fairly common in semi-open areas, especially on Tobago where we had some nice views on utility wires.
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – Excellent views in the scope from the AWNC veranda. We also saw a pair mating near Morne Lacroix.
SCALY-NAPED PIGEON (Patagioenas squamosa) – One of these West Indian invaders showed very nicely for us in the scope on Little Tobago Island. The species is quite rare in T&T, though a few have made it to the northeastern corner of Tobago in recent years.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – Common.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – Fairly common in lowlands, especially on Tobago.
GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla) – Heard more often than seen on Trinidad, though we did have a few on the Blanchisseuse Road ahead of the van a few times.
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata) – Common on Tobago. We also saw a few pairs zip over in the Caroni Swamp area of Trinidad.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – Common in open lowlands.
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) – We scoped one singing bird on Mexico Road near Arima. It kept raising and lowering its expressive crest as we watched - neat!

This young Franklin's Gull offered us a challenge - after it flew up and then landed again, it simply melted away into the big Laughing Gull flock on Trinidad's West Coast. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

LITTLE CUCKOO (Coccycua minuta) – We were very fortunate to see this scarce-on-Trinidad cuckoo on two occasions. The first was in the mangroves near the mouth of the Nariva River, and the second was along an abandoned road at Waller Field.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – A few paraded around noisily in the trees outside the veranda at AWNC.
MANGROVE CUCKOO (Coccyzus minor) – A real scarcity on our tours here - we found TWO of these fine cuckoos at Bon Accord, Tobago.
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – One showed at a distance of about fifteen feet in the evening at Waller Field.
SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata) – We heard the haunting, deep chuckles of this large owl downhill from AWNC a few times at night. [*]
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – Though we pursued this tooter doggedly, we didn't lay eyes on it this time. [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – Close, wonderful views during our nocturnal outing at Waller Field.
WHITE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis cayennensis) – We had some nice flight views in the spotlight, but the highlight experience was the nest with two eggs that we found at night. We visited again during the daylight hours to see the beautifully camouflaged female incubating on the runway at Waller Field.
Steatornithidae (Oilbird)
OILBIRD (Steatornis caripensis) – At least 25 of these amazing, otherworldly beasts were visible when we peered into the deep gorge below AWNC. The opportunity to see these huge, palm fruit-eating birds at close range and to hear their raspy calls was simply breathtaking.
Apodidae (Swifts)
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila) – Several of these medium-large swifts circled over us at AWNC in the mornings, showing off a bit of the color on their necks.
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura) – A few circled over at Waller Field and a bigger flock was at Bon Accord, Tobago.

Green-rumped Parrotlets posed nicely in the sunshine along Mexico Road. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus) – These small forest swifts zoomed over above AWNC on several occasions, showing the narrow, bright white rump strap.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris) – We saw these forest swifts over AWNC and again on Tobago.
FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata) – Excellent studies at close range at Waller Field.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – This was a very common hummingbird at AWNC, often dominating the feeders at the veranda.
RUFOUS-BREASTED HERMIT (Glaucis hirsutus) – Especially early in the morning and late in the evening, we saw these hermits sneak in to flowers at the AWNC veranda. Gladwyn found a few nests to share with us along Gilpin Trace on Tobago, too.
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) – A regular sight at AWNC, especially since one built a nest on a light-supporting chain INSIDE the inner porch of the Main House at AWNC! Wow!
LITTLE HERMIT (Phaethornis longuemareus) – A fairly regular sight at small flowers along the trails and roads of the Northern Range of Trinidad, though they did not attend the feeders.
WHITE-TAILED GOLDENTHROAT (Polytmus guainumbi) – One showed very briefly along a weedy edge at Nariva Swamp.
RUBY-TOPAZ HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysolampis mosquitus) – Excellent views of both males and females at Nariva Swamp, AWNC, and on Tobago.
GREEN-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax viridigula) – Several perched up on conspicuous branches above the mangrove-lined channels at Caroni Swamp.
BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – Fairly common on both islands.
TUFTED COQUETTE (Lophornis ornatus) – These small delights were a near-constant presence in the small flowers below the veranda at AWNC. What an excellent bird!
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris) – These sentinels were occasional visitors to the feeders at AWNC, but we also saw them perched atop isolated trees on several occasions.

Our time in the grassland and savannah habitats of Waller Field led us to the sweet song of the Masked Yellowthroat. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes notata) – It took a bit of waiting, but we eventually all saw the blue on the chin of the male that liked to sit right below us at the AWNC veranda.
WHITE-TAILED SABREWING (Campylopterus ensipennis) – This large, scarce hummingbird is perhaps best seen on Tobago's Main Ridge, and we saw it VERY well. A male sang and flared his wings and tail in the scope along the Gilpin Trace.
WHITE-CHESTED EMERALD (Amazilia brevirostris) – Common at the AWNC feeders.
COPPER-RUMPED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tobaci) – Another common small hummingbird of AWNC, and we saw more on Tobago, too.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis) – We had a few excellent sightings of this largest of Trinidad's trogons in the Northern Range.
GUIANAN TROGON (Trogon violaceus) – A common voice in Trinidad's Northern Range, though it took us a while to get a good scope views of this small trogon along the Blanchisseuse Road.
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) – Great studies of this red-bellied trogon in the forests of both islands.
Momotidae (Motmots)
TRINIDAD MOTMOT (Momotus bahamensis) – Very common in the forests of Tobago, where we had some excellent experiences with them. We only had glimpses on Trinidad this time. [E]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – A few quick sightings at the Nariva River and also in Caroni Swamp on Trinidad.
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – One was seen briefly as it flew away from us along the mouth of the Nariva River.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – A few posed near Brasso Seco on Trinidad; several more were along the road across the Main Ridge on Tobago.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus) – Excellent views of these handsome toucans at AWNC and especially in the fruiting trema trees at Morne Lacroix.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus) – Fairly common on Tobago - one of the first birds we saw after meeting Gladwyn.

Red-bellied Macaws narrowly avoided a mid-air collision above the moriche palm swamp at Waller Field, Trinidad. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis kirkii) – A pair showed fairly well off the Blanchisseuse Road on Trinidad near the Chestnut Woodpeckers.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – Fairly common and widespread on both islands; great views at AWNC especially.
CHESTNUT WOODPECKER (Celeus elegans) – A pair of these fine woodpeckers responded close to the Blanchisseuse Road, but they didn't stick around for long.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – A regular sight on Trinidad. In particular, three put on a real show above the driveway at AWNC.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima) – Regularly seen in the lowlands on both islands.
MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – One perched up for us along Mexico Road, and another flew over at Caroni Swamp.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – Good views overhead at Blue Waters Inn and also on Little Tobago Island.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
LILAC-TAILED PARROTLET (Touit batavicus) – These little rascals don't seem to sit still, but we did see a few pretty well (for this species, anyway) in flight in Trinidad's Northern Range.

The excellent camouflage of this Wilson's Snipe was wasted on its out-in-the-open hiding spot at Bon Accord. We certainly didn't mind the opportunity to study this normally secretive bird. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus) – After some good flyovers, we were even more pleased to see a pair sitting up in a dead tree along the Blanchisseuse Road - great views!
YELLOW-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona ochrocephala) – Mahase picked out one of these scarce parrots in the late afternoon at Nariva Swamp.
ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica) – This was the common parrot on both islands - excellent views from the AWNC veranda.
GREEN-RUMPED PARROTLET (Forpus passerinus) – Common in the lowlands on both islands, but the close birds at Mexico Road on Trinidad were particularly nice!
RED-BELLIED MACAW (Orthopsittaca manilatus) – These uncommon parrots gathered in a big flock of 200+ individuals in the moriche palms at Waller Field in the late afternoon. What a racket they made!
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – A few played hide and seek on the AWNC grounds.
BLACK-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus canadensis) – This striking antshrike showed well at the mouth of the Nariva River and also at Waller Field.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – Fairly common, with great, close looks at AWNC and near the Blue Waters Inn on Tobago, too.
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis) – A pair foraged in dead leaves across the ravine from us on Gilpin Trace in Tobago.
WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula axillaris) – A few of these small forest birds popped out for some views in the subcanopy along the Blanchisseuse Road below AWNC.

This Blue-backed Manakin made us gasp in the forest of the Main Ridge on Tobago. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (Formicivora grisea) – These small antbirds were very showy in the scrub near the Blue Waters Inn on Tobago.
WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza longipes) – We only heard the loud cascade of notes from this understory antbird on Trinidad. [*]
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis) – This "gallito", or little rooster, strolled around on the forest floor and called on Trinidad, but he managed to stay out of sight from us. [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
GRAY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus albigularis) – On the Blanchisseuse Road on Trinidad, one called, sang, posed... and then returned to tossing leaves! We heard another on the Main Ridge of Tobago.
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus) – We just heard this small woodcreeper on the Main Ridge of Tobago this time. [*]
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) – A few were oblivious to us as they attended a small swarm of army ants on the Oilbird trail below AWNC.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) – A few of these large, nicely marked woodcreepers posed at close range in the lower Arima Valley below AWNC.
STRAIGHT-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Dendroplex picus) – This mangrove specialist was caught in the act as it whacked a small crab against a tree trunk to remove the legs. Then, we watched as it woofed the crab down. A short while later, this lovely woodcreeper presented another crab to a second woodcreeper nearby. How romantic!
YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus) – A few zipped around roadside ditches at Nariva Swamp and the Trincity Sewage Ponds.

Fork-tailed Palm-Swifts typically fly with their tails held shut, but this one opened its fork up a bit as it banked over the Trinidad lowlands. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens) – One offered brief views at Morne Lacroix on Trinidad.
STRIPE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis cinnamomea) – We had to "keep going" until we found one, but eventually, our efforts along Gilpin Trace on Tobago were fruitful. "Keep going" is what the call of this skulker sounds like.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma obsoletum) – Reasonably common on Trinidad, though we only had a few good sightings above the road in the lower Arima Valley.
FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii) – We heard this small flycatcher below AWNC but didn't get eyes on it this time. [*]
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – Common and widespread in the lowlands. We had some excellent views just outside our hotel on Tobago.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus) – Common and very fond of Trema fruit. This was one of the wing-flipping flycatchers that we saw.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – Another wing-flipper - this one had the nice gray helmet and was nesting under an overhanging bank along a road cut on the Blanchisseuse Road on Trinidad.
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) – One popped in quickly to a fruiting fig tree at AWNC for some poor views.
YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris) – Common on both islands, but our best views were at Waller Field and at the Blue Waters Inn.

One of the most memorable natural history moments of the trip was when we saw this Straight-billed Woodcreeper munching away on a crab in the mangrove forest of Caroni Swamp. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus) – This small, streaky flycatcher is a scrubland specialist, and we found it on Mexico Road on Trinidad.
EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri) – A pair of these unassuming little flycatchers called and foraged near a small bamboo patch below the AWNC veranda. Excellent studies of a drab flycatcher!
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – Several wintering birds perched up and hunted from exposed snags during our visit.
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus) – A few were along the Blanchisseuse Road in Trinidad's Northern Range.
FUSCOUS FLYCATCHER (Cnemotriccus fuscatus) – Poor views along the Gilpin Trace on Tobago, though we heard it well.
PIED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola pica) – This black and white flycatcher was along the water's edge at Caroni and Nariva Swamps.
WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala) – Especially excellent views next to the van in Nariva Swamp, where one foraged in the open from about fifteen feet away from us.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – Not very vocal on this visit, but we did hear one start its engines down below the AWNC veranda on one morning.
VENEZUELAN FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus venezuelensis) – A highlight of our Gilpin Trace walk on Tobago - these inquisitive Myiarchus flycatchers flew in and stared down at us. Then they inspected a potential nesting cavity!
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – Several of these big, stout-billed flycatchers were seen between Carli Bay on Trinidad and Little Tobago Island.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Common on Trinidad.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Good views of this kiskadee cousin - the calls, bill shape, head pattern, and olive-brown upperparts helped us to keep these two species straight.

A vagrant Gray Heron at Bon Accord was an excellent Old World rarity -- here it shows off its white thighs and relatively short-legged appearance (I know, the legs are still pretty long!). The ponds at Bon Accord have produced several Eurasian rarities for us on recent trips including Eurasian Wigeon and Little Egret. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus) – The one that Gladwyn pointed out on the Main Ridge of Tobago was our best view of the trip.
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – These small, masked flycatchers were back in force on Trinidad, calling away from the tops of trees in the Northern Range.
SULPHURY FLYCATCHER (Tyrannopsis sulphurea) – These palm specialists were near the Red-bellied Macaws and Epaulet Orioles at Waller Field on Trinidad.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Abundant.
GRAY KINGBIRD (Tyrannus dominicensis) – Plenty were in the lowlands on both islands.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
BEARDED BELLBIRD (Procnias averano) – These weird cotingas were conspicuous by sound near AWNC, and we had some good views in the scope. This is one of Trinidad's iconic birds.
Pipridae (Manakins)
BLUE-BACKED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia pareola) – A stunning male posed below eye-level along the trail at Gilpin Trace. The combination of colors was really mind-blowing!
WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN (Manacus manacus) – The fruiting tree below the AWNC veranda hosted a mixed flock of manakins, including several nice male White-beardeds.
GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala) – These were actually common in fruiting fig trees in Trinidad's Northern Range on this visit - it is not always so! Great looks at these strange fruit-eaters.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (NORTHERN) (Cyclarhis gujanensis flavipectus) – Carli Bay came through for us again - while we heard these awesome vireos all over Trinidad, we needed some shorter, open-canopy trees in which to actually spot one.
SCRUB GREENLET (Hylophilus flavipes insularis) – This vireo that looks like a large-billed, brownish Warbling Vireo is rather common around Tobago. Excellent views at Bon Accord and the Blue Waters Inn.

We had a few neat encounters with the rusty Little Cuckoo on Trinidad, a bird that can be quite hard to find at times in this country. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

GOLDEN-FRONTED GREENLET (Pachysylvia aurantiifrons saturata) – A few showed up overhead along the Blanchisseuse Road on Trinidad.
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus) – A common voice on Tobago at this time of year, though we didn't see them.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – This buff-rumped swallow was a regular sight in forest openings on Trinidad.
CARIBBEAN MARTIN (Progne dominicensis) – A few circled overhead at various points on Tobago.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – While Caribbean Martins make it to Tobago, Gray-breasted is the species found on Trinidad. Common at some places in the Northern Range and at some spots in the lowlands, too.
WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer) – Fairly common over fresh water on both islands.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Eight were flying around the Bon Accord ponds on Tobago on our first visit there.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – Common on both islands.
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus rutilus) – This cheery-voiced wren was tough to see, but we eventually squeaked out some views. Rutilus is the subspecies that we saw near AWNC on Trinidad.
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus tobagensis) – We had an easier time seeing the Tobago subspecies of this wren, with some good long looks along the trail at Gilpin Trace.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – This buffy skulker with the spear-like bill and tail was actually pretty cooperative on this trip, with good sightings on the upper Blanchisseuse Road and on Mexico Road.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
YELLOW-LEGGED THRUSH (Turdus flavipes xanthoscelus) – One perched briefly for a few of us along the Gilpin Trace on Tobago.
COCOA THRUSH (Turdus fumigatus) – Common on Trinidad.

Our looks at this Gray-throated Leaftosser were much better than this photo might suggest -- we were even fortunate enough to see it tossing leaves around on the dark forest floor. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

SPECTACLED THRUSH (Turdus nudigenis) – Fairly common on Trinidad, where its cat-like squeals shadowed us on many of our forest stops.
WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (GRAY-FLANKED) (Turdus albicollis phaeopygoides) – A few popped out of the shadows for us on Trinidad, including at AWNC feeders.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – Common and widespread; seen every day.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – Fairly common, especially at Caroni Swamp where they winter in big numbers in the mangroves.
MASKED YELLOWTHROAT (MASKED) (Geothlypis aequinoctialis aequinoctialis) – A beautiful male sang for us at close range at Waller Field.
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – A few showed briefly in forested patches on Trinidad.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – This little buzzy triller made some solid appearances overhead at AWNC.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – Fairly common along the coast, especially in mangroves.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
MASKED CARDINAL (Paroaria nigrogenis) – Wow! One sat up alongside one of the Caroni Swamp channels, allowing us to ogle it from inside our boat.

We usually don't see Mangrove Cuckoo on this trip, so we were very happy to see two nicely at the forest edge in Bon Accord, Tobago. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus flaviventris) – A single male perched up high in a mostly bare tree on the Blanchisseuse Road and showed off his big white shoulder patch. This species is fairly uncommon here, so this was a lucky sighting.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – Very common, especially at the feeders at AWNC.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo magnirostris) – Common on Trinidad.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (BLUE-GRAY) (Thraupis episcopus nesophila) – Common on Trinidad.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (BLUE-GRAY) (Thraupis episcopus berlepschi) – Several were seen nicely on the Main Ridge of Tobago. This subspecies is slightly brighter blue than the one on Trinidad.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Common on both islands.
SPECKLED TANAGER (Tangara guttata) – Just a few of these dazzling tanagers foraged in a canopy flock in a fruiting tree on the Blanchisseuse Road in Trinidad's Northern Range.
TURQUOISE TANAGER (Tangara mexicana) – Fairly common in fruiting trees in Trinidad on this trip - a striking bird when seen well.

Though it sounded much farther away, this Tropical Screech-Owl stared intently at us from just a few meters off the side of the road. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – Common in fruiting trees on Trinidad.
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana) – A few were in the fruiting trees on Trinidad, especially around AWNC.
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus) – Magical! These just swarm the feeders at AWNC.
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus) – Just a few showed up on the Main Ridge of Tobago, but that was enough for us to see the lovely blue, red, and yellow coloration of a few males.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – Common on Trinidad.
BICOLORED CONEBILL (Conirostrum bicolor) – Brief glimpses and some calls heard in the mangroves at Caroni Swamp.
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola) – A few patchy birds were at Carli Bay, and then we were thrilled by a beautiful yellow-orange one at the Hanuman monkey god statue.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – "Johnny Jump-up" was fairly common in grassy patches.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Everywhere!
SOOTY GRASSQUIT (Tiaris fuliginosus) – One was singing and offered some views in Brasso Seco on Trinidad.
BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris bicolor) – Common on Tobago.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – We saw these stout-billed songbirds at a few spots in Trinidad's Northern Range, including Brasso Seco and Morne Lacroix.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
RED-CROWNED ANT-TANAGER (Habia rubica) – A few "chack"-ed from the understory of the forest on Trinidad and gave us some quick views before they moved off.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Sturnella militaris) – One near the Aripo Livestock Station on Trinidad sang and perched up just high enough for us to see it in the grassy pasture.
CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris) – Common in the lowlands.

A lone Scarlet Ibis fed at close range on the mudflats at Brickfield. Most of the others we saw were in flight. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

YELLOW-HOODED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus icterocephalus) – A flock was waiting for us at the Trincity Sewage Ponds.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – Fairly common, especially around habitated areas of Tobago.
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – Nice views in the scope of this scary, red-eyed beast of a blackbird.
EPAULET ORIOLE (MORICHE) (Icterus cayanensis chrysocephalus) – This shy species is very local on Trinidad, and we were very fortunate to find a pair in the moriche palms of Waller Field. Mahase even showed us the hammock-like nest structure that they'd built under a drooping palm leaf.
YELLOW ORIOLE (Icterus nigrogularis) – We found these attractive orioles at several places in Trinidad, but the bird that was weaving its nest (from the inside!) at AWNC was our collective favorite.
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus cela) – The sight and sound of the colony at Morne Lacroix was awesome!
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus) – These huge, social blackbirds were calling up a storm on both islands, and we got to watch their impressive pendulum display, too!
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
TRINIDAD EUPHONIA (Euphonia trinitatis) – A pair foraged and called above our heads in Brasso Seco.
VIOLACEOUS EUPHONIA (Euphonia violacea) – Very common at the AWNC feeders.

PROBOSCIS BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso) – These were lined up on a tree at Caroni Swamp.
PALLAS'S LONG-TONGUED BAT (Glossophaga soricina) – We found these feeding on the nectar feeders at AWNC at night. They make quite a mess!
GREATER WHITE-LINED BAT (Saccopteryx bilineata) – Also rather common at AWNC, where they roost in some of the roofed porches.
COMMON TENT-MAKING BAT (Uroderma bilobatum) – These very cute bats were tucked up under palm leaves at Waller Field.

The beautiful pattern of this Masked Cardinal helped us to kick off a truly fine boat trip through the Caroni Swamp mangroves. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – Seen several times in the forest.
RED-RUMPED AGOUTI (Dasyprocta agouti) – Common around AWNC and also seen locally at Blue Waters Inn on Tobago.
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana) – Common, especially in lowlands (like Tobago Plantations).
GIANT AMEIVA (Ameiva ameiva) – We saw these long, nicely patterned lizards walking around near AWNC on several occasions.
GOLDEN TEGU (Tupinambis teguixin) – This big lizard was strolling around the AWNC grounds on several occasions.
TREE BOA (Corallus ruschenbergerii) – Two curled up in trees next to each other in the mangroves at Caroni Swamp.
CANE TOAD (Rhinella marina) – Fairly common in the lowlands.


One mammal note - I haven't been able to conclusively identify the bats that we saw inside the building on Little Tobago Island. If I can track down a solid ID based on the photos that we took, I'll update this list on the Field Guides website.

Totals for the tour: 230 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa