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Field Guides Tour Report
Trinidad & Tobago Feb. 2019
Feb 16, 2019 to Feb 25, 2019
Dan Lane & local guide

The Trinidad Motmot is an endemic to the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. It's easier to see on Tobago.... but as you can see from this image, we were able to get good looks at this beautiful bird. Photo by guide Dan Lane.

For a birder who hasn’t really had the proper introduction to the Neotropics, Trinidad and Tobago truly is a great place to start! These two islands that fill the gap between the Lesser Antilles and Venezuela provide a “starter menu” to the uninitiated of several of the banner families of Neotropical birds such as trogons, motmots, hummingbirds, woodcreepers and furnariids, antbirds, tyrant flycatchers, cotingas, manakins, and tanagers. The sampler includes some real stars that show that the selection process didn’t hold back with birds like the Tufted Coquette with his frills and adorable small size, the attention grabbing Bearded Bellbird with his vocal gymnastics, the lovely Blue-backed Manakins with their attractive satin black bodies, sky blue backs, and red topknot, or the tanager smorgasbord at the feeders along the veranda at Asa Wright!

These birds and more left impressions on us… but what makes Trinidad and Tobago have this perfectly mixed avifauna? Well, it’s what is called “island biogeography”. Islands are not all one sort of spot of land: some rise from the ocean thanks to volcanic processes (think Hawaii), and others break off of continental land masses (England or Cuba are examples). These are categorized as “oceanic” or “continental” islands, respectively. Then, islands are colonized, have persisting populations of flora and fauna, and suffer extinctions at a scale not likely to be seen on mainland areas. Because of their smaller size, changes in climate cause changes in habitat, and small populations of animals suffer if their preferred habitats disappear and they can’t adapt in time. The size of an island plays a role in how many species can colonize, and how large their populations can get, and thus, how well they persist over time. Finally, the distance of the island from the mainland dictates how easily and what kind of animals can colonize from the latter to the former. Generally speaking, the farther the island, the fewer colonizers will get there, and they will have to be organisms that are prone to travel or can survive on the ocean for extended periods. The Hawaiian islands are a great example of low-probability colonizations by highly volant birds (and even then, a few surprises made it there!). Trinidad, by comparison, is only 7 miles from mainland Venezuela, so even fairly sedentary animals have a chance of crossing that water. Tobago, being 30 miles from Trinidad, sees less colonization, and being smaller in size, has less persistence. This accounts for some of the differences we saw. So why were birds like Barred Antshrikes and Trinidad Motmots so much easier to see on Tobago? Well, this is probably due to “ecological release” by which other species that compete with these two on Trinidad are missing, and so the two species are able to expand their niche breadth and abundance on Tobago. Cool stuff, huh?

This year’s tour (my first time to the islands!) had no shortage of favorite moments: They ranged from finding that sneaky pair of Red-bellied Macaws in the Nariva Moriche palm swamp, to the impressive show of Red-billed Tropicbirds over Little Tobago, from the spritely American Pygmy-Kingfisher in the shadows of the Caroni mangrove swamp, to the Oilbird cave at Asa Wright, from the tunes of the Red-breasted Meadowlark over the pasture at Aripo to the tame Rufous-tailed Jacamar that didn’t bat an eye as we stood beside it on Tobago. We enjoyed the snaps, crackles, and pops of the displaying White-bearded Manakins and the restlessness of those Purple Honeycreepers with their show-off yellow legs, and the comparison of the incredible show of pink and red birds at Caroni as the Scarlet Ibis arrived at dusk and landed over a sizable flock of American Flamingos, to the one blazing Ibis that thought it blended in with the 20’s photo of Laughing Gulls, lacking any color at all!

Then there were the more human experiences such as experiencing the interesting mixture of cultures of the inhabitants of the islands, the very tasty food, the attentiveness and friendliness of the staff at our lodges, the fine pool at Blue Waters Inn, the opportunities to go out for all-day birding, and the fact that Mahase spotted Chuck’s green bag on the door handle as we were preparing to drive to the airport from Asa Wright!

In all, we had a fine trip to these two lovely islands, and I hope you enjoyed the novelty of the place, the people, and (of course) the birds as much as I! And perhaps we’ll see one another again soon on another tour. Until then, “Ya mahn!”


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

Bearded Bellbirds were one of the star attractions of Asa Wright, and we were certainly treated to a great show! Be sure to have the audio on your computer turned up for this! Video by guide Dan Lane.
Tinamidae (Tinamous)
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – A small group was at the sewage ponds at Tobago Plantation.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
RUFOUS-VENTED CHACHALACA (Ortalis ruficauda) – A common and vociferous part of life on Tobago!
Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
AMERICAN FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus ruber) – A relatively recent colonizer of Trinidad, but successful, as the 110+ we saw at Caroni showed!
Phaethontidae (Tropicbirds)
RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon aethereus) – After looking at them wistfully from the restaurant of the Blue Waters Inn, we headed over to Little Tobago and enjoyed seeing these elegant seabirds up close. Particularly close was a bird that shuffled up to the viewing area and *flew through* the lot of us to get into the updrafts of the cliff! Wow!
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – The largest breeding colony in the western Atlantic is on the islands near Little Tobago, so we enjoyed seeing a large number of these attractive, but piratic, seabirds, on both islands... our first were very much out of context as they glided high overhead over Asa Wright.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
BROWN BOOBY (Sula leucogaster) – Several seen well around Little Tobago.
RED-FOOTED BOOBY (Sula sula) – Both light and dark morphs nest on Little Tobago.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Not very numerous, but we saw several on the west coast of Trinidad.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – Our first were on Tobago, with the mother lode at Tobago Plantation ponds!
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis) – Good numbers off the west coast of Trinidad, but visible at other seaside spots.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

We spent time in a number of different habitats during the tour. Here is our group doing some seaside birding on Trinidad. Photo by participant Chuck Sharbaugh.

TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – A surprisingly large number came in to roost on the Ibis Island at Caroni.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – This was the small heron we saw commonly on Tobago.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – And this one replaces the last on Trinidad. The studies that separated the two (they were lumped for about two decades) were carried out here on Trinidad and Tobago, where their breeding on both islands provided a natural laboratory in which to observe their behavior.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – A few around the Trincity golf course.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – Several on the west coast of Trinidad, particularly in mangroves.
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – One in the mangroves was well-spotted by our local guide.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
SCARLET IBIS (Eudocimus ruber) – After seeing a few in the coastal mangroves of the west coast, we were treated to the impressive spectacle of flocks swarming in to the roost island at Caroni. But, many thought the one bird among the Laughing Gulls was pretty memorable, too.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Strangely, this and the next species are only on Trinidad! How does Tobago stay so clean?
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – A number of these boreal migrants were present over larger wetlands.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii) – Mahase got us on this diminutive falcon-like kite as we left the Trincity water works.
GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis) – A pair calling in thermals over the Blanchisseuse Rd towards Arima was a nice sighting!

Several trogon species have made the move to the islands, including the colorful Guianan Trogon. Photo by participant Duane Morse.

BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) – After a little patience and playback, a bird drifted right over us along the Blanchisseuse Rd above Asa Wright.
ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) [*]
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea) – Several one evening over Asa Wright were followed the next morning by a perched bird along the Blanchisseuse Rd.
LONG-WINGED HARRIER (Circus buffoni) – Hardly satisfying, but one flew over the highway the day we drove down to the west coast of Trinidad.
COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus) – Seen on several days, mostly near the Arima valley.
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – Several seen on our day around the Aripo savanna and Nariva swamp.
GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga) – A pair at Nariva Swamp was a surprise, but one in the forests along the Main Range on Tobago was more expected.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Holy cats! If you had told me before the tour that this was an unknown species for Trinidad, I would have laughed! But the bird Mahase found the month prior (and misidentified as a Hook-billed Kite by the birding guide accompanying him) was Trinidad's first! How exciting!
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – A damned sharp hawk that we saw several times, both perched and flying!
GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus) – An adult seen well on our first day out with Mahase.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – One or two quick views on Tobago was followed by a fine adult over Little Tobago. This is a resident breeding species on several Caribbean islands, including Tobago.
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – Seen on our first and last full days on Trinidad.

Scarlet Ibis are another attraction that many visitors to Trinidad enjoy, although most people look for them in Caroni Swamp. This one, "hiding" in a flock of resting Laughing Gulls, was only a little out of place. Photo by guide Dan Lane.

ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – Astonishingly common on Trinidad! We saw it most days there.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
SORA (Porzana carolina) – Wintering birds, we had three in the Tobago Plantation sewer ponds.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica) – Several seen in most marshy habitats visited.
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata) – Same as last.
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) – A family group at Nariva Swamp was good. Some astute observer in the group noted that these birds aren't as white-spotted as those in Florida. South American birds are darker!
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – Common in the lowlands. Especially on Tobago!
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) – A couple of these plovers were mixed in with the shorebirds hiding among the mangroves around Waterloo.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana) – Seen in most areas with marshes.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – A few on the mudflats near Waterloo, but one hiding along a ditch at Bon Accorde was a strange place.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – A few at the boat dock at Waterloo, and others on the beach in front of our rooms at Blue Waters Inn.
STILT SANDPIPER (Calidris himantopus) – A small flock on the creek at Trincity golf course was apparently somewhat unusual.
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – At the same place as the lat.

Our visit to the Oilbird cave was a highlight of the tour! Photo by participant Duane Morse.

SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER (Calidris pusilla) – This and the next species were mixed in that huge flock of peeps and other shorebirds in the mangroves at Waterloo.
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)
WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata) – A single bird couldn't hide at Bon Accorde!
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) – At several points, it didn't live up well to its name!
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – Nice comparisons with Lessers on both islands.
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata) – Mostly on the west coast of Trinidad. From what I could tell, these appeared to be "western" types.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla) – The common gull in the Caribbean.
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (GRAELLSII) (Larus fuscus graellsii) – Three birds (one first winter and two adults) were among the gull flock at Waterloo.
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus) – A smattering of these large terns was among the skimmer-gull flock out on the mudflats from our first viewing point at Waterloo.
BLACK SKIMMER (CINERASCENS) (Rynchops niger cinerascens) – Several among the gulls at Waterloo. These are birds coming from South America, not from North America (different subspecies).
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – We encountered this attractive pigeon on Tobago.
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – This was the pigeon we mostly heard on Trinidad, but had a few glimpses of it, as well.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – Common in open places on both islands.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – Glimpses mostly on Tobago
GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla) – Heard a fair amount on Trinidad, with maybe a glimpse or two there.
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata) – A fairly common dove on Tobago.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major) – Unlike the next species, this one is mostly confined to flooded waterways such as mangrove swamps.
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – A fairly common cuckoo of open country.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) [*]
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – It took a bit of patience, but we eventually had nice looks at this little owl at Wallerfield.

A big surprise for our group, and Trinidad birders in general, was this Roadside Hawk. This is the first record of the species for Trinidad! Photo by guide Dan Lane.

FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – After hearing distant birds at Asa Wright most mornings, we finally saw one of these diminutive owls along the ridge of the Blanchisseuse Rd. This subspecies, phaloenoides, is endemic to Trinidad and is distinctive in its voice.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – A few glimpses as we drove back from our evening at Wallerfield.
WHITE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis cayennensis) – Fine close views of this attractive nightjar at Wallerfield.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) – The glowing eyeshine of this nocturnal flycatcher gave it away, and we enjoyed extended views. Another on a day roost in the mangroves allowed us a chance to see the other side of the coin.
Steatornithidae (Oilbird)
OILBIRD (Steatornis caripensis) – For one of our first birding outings as a group, we followed Barry down into the Oilbird cave, and what a cool experience! One can understand why early colonizers thought the birds were witches or ghosts with their retiring habits and dark breeding areas.
Apodidae (Swifts)
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura) – After a few poor views on Trinidad, we saw these well on Tobago.
BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus) – This and the next species were often over the lodge on Trinidad. A good view of the rump is necessary to distinguish them.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris)
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis) – Jim and I got on one of these rarer swifts over Asa Wright as we waited for the group to assemble one morning.
FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata) – Seen at a couple of sites in the open country of Trinidad.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – A common hummer on both islands. The white neck, belly, and tail of the male made it easy to identify.
RUFOUS-BREASTED HERMIT (Glaucis hirsutus) – Usually a hard one to see, but a bird on Tobago came in and showed off well.
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) – I think a few folks got views from the veranda at Asa Wright.

While it's not especially colorful, the Gray Seedeater is still often captured for the cage-bird trade, so we were lucky to see this individual. Photo by participant Duane Morse.

LITTLE HERMIT (Phaethornis longuemareus) – A lek of these little hummers was at the Arena Forest Reserve, and a few showed briefly in the understory.
RUBY-TOPAZ HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysolampis mosquitus) – A handsome hummer we saw on both islands, but seemed more common on Tobago. A female on the nest, pointed out to us by Jason Radix, was nice! [N]
GREEN-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax viridigula) – A scarce hummer of flooded woodlands, we saw two well on the boat ride through the mangroves at Caroni.
BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – This was the species at Asa Wright. We also saw two nests on power lines, on on each island. [N]
TUFTED COQUETTE (Lophornis ornatus) – A striking little hummer we enjoyed on a few occasions around the cabins at Asa Wright.
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris) – This may have been the first "official" bird of the trip, as it was coming to the feeders as the last arriving folks showed up on the veranda.
BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes notata) – Several of these attractive hummers were at the feeders at the veranda.
WHITE-TAILED SABREWING (Campylopterus ensipennis) – A very rare and local species, with a population on Tobago and another on the Paria peninsula of Venezuela. We had fine views on our second day on Tobago.
WHITE-CHESTED EMERALD (Amazilia brevirostris) – One of the most common hummers at the veranda feeders.
COPPER-RUMPED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tobaci) – Interestingly, this common hummer usually opted for the garden flowers over the feeders at Asa Wright.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis) – The first Trogon we saw well on the return from the oilbird cave.
GUIANAN TROGON (Trogon violaceus) – Formerly part of Violaceous Trogon, which was split into three species. This is the form now found in NE South America.
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) – Strangely, we only saw females, but we saw at least one well on each island.

We got some good looks at the lovely Red-billed Tropicbirds in flight, as well as on the ground. Guide Dan Lane got a nice portrait of one.

Momotidae (Motmots)
TRINIDAD MOTMOT (Momotus bahamensis) – This was until recently part of the Blue-crowned Motmot, which was split into six species only a few years ago... in the process, it became one of Trinidad's two endemic species (the other is the critically endangered Piping-Guan). It is immensely easier to see on Tobago! [E]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – One seen well at Trincity golf course.
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – Folks saw one of these North American migrants pass by the patio at Blue Waters Inn.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – Mahase pointed one of these small kingfishers out to folks at one of the crossings over the Nariva River.
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – A cute little kingfisher we enjoyed at the start of our mangrove tour at Caroni.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – After working so hard to see one of these lovelies on the Blanchisseuse Rd, they threw themselves at us on Tobago!
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus) – A couple of pairs of this attractive toucan showed for us on Trinidad.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus) – Only on Tobago, but easily seen there.
RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis kirkii) – We had views at the Nariva mangroves on Trinidad.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – Some glimpses on Trinidad were improved with better looks on Tobago.
CHESTNUT WOODPECKER (Celeus elegans) [*]
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – Seen at several points on Trinidad.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima) – Formerly rare, this species seems to have successfully colonized both islands.

The evening flight of Scarlet Ibis returning to their roost site in Caroni Swamp was an amazing sight we won't soon forget! Photo by participant Duane Morse.

MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – One was marauding the pigeons in Arima, another zipped low over us on the Main Ridge of Tobago and showed well.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – Good views on two days on Tobago.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
LILAC-TAILED PARROTLET (Touit batavicus) – Not seen well, but a small flock was mostly flying overhead at Mont Le Croix on the Blanchisseuse Rd.
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus) – At the same site as the last species, but these showed very well.
ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica) – The common large parrot on both islands.
GREEN-RUMPED PARROTLET (Forpus passerinus) – This diminutive parrot was present on both islands.
RED-BELLIED MACAW (Orthopsittaca manilatus) – Alright! After searching for quite some time, we finally came up with a nice pair of these declining small macaws. They are closely tied to the Moriche Palms.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – Mostly heard, but one morning a male was boldly feeding on insects brought in to the streetlight!
BLACK-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus canadensis) – Seen on two days in the lowlands of Trinidad.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – Heard often, but hard to see on Trinidad. By comparison, it is quite the extrovert on Tobago!
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis) – A male was seen on one day per each island.
WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula axillaris) – A male along the entrance drive to Asa Wright gave us some good views.
WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (NORTHERN) (Formicivora grisea tobagensis) – Common and fairly easy to see on Tobago.
WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza longipes) – Mostly heard around Asa Wright, but a few lucky folks caught a glimpse.

Wattled Jacana were common in the marshes that we visited. Photo by guide Dan Lane.

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
GRAY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus albigularis) – A pair showed well in the dimly lit leaf litter along the road just outside the Asa Wright entrance.
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (GRAYISH) (Sittasomus griseicapillus griseus) – Not common on Tobago, but we heard it a fair amount there. Unlike their mainland brethren, these birds were reluctant to approach.
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) – Seen on several occasions on Trinidad, often in unusual habitats (that squash farm on the slope, for example!).
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) – A common woodcreeper on both islands, but heard far more than seen.
STRAIGHT-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Dendroplex picus) – A pair in the Caroni mangroves was eating crabs!
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – A bird showed well for us at Carli Bay.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans) – Seen in the forest at Asa Wright our first full day there, then again near the Aripo Livestock station the next day.
YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus) – Great views of a pair of these marsh spinetails at the Aripo Livestock Station
STRIPE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis cinnamomea) – Seen on both islands at the crests of their respective ridges.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (NORTHERN) (Camptostoma obsoletum pusillum) – Some views on Trinidad around clearings, when we noted its bushy crest.
FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii) – A pair came in overhead along the the Asa Wright entrance drive, causing warbler neck in some.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – Seen on a couple of occasions, on both islands. Fairly drab, but with a bushy crest with a white crown patch.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus) – Feeding on fruits around Asa Wright.
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) [*]
YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris) – Seen near the Aripo Livestock Station on Trinidad, and again several times on Tobago.
WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus) – Nice! A pretty good view of this skulky tyrant in the understory of the forest of the Gilpen Trace on the Main Ridge of Tobago!
EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri) – A rather nondescript flycatcher we saw in the bamboo along the Asa Wright entrance drive.
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – One of these boreal migrant flycatchers showed well on the power lines over the Blanchisseuse Rd.
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus) – A brief view of this resident pewee on the Blanchisseuse Rd.
FUSCOUS FLYCATCHER (Cnemotriccus fuscatus) – As a group, we only caught a flash with Jason, but later, Duane and I both managed to see this flycatcher on the grounds of the Blue Waters Inn.

Participant Duane Morse got a nice shot of one of the gorgeous Ruby-Topaz Hummingbirds we saw. It's easy to see why these beauties are named after gemstones.

PIED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola pica) – A handsome tyrant we saw well around water at several spots on Trinidad.
WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala) – Much like the last, but less common.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) [*]
VENEZUELAN FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus venezuelensis) – Jason put in some work, but it paid off when a pair came in to us on one of the tracks along the Main Ridge on Tobago.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – A pair near the Roadside Hawk was our first, but we had more views on Tobago.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Common on Trinidad.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Seen on a few days on Trinidad.
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus) [*]
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – This was the little whistling tyrant that takes over oropendola nests.
SULPHURY FLYCATCHER (Tyrannopsis sulphurea) – That pair of flycatchers that we saw well before our picnic dinner at Wallerfield.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – A common bird on both islands.
GRAY KINGBIRD (Tyrannus dominicensis) – We had one near the Roadside Hawk on Trinidad, but it was more common on Tobago.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
BEARDED BELLBIRD (Procnias averano) – Wow, what an experience! This is one of the must-see birds of Asa Wright, and boy did we ever! That show of vocal control by the tenor in front of us was spectacular!

Raptors are well-represented in Trinidad; this Great Black Hawk was one of three that we saw during the tour. Photo by guide Dan Lane.

Pipridae (Manakins)
BLUE-BACKED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia pareola) – Nice views of both males and females on our second day on Tobago!
WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN (Manacus manacus) – A great show put on by these little woodland sprites right at the signed lek spot! Snaps and cracks all around!
GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala) – After a mediocre first attempt, we ran into several of these cute manakins, with their velvet black bodies and golden helmets, on the Blanchisseuse Rd.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (NORTHERN) (Cyclarhis gujanensis flavipectus) – Heard a lot, and several birds showed well for us eventually.
SCRUB GREENLET (TOBAGO) (Hylophilus flavipes insularis) – Common on Tobago. May be a split down the road (I think Jason was referring to the Handbook of Birds of the World/Birdlife International checklist when he said it had already been split... that is by far the most liberal of the checklist committees, and often jumps at shadows...)
GOLDEN-FRONTED GREENLET (Pachysylvia aurantiifrons saturata) – A canopy vireo with warblerlike features that we saw on a few occasions on Trinidad.
RED-EYED VIREO (RESIDENT CHIVI) (Vireo olivaceus tobagensis) – Seen on both Trinidad and Tobago. This has been split off by the AOU now as Chivi Vireo.
BLACK-WHISKERED VIREO (Vireo altiloquus) – Heard only, but apparently a good record for the islands. We had it on the Discovery Trail as we returned from the Oilbird cave. [*]
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – Seen at a few sites on Trinidad.
CARIBBEAN MARTIN (Progne dominicensis) – The common swallow on Tobago.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – The large swallow on Trinidad. Amazingly, they were investigating the tail fin of our plane to Tobago... presumably thinking about how lovely it would be to build a nest there!
WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer) – Usually restricted to bodies of water, this attractive swallow appears to have experienced ecological release on Trinidad, and can be found over various habitats, including at the airport.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

American Flamingos have only recently moved to Trinidad, but they seem to be doing well! We saw quite a few in the Caroni Swamp alongside the smaller Scarlet Ibis. Photo by participant Duane Morse.

RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus) – An attractive wren we saw on both islands.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – This gnatcatcher relative showed well on a couple of occasions on Trinidad.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
COCOA THRUSH (Turdus fumigatus) – A fairly common thrush with rufous plumage we saw plenty at the veranda!
SPECTACLED THRUSH (Turdus nudigenis) – Formerly called "Bare-eyed Robin" in field guides. This is the mewing thrush we had on both islands.
WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (GRAY-FLANKED) (Turdus albicollis phaeopygoides) – On both islands, we saw our first at Asa Wright, and another showed well on our walk for manakins and Venezuelan Flycatcher on the Main Ridge of Tobago.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (TROPICAL) (Mimus gilvus tobagensis) – A common bird on both islands. Less white on wings and tail than our Northern Mockingbird.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – A wintering boreal migrant that we heard more than saw.
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – Fairly common boreal migrant we enjoyed on both islands.
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – A few views of this lovely warbler high in the canopy of Trinidad woodlands.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – This is another boreal migrant we saw on both islands. Most were in the throes of their prealternate molt before departing for their northern breeding grounds once again.
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (GOLDEN-CROWNED) (Basileuterus culicivorus olivascens) – A resident warbler on Trinidad that we saw well on our day on the Blanchisseuse Rd. The form here is less colorful than others, lacking the eponymous crown patch.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
MASKED CARDINAL (Paroaria nigrogenis) – An attractive cardinal that's actually a tanager, we only saw this at the start of the channel that leads out to the Caroni mangroves. Was recently split from Red-capped Cardinal.
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – A common tanager on both islands, and seen well at the veranda feeders.

We found a couple of pairs of Channel-billed Toucans on Trinidad. These large toucans are widespread on the mainland, and represent another group that has made the move to the islands. Photo by participant Duane Morse.

SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo magnirostris) – Seen around Asa Wright quite easily.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus) – A fairly common species on both islands. Those on Tobago are deeper blue.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – A common tanager on both islands, but a bit of a failure color-wise.
SPECKLED TANAGER (Ixothraupis guttata) – Rare on Trinidad, we only saw it at the crest of the North Range.
TURQUOISE TANAGER (Tangara mexicana) – Fairly common on Trinidad, often around the lodge clearing.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – An attractive tanager we saw well along the Blanchisseuse Rd.
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana) – Common enough on Trinidad, but strangely didn't come to feeders.
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus) – One of the most abundant tanagers on Trinidad, and mobbed the feeders. Those fluorescent yellow legs!
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus) – We saw a few in a flowering Erythrina in the Arima valley, and several males on Tobago as well, where they seem more common.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – Another regular at the veranda feeders.
BICOLORED CONEBILL (Conirostrum bicolor) – This warbler-like tanager was in the mangroves of Waterloo.
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola) – Not rare in open country of the west side of Trinidad.
GRASSLAND YELLOW-FINCH (Sicalis luteola) – Only flyovers, but we had them at Aripo Livestock Station.

This little group of White-winged Swallows posed artistically for participant Duane Morse.

BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – The male does his little "johnny jump-up" display when he sings.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila angolensis) – A female put on a brief showing along the Nariva river.
GRAY SEEDEATER (Sporophila intermedia) – Perhaps one of our more unexpected finds: Camille got us onto a fine male! This is a much-sought bird for the cagebird trade, so finding one in the field is lucky!
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Good god, these are common everywhere! One tried to fly into my room at Blue Waters Inn on our final day there.
BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris bicolor) – Fairly common on Tobago.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – After a few failed attempts, we finally saw this grosbeak-like tanager well at the Trincity waterworks.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
RED-CROWNED ANT-TANAGER (Habia rubica) – This tanager-cardinal was moving stealthily through the understory around Asa Wright.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Sturnella militaris) – It took some searching, but we eventually saw several of these striking blackbirds at the livestock station.
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus) – A daily sighting on the tour.
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus cela) – Strangely rare on Trinidad and absent from Tobago. We only saw them on a couple of occasions.
EPAULET ORIOLE (MORICHE) (Icterus cayanensis chrysocephalus) – Good views amid the Moriche palms at Wallerfield.
YELLOW ORIOLE (Icterus nigrogularis) – An attractive oriole we enjoyed at the Trincity waterworks.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – On both islands.
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – On both islands. This one specializes on nests of oropendolas and caciques.

Participant Chuck Sharbaugh got a shot of the group birding in a preserve on Tobago.

CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris) – A small grackle that is present in open country throughout.
YELLOW-HOODED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus icterocephalus) – Not to be confused with North America's Yellow-headed Blackbird! We had most of our at the Trincity waterworks.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
TRINIDAD EUPHONIA (Euphonia trinitatis) – Although we didn't see a fine male, we did encounter females feeding in mistletoe along the Arima valley.
VIOLACEOUS EUPHONIA (Euphonia violacea) – The common euphonia on both islands.

COMMON OPOSSUM (Didelphis marsupialis) – Seen by those who joined the night walk the first night.
LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso) – Pointed out to us before dark on our Caroni boat tour.
PALLAS'S LONG-TONGUED BAT (Glossophaga soricina) – These came in to drink from the feeders of the veranda.
GREATER WHITE-LINED BAT (Saccopteryx bilineata) – Also on our Caroni boat tour.
SILKY ANTEATER (Cyclopes didactylus) – Another mammal we saw on the Caroni boat tour, and I might say: one of the cutest!
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – On both islands, but perhaps easier to see on Tobago.
RED-RUMPED AGOUTI (Dasyprocta agouti) – On both islands, and easy to see where they are protected from hunting.
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana) – After seeing them for sale along the road, we saw some alive in the wild.
GIANT AMEIVA (Ameiva ameiva) – the green-backed racerunners we saw at several spots.
GOLDEN TEGU (Tupinambis teguixin) – This was that huge lizard we encountered around the veranda at Asa Wright.
TREE BOA (Corallus ruschenbergerii) – The snake we saw in spades on our mangrove boat tour.
SPECTACLED CAIMAN (Caiman crocodilus)
CANE TOAD (Rhinella marina) – Mostly along roads at night.


Totals for the tour: 218 bird taxa and 7 mammal taxa