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Field Guides Tour Report
Trinidad & Tobago Feb. 2018
Feb 17, 2018 to Feb 26, 2018
Megan Edwards Crewe & Marcelo Barreiros

The male Tufted Coquette is definitely one of the snazzier hummingbirds we see on this tour. Photo by guide Marcelo Barreiros.

The islands of Trinidad and Tobago have long been known to birders and naturalists as a wonderful place to "wet one's feet" in the riches of South America's bird life. For those who've not yet visited the "Bird Continent", the islands offer a satisfying cross-section of neotropical families: motmots, jacamars, trogons, toucans, tinamous, manakins, cotingas, woodcreepers, and ovenbirds. Those exotic species mingle with southern relatives of familiar families, as well as a few winter visitors from "back home". Even those who've traveled widely will find things to enjoy; some species -- such as the bizarre, nocturnal, fruit-eating Oilbird and the rare, rainforest-dwelling White-tailed Sabrewing -- are far more easily found on these islands than elsewhere in their ranges. And as far as repeated up-close and personal encounters with lots and lots of species go, well, nothing beats a morning on the Asa Wright veranda!

Forget about the little brown jobs most of us are used to seeing at our own backyard feeding stations; instead kick back and enjoy Purple and Green honeycreepers (talk about understated names!), Violaceous Euphonias (the males a vision in indigo and bright yellow), rambunctious Bananaquits, Silver-beaked, Blue-gray, Turquoise, and Bay-headed tanagers, blue-eyed Crested Oropendolas, and a blizzard of hummingbirds, many at arm's length. The feeders, and the resulting repeated exposure to the many birds that visit them, really help birders come to grips with many of the locals.

Of course, there's more to the islands than our lodges' feeders, and day trips further afield brought us plenty more to enjoy. Two Oilbirds peered down from their fruit paste ledges, their eyes glowing red in the faint light of Randall's flashlight. A male Bearded Bellbird bonged his cracked bell challenges, his tangle of brown throat wattles wobbling under his chin as he sang. A tiny American Pygmy-Kingfisher rocketed past to land among nearby mangrove roots. Crested Oropendolas somersaulted off tree branches, fluttering their wings and fanning their yellow tails in an attempt to woo the ladies. Red-billed Tropicbirds soared gracefully over Little Tobago -- occasionally menaced by a lurking Magnificent Frigatebird or two. Rufous-tailed Jacamars watched for passing insects from roadside vines. Channel-billed Toucans yelped from treetops. A Masked Cardinal investigated some narrow mangrove twigs, practically climbing into the boat with us. Two pairs of wary White-cheeked Pintails rested on a concrete wall. Two Straight-billed Woodcreepers hitched their way up nearby trunks, followed almost immediately by a trio of Streak-headed Woodcreepers. A busy Bicolored Conebill collected caterpillars from among the mangrove leaves.

Fourteen species of hummingbird -- including several wonderfully frilly male Tufted Coquettes, a pirouetting White-tailed Sabrewing, and lots of bully-boy White-necked Jacobins -- jousted around flowers and feeders. A pair of Trinidad Motmots fluttered from perch to perch, sometimes sitting only a few feet over our heads. A hunting Bat Falcon caught first a bat and then a Palm Tanager, and devoured them both on a dead snag above the Asa Wright veranda. Two Gray-headed Kites circled over the forest, with a Black Hawk-Eagle spiraling even higher above them. A Gray-throated Leaftosser clung to a sandy bank while its mate excavated a nest burrow. Saffron Finches bounced across a grassy lawn. A Scaly-naped Pigeon (a recent arrival to Tobago following Hurricane Ivan) gobbled fruits on Little Tobago. And, of course, who will soon forget the fabulous spectacle of hundreds of brilliantly colored Scarlet Ibis winging across the sky on their way to their roost island?

And, of course, the whole adventure was made even more enjoyable thanks to the lively camaraderie of the group -- I haven't laughed so hard in years. Thanks to all of you for your fine companionship, your excellent spotting, and your sense of fun. Marcelo and I hope to see you all in the field again someday 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

The elegant Red-billed Tropicbird is certainly graceful in flight. On land is another story! Photo by guide Marcelo Barreiros.

Tinamidae (Tinamous)
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) – We were oh-so-close to one at our picnic spot in Waller Field -- in fact a few of us saw it fly across the road as we headed down to where we could hear the Rufous-tailed Jacamars -- but it just wouldn't come in to where we could see it. We sure got a nice serenade though!
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL (Anas bahamensis) – Two pairs rested atop a low concrete wall at the Bon Accord sewage ponds, keeping a wary eye on us as we walked around the property.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
RUFOUS-VENTED CHACHALACA (Ortalis ruficauda) – Regular on Tobago, particularly around the Blue Waters Inn, where they acted as very effective alarm clocks! The soggy birds sitting by the garbage bins -- and the pair foraging on the lawn near our rooms -- gave us particularly nice views. This is Tobago's national bird.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus) – A couple of these -- the world's smallest grebe -- floated and dove on one of the ponds at the Bon Accord sewage works.
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)
AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER (Puffinus lherminieri) – We saw bits of one, tucked into the entrance of a burrow nest on Little Tobago. Zolani told us that researchers estimate there are some 1500 nesting on the island.
Phaethontidae (Tropicbirds)
RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon aethereus) – Scores flapped over the seas around Little Tobago, made repeated (often aborted) attempts to land at their nests on the island, or fled in screaming terror as dive-bombing Magnificent Frigatebirds closed in. We had especially nice views of one on a nest literally right beside the observation platform. [N]
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – Common along the coasts of both islands, with almost ridiculous numbers at the eastern end of Tobago -- we couldn't put our binoculars on the sky near the coast without seeing dozens!
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
BROWN BOOBY (Sula leucogaster) – A few flapped over the sea off Speyside, and others rested or preened on their nests on Little Tobago. We had nice views of the yellowish feet and bill of one perched in a tree on a little offshore islet visible from the observation platform there.
RED-FOOTED BOOBY (Sula sula) – And these were even more common on Little Tobago, with dozens of fluffy chicks panting on their stick nests, and a nice mix of brown and white adults preening or flying past. We saw all three color morphs (white, brown, and brown with white tails), though the brown-with-white-tail variety was by far the most common.

Many of the Brown Pelicans we saw well this year were youngsters. Photo by guide Marcelo Barreiros.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – A few panted on pilings near the Hindu temple at Waterloo, and a couple of others dried their wings in some trees around the edges of a pond at Tobago Plantations. This is the only cormorant seen on the islands.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – Best seen in the western lowlands of Tobago, where we had good views of several drying out in the mangroves, a few soaring overhead (where their distinctively skinny heads and necks, and long, squared off tails made them easy to pick out) and others fishing in the ponds, with only their heads and necks above water.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis) – Dozens. Scores. Hundreds -- particularly along Trinidad's western coast, where we saw vast swarms of them flapping after the fishing boats, or festooning the rigging of said boats. We had others along Tobago's coasts as well.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – A couple of birds stalked the mudflats at Brickfield, looming over most of the other species there. [b]
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi) – A youngster prowled the shallows at Brickfield, occasionally disappearing into the edges of the mangroves.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Regular in the wetlands of Trinidad, with a few on Tobago as well.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Far less common on the islands than the other two egret species, but we did find a handful sprinkled across the mudflats of western Trinidad and another few at Tobago Plantations.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – Abundant in and around Caroni Swamp (including whole groups fleeing from our boat as we motored through channels in the mangroves), with others around the ponds at Bon Accord and Tobago Plantations.
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – Quite common on the mudflats visible from Brickfield, with dozens of others flying low over the waters of Caroni Swamp, headed for the roost island. Unlike their flashy scarlet cousins, these stayed low, disappearing into the greenery right at ground level.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Regular in the open lowlands of both islands, typically hovering around the feet of feeding livestock or stalking through roadside grasses.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – A dozen or so among the various ponds at Bon Accord and Tobago Plantations, including several stalking prey across the floating mats of vegetation at the sewage works. The rufous face and neck of this species helps to separate it from the next.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – A couple among the mangroves of Caroni Swamp, including one perched along the edge of the first channel we floated through. This resident species shows a gray (rather than rufous) face and neck.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – An adult flew back and forth over the pond near the entrance to Tobago Plantations as we waited for Jason to pay our entry fee.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – A few on the mudflats at Orange Valley, with far more sprinkled on other mudflats among the mangroves of Caroni Swamp -- including almost a dozen adults right near the roost island itself.
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – A brown immature bird peered down from its dayroost among the mangroves in the Caroni swamp. The huge shovel-shaped beak and big dark eye of this species quickly separates it from the night-herons with which it often roosts.

A roadside White Hawk was a highlight of our soggy morning along the Blanchisseuse road. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
SCARLET IBIS (Eudocimus ruber) – WOW!! This was the spectacle most of the group was in Trinidad for -- hundreds of brilliantly red birds flashing against the deep green of the mangroves, heading for the roost island. We watched with cake and rum punches in hand as the numbers swelled, dotting the island's mangroves until it looked like a giant, well-decorated Christmas tree.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Almost ridiculously abundant on Trinidad, with hundreds and hundreds swirling in giant kettles just about everywhere we went. The gang eyeing the dead dog at Orange Valley gave us our closest views.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Generally less common than the previous species (except in the forests of the Northern Range), but still seen daily on Trinidad. Like the Black Vulture, this one is absent from Tobago.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Several of these winter visitors along the western coast of Trinidad, including one with an ENORMOUS gar-like fish along one of the channels in Caroni swamp, and one seen by some over the bay at Blue Waters Inn.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii) – Two of these tiny raptors zipped over a scruffy field in the Aripo savanna, then settled into a leafless tree on the far side.
GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis) – A pair circled over the forest at Asa Wright, seen from the Discovery rail as we headed to the manakin leks one morning, and a trio interacted high above the Northern Range on the day we birded the Blanchisseuse road. The combination of pale gray body and black and white striped wings is diagnostic.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus) – A little kettle swirling over the Northern Range (seen from the Blanchisseuse road as we headed out after our lunch at Brasso Seco) was certainly a surprise; this species is a summer visitor that typically doesn't reach the island until April!
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) – We spotted a single bird on a couple of days -- once soaring high above the forest along the Blanchisseuse road (seen from our perch at the road's summit) and another circling over the main building at Asa Wright as we returned from a day's outing. In recent years, this species seems to have become more commonly seen than the Ornate Hawk-Eagle.
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea) – A loose group of four mingled with the ubiquitous Black Vultures in the skies over the Nariva road; they were among the early arrivers of this year's breeders on the island.
LONG-WINGED HARRIER (Circus buffoni) – A dark male floated above the overgrown grassy fields (formerly a sugar cane plantation) as we drove north from Orange Valley -- great spotting, Robin! At one point, he sailed right over the bus, giving us all a nice close look.
COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus) – Common and widespread on Trinidad, including a pair seen rising out of the trees on several mornings at Asa Wright, and others perched among the mangroves in Nariva and Caroni swamps.
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – Surprisingly few of these handsome raptors this time around; we saw one perched among the trees in "Coconut Alley", another in flight (showing the lovely pattern on its underwing) over Nariva Swamp, and a couple of others on wires and fence posts at the Aripo Agricultural Research Station. This species often hunts on the ground -- hence the need for those long legs!
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – Several along the Blanchisseuse road, including one that stayed perched in a tree right beside our vehicles when we stopped to ogle it.

The male Purple Honeycreeper's bright yellow legs contrast nicely with his plumage. Photo by guide Marcelo Barreiros.

GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus) – Including a bird on a nest, keeping a watchful eye (or two!!) on us at Waller Field. [N]
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – Ellen spotted our first, perched along the Blanchisseuse road; birds on Trinidad are migrants from the north, down for the winter. We found another soaring over the rainforest on Tobago; this one was the resident "antillarum".
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – A few at scattered locations across Trinidad; most were the more common light morph (which look a bit like Swainson's Hawks), but at least one was a dark morph.
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – Our first was a flyby from the Asa Wright veranda on our very first morning. We had lovely looks at another right over our heads on a back road near Manzanilla Beach, and a third in flight (among the vultures checking out the dead dog) at Orange Valley.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica) – A handful scrambled across the lily pads and through the reeds in the various ponds at Tobago Plantations, far outnumbered by the next species.
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata) – Very common in the ponds at Bon Accord and Tobago Plantations, including several pairs with fluffy black chicks in tow. [N]
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – A little group strode around the mudflats at Brickfield on their long pink legs.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – A dozen or so flew off across the mudflats at Brickfield, flashing their distinctive black "armpits" as they went. We heard their evocative "hey you" whistles there too. [b]
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – Seen on scattered days, including a few in one of the fields at Nariva, and dozens resting in the shade of the palm trees along the road at Tobago Plantations -- showing more sense than the crazy birders!
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) – A group of these small plovers snoozed in the shade of the mangroves edging the mudflats at Brickfield. [b]
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana) – Common in marshy freshwater areas, with a few dozen tiptoeing across the lily pads and water hyacinth at Nariva swamp, and many others (including a few still-stripey youngsters) doing the same at the Bon Accord sewage works and Tobago Plantations.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – A few mingled with the smaller shorebirds on the mudflats at Brickfield, and another poked and prodded at the crab burrows along a bank in Bon Accord. This is another winter visitor. [b]
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – A group of 25 or so napped at the edge of the mangroves near the Hindu temple at Waterloo, but our best looks came on Tobago, where a gang regularly bathed in the foot-cleaning stations near the entrance to the hotel, or scuttled around under the tables in the bar.
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus) – A group of a half dozen or so flew past as we birded at Brickfield, nicely spotted by Robin. The wedge of white up their backs -- and their mellow "tu tu tu" calls -- helped to identify them. [b]

The ubiquitous Palm Tanager was one of our commonest tanagers, seen in good numbers every day. Photo by guide Marcelo Barreiros.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – The most widespread of the tour's shorebirds, seen in both Nariva and Caroni swamps on Trinidad, and around sewage ponds and puddles on Tobago. None were showing any signs of spots yet.
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) – A couple of birds probed in a shallow channel near one of the houses in Nariva Swamp, but our best views came on Tobago -- particularly at the Bon Accord sewage works, where two rested on a concrete wall with their long legs tucked up underneath them.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – Small numbers poked around on the mudflats at Brickfield and Orange Valley, but our best views came on Tobago, where a mixed flock of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs scurried along the grassy bank of a channel in Bon Accord.
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata) – Very common on the mudflats of Brickfield, with dozens probing for tidbits or flying back and forth along the edge of the mangroves. Their flashy wing pattern made them very easy to pick out.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) – A few poked along the edges of the mangroves at Brickfield, but our best views came in Bon Accord, where a little group high-stepped along the edge of a roadside channel.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla) – A big group rested on the mudflats near the Hindu temple at Waterloo, and others followed the fishing boats we could see offshore from Brickfield. A few of this winter visitors were already starting to show traces of the black heads they'll sport in their breeding plumage. [b]
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (GRAELLSII) (Larus fuscus graellsii) – At least three adults napped on exposed rocks in the bay near Brickfield (occasionally waking up long enough to take a quick look around), giving us the chance to study them in the scopes.
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus) – A single bird on a post offshore at Brickfield was pretty wiggly in the heat haze -- but we could still see that distinctive orange beak.
BLACK SKIMMER (CINERASCENS) (Rynchops niger cinerascens) – Several score rested on the mudflats at Brickfield, or coursed back and forth over the shallow waters nearby. The subspecies seen on Trinidad (cinerascens) is a South American one that migrates NORTH after breeding. [a]
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Abundant (in a wide variety of colors) around cities and towns on both islands. [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Regular on Tobago, with good scope views of several on the grounds of Blue Waters Inn, and another trundling down the middle of the Louis d'Or road.
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – A soggy bird in the bamboo stand just left of the Asa Wright veranda allowed great scope views one rainy afternoon, and we scoped another on a utility wire along the Blanchisseuse road a few days later.
SCALY-NAPED PIGEON (Patagioenas squamosa) – Super views of one gobbling fruits from a tree high on a ridge at Little Tobago. What a handsome bird! This is a relatively new species for the islands, first recorded in 2004, after Hurricane Ivan blew through the Lesser Antilles.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – Abundant in the lowlands of Trinidad (including dozens on the grassy lawns around our picnic tables at Carli Bay), with another little flock wading through the grasses around the ponds at Bon Accord.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – A few seen in the lowlands of Trinidad (mainly around Nariva swamp), but far more common on Tobago, including one in a mangrove at Bon Accord. That blue eye surround is certainly eye-catching!
GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla) – We heard the low "blowing across a soda bottle" song of this species regularly in the forests of the Northern Range, and got nice views of an alert bird sitting on her nest over the entrance road at Asa Wright. [N]

It's not often that Plain-brown Woodcreepers sit still for this long! This one was near the Motmot trail on the Asa Wright property. Video by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata) – Very common in lowland areas of Trinidad, including a little group working through the grass at Bon Accord, and one wandering through the security line at the Tobago airport.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major) – A quartet moved through the mangroves at Orange Valley, working closer and closer to the group. Their huge size -- and white eyes -- help to quickly separate them from the next species.
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – Including a couple of birds drying out on some bare branches near the Yellow-rumped Cacique colony in Brasso Seco. One was in molt, showing a striking difference between its black new feathers and worn brown older feathers.
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) – One sang from a shrub in Nariva Swamp (a fair ways out across the marsh) shortly after we arrived in the area, its crest rising and falling with its song.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – One worked through some trees down the hill from the Asa Wright veranda on our last morning there, giving us repeated opportunities to study it in the scopes. With their long tails and bounding movements, these cuckoos DO look rather like squirrels as they move along the branches.
MANGROVE CUCKOO (Coccyzus minor) – One flitting through the branches right beside the bus windows as we drove slowly through Bon Accord was a big surprise -- they're normally quite the skulkers! We found another bird right in the open near the sewage ponds for an unexpected "two-fer".
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – We figured we'd missed this one when we failed to see it on our Waller Field night drive, but fortunately, Lester's sharp eyes spotted one snoozing along one of the canals on our Caroni Swamp boat trip.
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – Arg! We heard one calling regularly from the forest around the buildings at Asa Wright, but only Lynn and Ellen were lucky enough to actually spot one outside their windows.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – Quite common at Waller Field, including a superb encounter with one near the drag racing track; several times, it landed on the pavement within a few yards of us, nicely illuminated by the very bright overhead lights there (plus Mahase's spotlight, of course).
WHITE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis cayennensis) – One hunting from a horizontal branch about 3 feet off the ground at Waller Field gave us great scope views.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) – One did its best "don't mind me, I'm just a tree branch" (a very SOGGY tree branch) imitation in a tree right over the road to Tobago's Argyle Waterfall. Through the scope, we could even see the tiny notches in its eyelids which allow it to peek out without opening its big yellow eye (which would completely ruin the "tree branch" effect).
Steatornithidae (Oilbird)
OILBIRD (Steatornis caripensis) – Surprisingly, most of the fruit paste nests of this big nocturnal fruit-eater were empty this year, but fortunately, two still snoozed on a ledge right near the entrance to Dunstan cave.
Apodidae (Swifts)
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura) – Our first coursed back and forth over our picnic site at Carli Bay, but our best views came on Tobago -- particularly along the road at Louis d'Or, where we could see not only their distinctively short tails, but also their straw-colored rumps and uppertails as they banked against the lush green hills beyond.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris) – Easily the most common and widespread of the tour's swifts, seen nearly every day.
FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata) – Best seen just before our picnic supper at Waller Field, when a little group of them zoomed back and forth along the road through the Moriche palm grove. The long, pointy tails of this small species are distinctive.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – Very common at Asa Wright, where dozens jousted over the feeders. We saw a "wild" bird (i.e. away from the feeders) along the Blanchisseuse road one morning, and others feeding on flowering trees along Tobago's Roxborough-Bloody Bay road.
RUFOUS-BREASTED HERMIT (Glaucis hirsutus) – One made sporadic visits to the feeders at Asa Wright, but our best views probably came along the Gilpin Trace, where one worked along the edge of the trail for long minutes.
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) – A female had built her (surprisingly long) nest on the chain of a hanging lamp in the Asa Wright lobby, and made several visits with food for her still-pink nestlings. It was rather like watching sword-swallowers at work! [N]
LITTLE HERMIT (Phaethornis longuemareus) – Best seen along the road down to Brasso Seco, when we watched one dance through the orange and yellow flowers along the road edge; we saw others from the Asa Wright veranda. As its name suggests, this is by far the smallest of the hermits we see on this tour.
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae) – Some of the group were lucky enough to be on the veranda when this uncommon local resident made an appearance.
RUBY-TOPAZ HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysolampis mosquitus) – A half dozen or more flitted through some flowering Swamp Immortelle trees along the Louis d'Or road, a reward for descending from Tobago's rainforest after our very wet morning there.
GREEN-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax viridigula) – We found a male perched among the mangroves in Caroni Swamp, thanks to some great spotting by Lester, our boatman. On Trinidad, this species tends to be restricted to the mangroves, where the next is far more widespread.

The handsome male White-necked Jacobin turns out to be a real bully, regularly chasing other birds away from "his" feeders. Photo by guide Marcelo Barreiros.

BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – Regular at the Asa Wright feeders (particularly a couple of aggressive males), with at least three nests found "out and about" in forests on both islands: one above Asa Wright's upper parking lot, one not far from the Oilbird cave, and one on a telephone wire over Tobago's Roxborough-Bloody Bay road. [N]
TUFTED COQUETTE (Lophornis ornatus) – Wow! This one is definitely one of the tour's highlights -- particularly the flashy male! We had many great views in the vervain hedges around the buildings at Asa Wright.
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris) – A regular visitor to the hummingbird feeders at Asa Wright, where it sparred with the Black-throated Mangoes. That blue head was even more eye-catching than the red throat!
BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes notata) – Single birds occasionally visited the flowering ginger bush right below the Asa Wright veranda, allowing us to study them at leisure. Unlike the similar Copper-rumped Hummingbird, this one shows no trace of rusty feathers on its back or rump.
WHITE-TAILED SABREWING (Campylopterus ensipennis) – They don't get much easier than our first one, which we enjoyed from the bus as the rain poured down outside; it repeatedly flashed from its low perch to some nearby flowers for a quick drink before returning to its perch -- showing us all sides and angles in the process! We found others along the Gilpin Trace.
WHITE-CHESTED EMERALD (Amazilia brevirostris) – Quite common around the Asa Wright veranda, often visiting feeders within inches of visitors' heads. They looked somewhat plain compared to some of the other visitors -- until they flashed those sea-green head feathers, that is!
COPPER-RUMPED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tobaci) – Abundant throughout, with many seen very well around the Asa Wright feeders.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis) – Our first was a female along Asa Wright's Discovery trail. We found a male along the Blanchisseuse road the following day.
GUIANAN TROGON (Trogon violaceus) – A pair plucking berries from a fruiting tree near Brasso Seco (perching on roadside wires between berry-hunting forays) gave us great scope views. Some of us saw another along the Discovery trail as we returned from the Bearded Bellbird lek.
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) – We heard them calling in the forests of the Northern Range, but didn't actually lay eyes on one until we reached Tobago. There, we found a nicely cooperative male along the Gilpin Trace.
Momotidae (Motmots)
TRINIDAD MOTMOT (Momotus bahamensis) – We heard one calling softly from the forest along the Asa Wright entrance drive on a pre-breakfast walk (right near the appropriately named Motmot trail). But they really came into their own on Tobago -- particularly at Blue Waters Inn, where we had spectacular looks at a pair hunting on the grounds. [E]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – One hunted from the wires along the road in the Nariva Swamp, and we spotted another along the highway as we headed down the western coast of Trinidad towards Carli Bay.
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – One perched low in the trees along the edge of the entrance pond at Tobago Plantations, distracting us briefly from our search for caimans. This is a winter visitor to the islands. [b]
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – A few of these small kingfishers flashed down the mangrove channels in front of our boat as we motored through the Caroni Swamp, occasionally perching for a few moments before heading off again.

If this Masked Cardinal had been any closer, it would have been sitting on somebody! Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – It took a couple of encounters, but we finally had super looks at one perched right near the edge of the channel, only a few yards from the boat. What a little cutie!
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – Our pre-dinner wander at Waller Field netted us a couple of very cooperative pairs shouting challenges (and catching insects) along the edge of the road. We had some more point-blank birds on our soggy morning along the Roxborough-Bloody Bay road -- conveniently right outside the bus windows, so we didn't even have to get wet!
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus) – A regular pair seen from the Asa Wright veranda most mornings (typically perched up in some dead branches announcing their presence with their distinctive froggy-sounding croaks), with others elsewhere in the Northern Range, and one lurking among the houses on a back road near the Nariva Swamp.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus) – Found only on Tobago, including one territorial bird right near the tennis courts at Blue Waters Inn who eventually gave us great views (when he stopped hiding behind palm trees and finally settled in a leafless tree by the courts).
RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis kirkii) – Our first was a noisy bird in the mangroves just across the road from Bobby's place. We had even better views of another pair in one of the mangrove channels in Caroni Swamp; they swirled all around us, giving us views from just about every conceivable angle.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – Heard regularly around Asa Wright (a short, shrill shriek), and seen on both islands: along the Blanchisseuse Road, where we had fine long looks at an eye-level bird, and on the Roxborough-Bloody Bay road, where we spotted one sticking out of its nest hole. [N]
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – We heard the loud, ringing call of this big woodpecker on several days in the Northern Range (often right from the veranda at Asa Wright), and finally caught up with one along a back road near Nariva Swamp. We spotted the head of another protruding from its nest hole in a telephone pole at Carli Bay. [N]
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – One in a tree along "coconut alley", looking suitably fierce.
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima) – Best seen at Carli Bay, where a couple of speckly youngsters hung around the picnic grove. We saw others along "coconut alley" and at Tobago Plantations. This species is considerably smaller than the previous, but has a similar pale patch at the end of the wings.
MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – One made several flashing passes over a scruffy field in the Aripo savanna, not long after we found our Pearl Kites. Eventually, it perched in a nearby tree, giving us nice scope views.
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – A hunting bird entertained us on our first morning at Asa Wright, catching first a bat and then an unwary Palm Tanager -- and proceeding to devour both at the top of a dead snag right off the veranda, which gave us great opportunity to study it in the scopes.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – One circled over Asa Wright's Discovery trail, sharing the sky with a couple of Gray-headed Kites, a second (a big female) sat stolidly on a fence post at the Aripo Agricultural Research Station, and a third rocketed past over the Caroni Swamp roost, sizing up the Scarlet Ibis and herons, looking for a weak or sick one.

We found a few Green-backed Trogons (a relatively recent split from the White-tailed Trogon) along the Blanchisseuse road. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus) – A pair snuggling on a wire near Morne La Croix was fun to watch as they preened and canoodled.
ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica) – This is the common parrot of the islands, seen every day of the tour. We had especially nice scope studies of the birds visiting the flowering Immortelle tree near the Asa Wright veranda each morning.
GREEN-RUMPED PARROTLET (Forpus passerinus) – A noisy gang hung out in a leafy trellis on a farm in the Aripo savanna, sharing space with some Ruddy Ground-Doves. At least a couple of them appeared to be checking out potential nest holes in a tree along the road.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – The pre-breakfast walkers spotted a female along the entrance road one morning, in the lower branches of the same fruiting tree that attracted all the Golden-headed Manakins. On a second pre-breakfast walk, we spotted another -- a male this time -- on the corner of the generator shed, where he appeared to be cleaning up the moths that had been attracted to the building's lights overnight.
BLACK-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus canadensis) – It took a bit of patience and persistence, but we eventually all connected with a male in the mangroves across from Bobby's place -- though he sang for LONG time before finally showing himself! We had another in the Arena Forest, but the female along the road at Orange Valley may have given us our best views.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – Common and widespread, recorded on every day of the tour -- including a pair that made regular (though brief) visits to the bushes around the Asa Wright feeders, and another pair flitting through the viny tangles around the edge of the Bon Accord sewage ponds.
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis) – A male flitted along the roadside in the Arena Forest, an unexpected bonus when we searched for White-bellied Antbirds.
WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula axillaris) – A pair with some Red-crowned Ant-Tanagers along the Guacharo trail were a bit elusive, disappearing into the dense understory before everybody had had a proper look.
WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (Formicivora grisea) – After hearing one calling near the sewage ponds at Tobago Plantations, we finally laid eyes on one along the Louis d'Or road. But our best views came right on the grounds of the Blue Waters Inn, where we found a confiding pair along the edge of the scruffy hillside behind the cabins.
WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza longipes) – Arg! We pulled one in from waaaaaaay down the hill along the Blanchisseuse road, but it never came quite to the road. Instead, it paraded back and forth just over the edge of a little rise down the hill from the road; we could tell the loud song was coming from a series of different places, but just couldn't see the singer. [*]
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis) – We heard one calling (and calling and calling) from the forest as we headed down to the Oilbird cave. [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
GRAY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus albigularis) – A pair excavating a burrow in a bank near the cabins at Asa Wright was a nice find. One clung to the bank while the other occasionally peeked out from the burrow entrance. [N]
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) – One flashed in and landed near the bottom of a big tree above the Blanchisseuse road one morning, distracting us for a bit from our search for Golden-crowned Warbler. We had even better looks at another along the Asa Wright entrance road; it clung to a small trunk near the Motmot trail, peering around for long minutes. As its name suggests, this is the least patterned of the country's woodcreepers.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) – Easily the most common of the tour's woodcreepers, recorded nearly every day, though often just as a heard-only. We had good views of one just moments after our first Plain-brown Woodcreeper (for nice comparison), and we had another along the Gilpin Trace on our very soggy morning there.
STRAIGHT-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Dendroplex picus) – Two at Orange Valley flashed into the mangroves right near the road, then hitched their way up. These were the bigger of the two species we found there, with the long, straight pale bills.
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – And these were the smaller, curve-billed birds (three of them) that zipped in to the same mangroves a few minutes later.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans) – Two -- either a pair, or a parent and a youngster -- moved through the Arena Forest together, clinging (chickadee-like) to a host of vines, branches and leaf clusters.
YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus) – A territorial pair along the road at Orange Valley were very confiding, singing from a little bush right beside the road. They were close enough that we could clearly see their yellow chins -- which are pretty tiny!
PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens) – Two flashed back and forth several times along the side of the road in Morne La Croix, giving us quick views of their gray and rufous plumage and long, ragged tails. We also heard their song, which sounds a bit like tiny sneezes.
STRIPE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis cinnamomea) – We heard a pair interacting along the Blanchisseuse road (and a few saw a dark shape flit from one side to the other), but never got the look we were hoping for. Unfortunately, the downpours on Tobago kept us from getting the bird Jason spotted right near the picnic shelter. [*]

"Green Honeycreeper" seems like such an understatement when you're presented with the actual glowing bird! Photo by guide Marcelo Barreiros.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma obsoletum) – One of these little flycatchers flicked through a sapling just across the road from our picnic shelter in the Arena Forest, calling occasionally.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – Common and widespread in open areas, from our first pair along the road into Nariva Swamp to the regulars around Blue Waters Inn.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus) – One in the Trema tree we kept checking for tanagers showed reasonably well; its habit of regularly flicking its wings made it relatively easy to follow through the leaves. Its green-streaked belly and large teardrop eye ring quickly separated it from the next species, which was also gobbling berries in the same tree.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus) – Singletons along the Blanchisseuse road on a couple of different days, including one in a fruiting Trema tree with the previous species. Their peachy belly -- and their habit of regularly flicking one wing -- makes them easy to identify.
SLATY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon superciliaris) – One with a mixed flock along the Asa Wright entrance road was the first of several new species we found before breakfast one morning. The dark "ear muff" is a good ID feature.
NORTHERN SCRUB-FLYCATCHER (Sublegatus arenarum) – Two hunted low in the mangroves across from Bobby's place in Coconut Alley, sometimes approaching to almost within arm's length of some of the group. These look a bit like miniature, short-billed Myiarchus flycatchers.
YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris) – Seen and/or heard on most days, including some along the Blanchisseuse road, and one (looking very yellow) in bushes along the sewage treatment pond at Tobago Plantations. This species is also known as Ochre-lored Flatbill.
BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus) – Two of these small, stripe-breasted flycatchers swirled around a line of trees in the Aripo savanna, repeatedly allowing us scope views.
EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri) – One wing-flicking bird showed nicely -- eventually -- in a big stand of bamboo along the Blanchisseuse road.
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – Some of the gang got brief looks at an Olive-sided Flycatcher perched atop a dead snag along the Blanchisseuse road. Unfortunately, it dove down after a passing insect, and landed somewhere out of view. This is an uncommon winter visitor to the islands. [b]
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus) – One returned again and again to the same branch of a fallen tree along the Blanchisseuse road, and we saw another hunting in somebody's side yard near Brasso Seco.
FUSCOUS FLYCATCHER (Cnemotriccus fuscatus) – Great views of one hunting along the Louis d'Or road; it flitted through roadside bushes not far from a pair of White-fringed Antwrens, calling regularly.
PIED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola pica) – A few along the waterways in Nariva swamp, with another scuttling around in the mud at Orange Valley.
WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala) – A pair shared a shady bush with the previous species in Nariva Swamp, giving us a great opportunity to compare them directly in the scopes. This species is known locally as "Nunbird" because of its resemblance to a black-habited nun with a white wimple.
VENEZUELAN FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus venezuelensis) – One called several times along the Gilpin Trace, and we eventually found it sitting high in a tree and facing us, allowing brief views of its distinctively all-dark undertail for the first few folks to the scope. Unfortunately, it moved out of view as the rain's tempo increased, and (after a few very wet minutes) we gave up looking for it and headed back to the bus.

We had plenty of great looks at the handsome Bay-headed Tanager in trees around the Asa Wright veranda. Photo by guide Marcelo Barreiros.

BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – Daily on Tobago, including one hunting along the edge of the Bon Accord sewage pond, and another flycatching from the telephone wires over the Louis d'Or road. Unlike the previous species, this one shows a rufous stripe down the center of the undertail.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Common and widespread across both islands, principally on wires, fence posts, television aerials and treetops in more open areas.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – A few along the Blanchisseuse road, including one in a dead tree near Mahase's house. Their big beak -- and distinctively whiny call -- helps to separate them from the previous species.
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus) – Best seen near Mahase's house, where we found a pair squeaking in the treetops over the driveway; they sound rather like a dog's chew toy!
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – We heard one singing (and singing and singing) from the canopy over the upper parking lot at Asa Wright, but our best look came in Morne La Croix, where we found another bird singing from a treetop near a big Yellow-rumped Cacique colony.
SULPHURY FLYCATCHER (Tyrannopsis sulphurea) – Two shared a treetop at Waller Field with a male Red-legged Honeycreeper, occasionally bursting into twittering song. This species looks rather like a dirty-faced kingbird.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Ubiquitous on both islands, sprinkled liberally along roadside wires or hunting from fence posts and treetops.
GRAY KINGBIRD (Tyrannus dominicensis) – Far less common than the previous species (particularly on Trinidad), but we found two along the road at Orange Valley, with even better views of others around the Bon Accord sewage ponds and on the wires along the Louis d'Or road.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
BEARDED BELLBIRD (Procnias averano) – We heard far more than we saw (bonking like cracked bells from hillsides throughout the Northern Range), but finally laid eyes on a singing male along Asa Wright's Discovery trail. He sat on a small branch high above the forest floor, his wattles swinging as he shouted his challenges.
Pipridae (Manakins)
BLUE-BACKED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia pareola) – Several calling males along the Gilpin Trace entertained us on our soggy morning walk there, flashing their blue backs and red caps. We also saw a single female, who was attracting plenty of attention!
WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN (Manacus manacus) – Our best group views were of an olive drab female (distinguished by her bright orange legs and feet), but many saw a male or two checking out the fruiting trees around the Asa Wright veranda.
GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala) – Especially nice views of a handsome male near the start of the Discovery trail, at the beginning of our hike down to the Oilbird cave, with a bevy of others (including four males sharing a single branch) in a fruiting tree not far from the security building along the Asa Wright entrance road.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-TAILED TITYRA (Tityra cayana) – A stripey-breasted female foraged in a fruiting tree over Asa Wright's Discovery trail, seen as we started our trek down to the Oilbird cave -- nice spotting, Lynn!
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (NORTHERN) (Cyclarhis gujanensis flavipectus) – We certainly heard this widespread species -- repeatedly!! -- on both islands. Seeing them was a bit more of a challenge, though everybody finally got some kind of view of a pair along the Blanchisseuse road (in the same flock as our Golden-crowned Warblers).
SCRUB GREENLET (TOBAGO) (Hylophilus flavipes insularis) – Our first was a skulker along the edge of a pond at Tobago Plantations, and we found another along the Louis d'Or road. But our best views probably came on the grounds of the Blue Waters Inn, when we found a bird in the bushes right behind some of the rooms.
GOLDEN-FRONTED GREENLET (Pachysylvia aurantiifrons saturata) – A pair flicked through several trees along the Asa Wright entrance road before breakfast one morning, and another pair climbed higher and higher in a fruiting tree along the road down to Paria on the morning we visited before heading to Nariva Swamp.
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus) – One sang (and sang) and flashed back and forth across the road in the Aripo savanna, distracting us briefly from our search for the Bran-colored Flycatcher.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – A trio coursed back and forth over somebody's side yard near Brasso Seco, right under the utility wires where we found our first Guianan Trogon pair.
CARIBBEAN MARTIN (Progne dominicensis) – A small group coursed over the ponds at Bon Accord and we spotted a few others high over Little Tobago. Jason said they were the first he'd seen on the island this spring, apparently just returned from the mainland for the breeding season.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – Common in the lowlands on Trinidad, with a scattering of others over open areas along the Blanchisseuse road.
WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer) – Surprisingly few seen this trip; just a handful over Brickfield, with others over the ponds at Bon Accord and Tobago Plantations. Normally, they're more common on Trinidad than on Tobago!

The White-chested Emerald looks a bit plain compared to some of the islands' other hummingbirds -- at least until it flashes its iridescent sea-green head feathers! Photo by guide Marcelo Barreiros.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – A few streaked past at Nariva swamp, far outnumbered by Southern Rough-winged Swallows and Gray-breasted Martins. These might have been southern migrants on their long journey north.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – A regular visitor under the Asa Wright feeders, with others seen and heard around the Blue Waters Inn. Both island subspecies (clarus on Trinidad and tobagensis on Tobago) would become Southern House Wren if the complex is ever split.
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus rutilus) – Quite common (or at least quite commonly HEARD) in forested areas on Trinidad, with super views of an inquisitive pair in a brush pile along the edge of the road in the Arena Forest.
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus tobagensis) – We heard this Tobago subspecies while walking the Gilpin Trace, but never caught up with the singers. [*]
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – One twitched through a viny tangle along the Asa Wright entrance road before breakfast one morning, and we spotted another pair along the Blanchisseuse road (not far from where we found our Golden-crowned Warblers) for everybody the next day.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
COCOA THRUSH (Turdus fumigatus) – Widespread in the Northern Range, with regular visitors to the feeders at Asa Wright each morning, and others flashing off the sides of the roads as vehicles approached.
SPECTACLED THRUSH (Turdus nudigenis) – Seen nearly every day -- and we probably just weren't paying enough attention on the day we missed it! They were particularly confiding around the Asa Wright veranda, regularly visiting the feeders there.
WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (GRAY-FLANKED) (Turdus albicollis phaeopygoides) – Best seen in the rainforest on Tobago, particularly as we enjoyed our breakfast at the overlook -- where we watched one bouncing around on the lawn near the bathrooms. We had only brief glimpses of several on Trinidad, typically flushing up off the sides of the road as our vehicles approached.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – Daily, often in good numbers, with the regular pair around the Asa Wright feeders giving us particularly good opportunity for studying them. They look a lot like the Northern Mockingbird, though they're missing the white wing patches of that more northerly species.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – One waggled its way along the Blanchisseuse road near JJ's fruit stand, giving us a nice opportunity to study its distinctive field marks: a supercilium that narrows behind the eye, uniformly colored underparts, dull leg color, and an "up and down" (rather than sashaying) tail bob. We saw others in Nariva and Caroni swamps. [b]
MASKED YELLOWTHROAT (MASKED) (Geothlypis aequinoctialis aequinoctialis) – A showy bird right beside the road in the Nariva swamp was a good find late on our afternoon there. He sat right up on top of several bushes for long minutes, peering around.

We found a couple of nesting Lineated Woodpeckers, including this one, in a telephone pole at Carli Bay. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – A female (or first-year male -- it was hard to see the lores from our angle) flicked through a Mountain Immortelle tree over the entrance drive at Asa Wright one morning, the first of a flurry of birds we saw on one pre-breakfast walk.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – And this was the second! It wasn't quite as cooperative as the previous species, flicking through several nearby trees, but disappearing into some dense foliage before everybody got on it.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – Best seen at Carli Bay, when a bright male came in to look for the "pygmy-owl" (in reality, Marcelo's whistles) after our lunch there.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus) – A couple of territorial birds worked through trees along one stretch of the Blanchisseuse road, occasionally singing (or just "chipping") loudly. This species is often the leader of little mixed flocks.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
MASKED CARDINAL (Paroaria nigrogenis) – Stunningly close views of one poking its way along some branches on a channel in Caroni Swamp. The only way it could have been closer is if it had actually LANDED on someone!
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus flaviventris) – A male lurked among the leaves of one of the denser trees along the Asa Wright driveway one morning before breakfast, eventually showing himself in fits and starts.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – Very common on Trinidad, particularly around the Asa Wright feeders. The dozen or so all leaning at the same angle (sunbathing) on the top of one of the trees below the veranda after an afternoon rainstorm were particularly entertaining. We saw a scattering of others on Tobago.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo magnirostris) – Another very common species, on Trinidad including a male who sang from one of the dead sticks in front of the Asa Wright veranda each morning, and a female who spent several days feeding a large begging youngster there. This one isn't found on Tobago.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (BLUE-GRAY) (Thraupis episcopus nesophila) – Common across Trinidad, typically in pairs.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (BLUE-GRAY) (Thraupis episcopus berlepschi) – Widespread on Tobago, where most were also seen in pairs. This subspecies is even bluer than the one found on Trinidad.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Everywhere, in big numbers. (Then, of course, there was Marcelo's belly laugh-inducing comment: "Oh no. Does that mean I'm gonna have to show you a Palm Tanager every day?")
TURQUOISE TANAGER (Tangara mexicana) – Small gangs of these snazzy tanagers roved through fruiting trees around Asa Wright, including some just down the hill from the veranda.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – Another common species on Trinidad, with some lovely views of birds just off the Asa Wright veranda, and others prowling through fruiting trees along the Blanchisseuse road. The subspecies in Trinidad (viridissima) is much greener than those found throughout much of Central America.
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana) – A few folks got a brief glimpse of a male along the Blanchisseuse road, but we all got good looks at a blue-headed female as she nibbled her way through a fruiting tree near Brasso Seco.
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus) – Somehow, "purple" seems like such an understatement when you're talking about such a spectacular little bird! We got superb looks at many as they swarmed over the feeders at Asa Wright -- including plenty of purple-moustached females.
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus) – This was probably the least common of the tour's honeycreepers, even though it's the only one found on both islands. We did get lovely scope views of a male quietly sitting in a Waller Field treetop with some Sulphury Flycatchers, and spotted a female along the Blanchisseuse road as we headed towards the west coast.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – Another species that is far more handsome than its name suggests -- though the general agreement was that THIS was the species that should have been called "turquoise"! They were particularly common around the Asa Wright feeders.
BICOLORED CONEBILL (Conirostrum bicolor) – One foraged actively in the mangroves across the road from Bobby's (north of Nariva Swamp), returning again and again to branches just over our heads to collect small caterpillars. The general consensus was that the pictures in the field guides just don't do this one justice!
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola) – Our first were an inquisitive trio on the beach at Brickfield, followed by a good-sized group foraging on the grassy lawn at Carli Bay, seen after our picnic lunch there.
GRASSLAND YELLOW-FINCH (Sicalis luteola) – Very distant views of one sitting (and preening) on a wire fence at the Aripo Agricultural Research Station, seen from our perch along the highway. This species first showed up on the island about a decade ago.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – Plenty of these little "Johnny Jump-Ups" in Nariva Swamp, with others in the Aripo savanna. We even saw a handful of the males doing the endearing little song jumps that give them their local folk name.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Everywhere, in virtually every habitat on both islands. Their song was a near constant part of the tour's soundtrack.
BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris bicolor) – A few birds around the Bon Accord sewage ponds initially played hard to get. Fortunately, we eventually found a pair of confiding birds in the grasses along the fence line at the far end of the property. This one doesn't occur on Trinidad.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – Particularly nice looks at a pair that made regular visits to the fruiting trees just off the veranda at Asa Wright.

Trinidad Motmot is one of the islands' two endemic bird species. Photo by guide Marcelo Barreiros.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
RED-CROWNED ANT-TANAGER (Habia rubica) – Our first was a male moving through the undergrowth along the Guacharo trail, seen as we headed towards the Oilbird cave. But we had even better views of another male along the Blanchisseuse road, bouncing along just above the ground shortly after we found our first Plain-brown Woodcreeper.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Sturnella militaris) – A half-dozen or more flashed back and forth across the pastures of the Aripo Agricultural Research Station, seen from our perch just across the fence on the main road.
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus) – Abundant across Trinidad, less common on Tobago. The hordes nesting in a couple of colonies right around the cabins at Asa Wright gave us a great chance to study them at leisure as they gobbled fruit from the feeding trays, somersaulted in their courtship displays, and busily gathered materials for their impressive, yard-long nests. [N]
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus cela) – Our best views came in the town of Brasso Seco, where we found a burgeoning colony not far from where we had lunch. We spotted another busy colony in Morne Bleu, and still others around Manzanilla Beach.
YELLOW ORIOLE (Icterus nigrogularis) – Scattered singles, including one rummaging through the palm fronds of a tree overhanging the upper parking lot at Asa Wright, others in the weedy fields near Nariva swamp, and more around Orange Valley.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – Widespread (though fortunately in relatively small numbers) in open areas on both islands, including some hanging around the Manzanilla Beach parking lot, and others striding around in the grass at the Bon Accord sewage works.
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – A few hung around the oropendola colony at Brasso Seco, giving us the chance to check out their red eyes in the scopes. We saw others flying over at Nariva swamp and a few wading through the wet grass around the cows grazing at the edge of the Roxborough-Bloody Bay road.
CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris) – Abundant throughout much of the islands, principally in open, lowland areas. Their yellow eyes quickly separate them from other black birds on the islands.
YELLOW-HOODED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus icterocephalus) – One clambered through a shrub in a Brickfield front yard, and a couple of others picked their way through the mangrove roots at Orange Valley. This species appears to be in decline on Trinidad.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
TRINIDAD EUPHONIA (Euphonia trinitatis) – It took some patience and persistence, but we got there in the end! After scouring all of the MANY mistletoe clumps in a tree in the Heights of Aripo, we finally found the singing male we could hear serenading us.
VIOLACEOUS EUPHONIA (Euphonia violacea) – Very common on Trinidad, particularly around the feeders at Asa Wright. They were harder to find on Tobago, where they're normally nearly as common.

COMMON OPOSSUM (Didelphis marsupialis) – One scrambled around in a tree along one of the roads at Waller Field.
LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso) – We spotted a little group of these insect eaters hanging from a trunk over the water in Caroni Swamp. They're typically found near water.

The Copper-rumped Hummingbird was the tour's most common and widespread hummer, seen every day in just about every habitat. Photo by guide Marcelo Barreiros.

PALLAS'S LONG-TONGUED BAT (Glossophaga soricina) – These were the nectar-drinking bats that made brief, though regular, visits to the hummingbird feeders at Asa Wright after dark.
GREATER WHITE-LINED BAT (Saccopteryx bilineata) – We saw small numbers of these insect-eating bats in the Northern Range. They often fly during the daytime -- up and down linear routes like trails and roadways.
SILKY ANTEATER (Cyclopes didactylus) – One curled up asleep in the mangroves of Caroni Swamp looked like a little, furry coconut.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – One scurried through some trees along Asa Wright's Discovery trail, making a considerable racket.
RED-RUMPED AGOUTI (Dasyprocta agouti) – Very common under the feeders at Asa Wright; they regularly made off with entire slices of bread!
EGYPTIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes ichneumon) – Single animals scampered across the road in front of our vehicles on a couple of days, seen by the lucky few who happened to be looking out the front window at the right time. [I]
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana) – A green male clambered through a tree near the Nariva Swamp.
GIANT AMEIVA (Ameiva ameiva) – Some of the group spotted on under the feeders at Asa Wright, but our best group view came at the Bon Accord sewage ponds, where we found one scrambling through the grass.
GOLDEN TEGU (Tupinambis teguixin) – A trio checked the offerings under the feeders at Asa Wright on our first morning. Surprisingly, we never saw them again!
GREEN ANACONDA (Eunectes murinus) – One along the bank of a little channel in Nariva Swamp was being carefully eyed by some nearby fishermen.
TREE BOA (Corallus ruschenbergerii) – Some great spotting by Lester netted us heads-up views of one of these nocturnal predators. Unfortunately, by the time we'd yanked out our cameras, it had already tucked its head back into the looping folds of its body and gone back to sleep.
SPECTACLED CAIMAN (Caiman crocodilus) – One basked along the edge of a small channel in Nariva Swamp, and another did the same (though far more cryptically) amid some downed trees along the edge of the pond at the entrance of Tobago Plantations.
YELLOW-THROATED FROG (Mannophryne trinitatis) – Also known as the Trinidad Stream Frog, these are the tiny frogs we saw hopping around after the laser dot in the stream near the Oilbird cave.
GREEN SEA TURTLE (Chelonia mydas) – One swam under our glass-bottomed boat on the way back from Little Tobago -- an unexpected treat for those sitting on the lucky side of the boat!


Totals for the tour: 217 bird taxa and 8 mammal taxa