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Field Guides Tour Report
Trinidad & Tobago II 2019
Dec 27, 2019 to Jan 5, 2020
Tom Johnson

Each one of those red dots is a Scarlet Ibis - and look closely, you'll see a strip of pink from the American Flamingo flock at the bottom. This was our evening scene at Caroni Swamp. Photo by group member Delle Daniels.

The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago provides an accessible bounty of neotropical wildlife with comfortable accommodation. Our holiday tour this year was no exception – we spent five nights at the famed Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad and two nights on the sandy shores of the Atlantic on Tobago. We drank coffee and tea in the morning as the rising sun brought legions of hummingbirds and honeycreepers to the feeding station below the Asa Wright veranda, studied the mating displays of the odd Bearded Bellbird and transforming White-bearded Manakin, sought the stunning Blue-and-yellow Macaw at Nariva Swamp, enjoyed the waves of brilliant Scarlet Ibis ripple past at Caroni Swamp, and watched with excitement as Magnificent Frigatebirds tail-chased Red-billed Tropicbirds over the blue water below Little Tobago Island. There was something for everyone – for those who were taken by Neotropical birding challenges, there were Chestnut-collared and Lesser Swallow-tailed swifts to pick out of the skies above the Arima Valley and a Gray-throated Leaftosser skulking in the shadows. For those more attracted to spectacles of movement and color, we turned to the diminutive Tufted Coquettes of Asa Wright’s gardens and the jaw-droppingly pink American Flamingos striding below the river of Scarlet Ibis at Caroni Swamp. Of course, how could we forget that vagrant Ring-billed Gull at Carli Bay (I’m only joking – just a little bit)!

In addition to our naturalist ambitions, we couldn’t help but learn about the human history of the multicultural mosaic that is Trinidad and Tobago from our local guides, and take in the food and music of this place. Any exploration of a place’s human culture is perhaps best undertaken within the context of natural history and biogeography. The Caribbean vibes of Trinidad and Tobago are undeniable, but the South American connection here is rather obvious with the mountains of Venezuela looming just west of Port-of-Spain. It was invigorating to be able to ponder these connections while eating Doubles (tasty dough-and-chick pea treats with an Indian-Trinidadian connection) on the streets of Sangre Chiquito, or listening to a steel pan band practicing for February’s Carnival in a pan yard in Arima.

Our local guides, Dave Ramlal on Trinidad and Jason Radix on Tobago, helped to make our birding outings fun and successful. I’d also like to thank each member of our traveling band of birders for your efforts toward making this a rewarding group birding experience for everyone.

Best birding and safe travels in 2020 and beyond!


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

Tinamidae (Tinamous)
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) – We heard the whistled calls of this forest skulker at AWNC and Waller Field. [*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – We saw a few flocks at freshwater wetlands on Tobago.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors) – Sixteen of these small migrant ducks were at the Bon Accord ponds.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
RUFOUS-VENTED CHACHALACA (Ortalis ruficauda) – Quite common in Tobago, with especially good views around the Blue Waters Inn. One of two national birds for T&T (Scarlet Ibis is the other).
Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
AMERICAN FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus ruber) – Flocks totaling 68 individuals were in Caroni Swamp during our boat trip. Fantastic views of these incredible, tall birds (a recent arrival/ addition to our tours here).
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Common only around towns. [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – The best views of these slim pigeons were on Tobago.

Our views of singing (GONG-ing?) male Bearded Bellbirds were simply spectacular. Photo by group member Holger Teichmann.

SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – Regular sightings around AWNC.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – Common in lowlands on both islands.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – The scope view at Orange Grove on Trinidad was our best look.
GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla) – Heard regularly in the Northern Range of Trinidad; we scoped one during the Oilbird walk at AWNC.
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata) – Common on Tobago - like a short-tailed Mourning Dove.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – These shaggy black cuckoos were common in open areas on both islands.
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) – We heard one singing at Nariva Swamp. [*]
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – Heard only this time. [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – Great views during our nightbirding expedition to Waller Field.
WHITE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis cayennensis) – It was exciting to hear and see displaying males at the old Waller Field airstrip.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) – A perch-hunting bird stuck around for good scope views at Waller Field.
Steatornithidae (Oilbird)
OILBIRD (Steatornis caripensis) – About ten were near the entrance to Dunston Cave below AWNC. Seeing these massive, nocturnal frugivores up close and personal is always a major highlight of a visit here.
Apodidae (Swifts)
CHESTNUT-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne rutila) – A few circled overhead at AWNC during the morning swift flights, showing off their rusty neck patches.
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura) – About 15 circled over us at the Main Ridge in Tobago.
BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus) – Reasonably common overhead in the Arima Valley on Trinidad, but it's tough to get a good view of that narrow pale rump strap!

These Bananaquits were raiding the bar at Blue Waters Inn when group member Mary Trombley caught them in the act.

GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris) – More common than Band-rumped Swift during our skywatching sessions at AWNC.
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis) – A nice sighting of two birds overhead at AWNC one morning during our swift watch. The sky panda!
FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata) – We saw dozens in the lowlands of Trinidad, including great views over the Mauritia palm grove at Waller Field.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – Wonderful views each day from the AWNC veranda.
RUFOUS-BREASTED HERMIT (Glaucis hirsutus) – Regular sightings at feeders and flowers at AWNC.
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) – This was the large, spike-tailed hermit that we saw a few times around AWNC.
LITTLE HERMIT (Phaethornis longuemareus) – A few nice sightings at flowers in the forest at AWNC.
BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae) – One of these large hummers was visiting the feeders at AWNC. This is a scarce resident in Trinidad's Northern Range.
RUBY-TOPAZ HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysolampis mosquitus) – A few birds entertained us at the edge of the golf course after lunch at Tobago Plantations.
GREEN-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax viridigula) – Several posed for excellent views along the edge of the canals at Caroni Swamp.
BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – Fairly common, with particularly nice views around the AWNC veranda.
TUFTED COQUETTE (Lophornis ornatus) – This gorgeous species was remarkably easy to observe around the gardens at AWNC - more common than on any of my previous visits.

This adult Red-billed Tropicbird was busy incubating, nearly at our feet, on Little Tobago Island. Photo by group member Lisa Holzapfel.

LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris) – Several great sightings around the AWNC veranda. That blue crown patch is remarkable when the light hits it just right.
BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes notata) – This hummingbird was a regular visitor in small numbers to the flowers around the AWNC veranda.
WHITE-TAILED SABREWING (Campylopterus ensipennis) – This large hummer was a highlight in the forest of the Main Ridge on Tobago.
WHITE-CHESTED EMERALD (Amazilia brevirostris) – One of the most common hummingbirds around the forest at AWNC.
COPPER-RUMPED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tobaci) – Common on both islands (including regularly at the feeders at AWNC).
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
MANGROVE RAIL (ATLANTIC) (Rallus longirostris pelodramus) – We heard one from the mangroves at Orange Valley, but couldn't coax it into view. [*]
GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus) – A pair was roosting over a canal at Caroni Swamp during our return boat trip at dusk.
SORA (Porzana carolina) – One of these familiar migrants from North America was wandering around the edge of a marshy pond at the Tobago Plantations.
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata) – We saw these waterbirds at Orange Valley on Trinidad and commonly in freshwater wetlands on Tobago.
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica) – Great sightings in freshwater wetlands on both islands, especially at Tobago Plantations.
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) – One was spotted in flight at Nariva Swamp.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – Fifteen of these widespread migrants were on the mudflats at Orange Valley.

While at Asa Wright Nature Centre, we were never far from the dazzling male White-necked Jacobins. Photo by group member Michael LaCombe.

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – Common in open habitats on both islands.
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) – Four were on mudflats at Orange Valley with other shorebirds.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana) – Common in freshwater wetlands.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – These common curlews were scattered on the mudflats of the Waterloo area of Trinidad.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – Dozens were on the rocks at Orange Valley and even in the restaurant at Blue Waters Inn on Tobago. The banded birds we encountered at Orange Valley were originally tagged in Delaware Bay, USA (during the springtime shorebird migration when thousands of birds feed on the eggs of horseshoe crabs).
RED KNOT (Calidris canutus) – We found seventeen of these scarce wintering shorebirds on the flats at Orange Valley (in their gray, not red, plumage).
STILT SANDPIPER (Calidris himantopus) – Nineteen were with the Little Egret in the watercourse at Trincity.
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – Just a few were with other shorebirds at Trincity.
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER (Calidris pusilla) – We picked out at least one from the big flock of Western Sandpipers at Orange Valley.
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri) – Hundreds were at Orange Valley, a traditional wintering site for the species.

This fuzzy grapefruit was the mammal highlight of the tour - a Silky Anteater! We actually saw two of these incredible animals on their day roosts in the Caroni Swamp mangroves. Photo by leader Tom Johnson.

SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus) – At least six were on the flats at Orange Valley.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – A common wintering species on both islands.
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) – These wintering sandpipers gave close views next to the road at Aripo Livestock Station.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – Repeated sightings of these widespread wintering shorebirds.
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata) – We saw a handful of these big, gray shorebirds on the flats at Brickfield and Orange Valley.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) – Three were with other shorebirds at Trincity.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla) – Hundreds in winter plumage were along the western coast of Trinidad.
RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis) – We found an immature with Laughing Gulls and Brown Pelicans on the flats at Carli Bay. This was perhaps the rarest species for T&T that we saw during our travels here.
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (GRAELLSII) (Larus fuscus graellsii) – One was with Laughing Gulls at Brickfield. The species is a long-distance migrant that winters farther south than other boreal species like Herring and Great Black-backed gulls.

Our walk along Gilpin Trace in the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve was eventually rewarded with this handsome male Blue-backed Manakin. Photo by group member Holger Teichmann.

ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus) – One flew past us during a scan of the flats at Brickfield.
BLACK SKIMMER (CINERASCENS) (Rynchops niger cinerascens) – Small groups were feeding in the Waterloo area - the dusky gray underwings are indicative of the cinerascens subspecies of northern and eastern South America.
Phaethontidae (Tropicbirds)
RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon aethereus) – Outstanding views of birds at the nesting colony of Little Tobago Island, including a close bird on a nest (essentially at our feet).
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – Common along the shorelines of both islands; at Little Tobago Island, we got to see these massive pirates chasing down tropicbirds and stealing fish.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
BROWN BOOBY (Sula leucogaster) – Excellent scope views, though they were outnumbered by Red-footed Boobies at the nesting colony on Little Tobago Island.
RED-FOOTED BOOBY (Sula sula) – We saw a mix of light and dark morph birds at the fantastic nesting colony at Little Tobago Island.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – These snakebirds were at Trincity and at freshwater wetlands on Tobago.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Small numbers were with Brown Pelicans along the western shore of Trinidad.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis) – Very common, especially along the western shore of Trinidad, with about 135 on the flats at Carli Bay.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – One was on the flats at Brickfield.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Common.

It's hard to stop smiling in Trinidad and Tobago, even early in the morning while getting ready for a birding departure! Photo by group member Lisa Holzapfel.

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – One individual with bluish-green facial skin gave us a great look in the scope at Trincity. Though it lacked distinctive head plumes, the facial skin and structure helped us work out this tough identification (with respect to separating Little from the more common Snowy Egret).
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Common on both islands.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – Common, with at least 55 in Caroni Swamp during the dusk flight.
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – About 200 flew in to roost during the dusk flight at Caroni Swamp on Trinidad.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Common on both islands.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – We saw small numbers in freshwater wetlands on Tobago.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – This was the common small heron that we found in wetlands on Trinidad.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Small numbers were roosting in wetlands on both islands.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – We saw these charismatic crab-eaters at wetlands on both islands.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
SCARLET IBIS (Eudocimus ruber) – Wow! The dusk flight at Caroni Swamp is always a major spectacle, but the sunlit evening flight was particularly impressive this time, with ~7200 birds arriving to roost as we sipped rum punch. It was also wonderful to hear the story of our boatman, Lester Nanan, about his family's involvement in the history of protecting Caroni Swamp.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Very common in the lowlands of Trinidad.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Common on Trinidad.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Scattered sightings on both islands.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis) – One distant sighting at AWNC; another, closer bird made a nice pass overhead at Temple Village.

This striking Black Hawk-Eagle floated overhead, whistling, during our day along the Blanchisseuse Road. Photo by leader Tom Johnson.

BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) – A superb, whistling adult came in close overhead during our skywatch at Las Lapas Trace in the Northern Range of Trinidad.
LONG-WINGED HARRIER (Circus buffoni) – One light morph bird made a distant pass in agricultural fields near Caroni.
COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus) – Common in Trinidad's Northern Range.
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – These long-legged raptors showed off repeatedly in open pasturelands and wetlands on Trinidad.
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – We saw these stunning hawks on several occasions in the Northern Range.
GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus) – A few sightings of this small hawk, including one immature bird in the scope near Nariva Swamp.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – One was overhead at AWNC; another two circled over at Little Tobago Island.
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – We saw this widespread Buteo a few times overhead in the Arima Valley.
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – Great views on a few occasions in the Arima Valley. It paid off to keep checking those "Turkey Vultures"!
Strigidae (Owls)
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – Though we heard these small owls daily at AWNC, our best view came of an individual being mobbed by songbirds in a bamboo patch in the lower Arima Valley.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis) – After walking back and forth a few times, we eventually had some wonderful views of a singing male at Morne Bleu. This is the largest species of trogon in T&T.

Manzanilla Beach was covered in these amazingly colored Portuguese Man-o'-wars during our lunchtime visit there, apparently a product of the easterly winds from the Atlantic. Photo by group member Mary Trombley.

GUIANAN TROGON (Trogon violaceus) – We found these beautiful, small trogons on several occasions around AWNC.
COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) – Two males were along the road right at the crest of the Blanchisseuse Road in the Northern Range.
Momotidae (Motmots)
TRINIDAD MOTMOT (Momotus bahamensis) – We savored repeated excellent views of these lovely birds during our time in the forests of Tobago. They are particularly common in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve. [E]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – One was wintering at the Tobago Plantations.
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – The group enjoyed one of these tiny hunters (the smallest New World kingfisher) along a canal at Nariva Swamp.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – One perched up for scope views along a canal at Carli Bay.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – Repeated excellent views (best at Morne Lacroix and on the Tobago Main Ridge) of these loud perch-hunters.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus) – This is the only toucan species on the islands - we saw these superbly handsome birds a few times in the forest canopy at AWNC and also along the Blanchisseuse Road.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus) – A common sight and sound on Tobago.
RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Dryobates kirkii) – Two showed for us in the forest edge at Morne Lacroix.

When seeking songbirds, we usually focus on the males because they're vocal and conspicuous; this female Black-crested Antshrike was pretty spectacular as we watched her at the edge of the mangroves near the Nariva River mouth. Photo by group member Holger Teichmann.

CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos) – Great views of this big woodpecker (in the same genus as the Ivory-bill!) in the late afternoon at Morne Lacroix.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – These widespread and common large woodpeckers showed off a few times at AWNC and also at Morne Lacroix.
GOLDEN-OLIVE WOODPECKER (Colaptes rubiginosus) – Repeated views of these beautiful forest flickers (yep, it's in the same genus as our Northern Flicker) around AWNC.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima) – These small caracaras put in several appearances, both in the lowlands of Trinidad and also at the seabird colony at Little Tobago Island.
MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – A quick flyby in Trincity on our final evening was just glimpsed by a few.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – A few of these impressive aerial predators cruised past during our time at Tobago. It was entertaining to watch one adult at the seabird colony on Little Tobago as it got cozy on a rock ledge.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
LILAC-TAILED PARROTLET (Touit batavicus) – A flock of about fifteen birds zipped over, chattering, as we skywatched from Las Lapas Trace. This tiny parrot is rarely seen perched here (or anywhere!).
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus) – Six came in to the small town of Morne Lacroix late in the afternoon, offering us great views.
ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica) – These were the Amazon parrots that we saw regularly on both islands. Loud and conspicuous!

Here we are at Caroni Swamp, about to set out on our mangrove and Scarlet Ibis adventure! Photo by group member Lisa Holzapfel.

GREEN-RUMPED PARROTLET (Forpus passerinus) – We watched these tiny, cute parrots up close and personal on both islands, with especially good views on Mexico Road.
BLUE-AND-YELLOW MACAW (Ara ararauna) – Wow - the reintroduction project at Nariva Swamp on Trinidad seems to be working. We saw 23 of these massive, colorful parrots late in the afternoon as they flew in to feed on palm fruits.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – Good views of this red-eyed beauty below the AWNC veranda.
BLACK-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus canadensis) – These expressive antshrikes strutted their stuff in the edge of the mangrove forest near the mouth of the Nariva River.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – Common on both islands; particularly showy around the AWNC veranda.
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis) – We heard them well, but saw one just briefly in the canopy of the Main Ridge Forest Reserve at Gilpin Trace.
WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (Formicivora grisea) – These confiding antwrens showed on several occasions during our time on Tobago.
SILVERED ANTBIRD (Sclateria naevia) – Wow - the pair that we saw in the mangroves at the Nariva River Mouth was simply splendid.
WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza longipes) – Heard only this time. [*]
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis) – Heard in the forests of Trinidad's Northern Range. [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
GRAY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus albigularis) – Yip yip! One perched up for an open view for an extended period in the forest at AWNC.
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus) – A few sightings of this tiny woodcreeper in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve of Tobago.

The star of the Asa Wright veranda was this male Tufted Coquette. He repeatedly perched at eye level and allowed us to see every single feather. Photo by group member Holger Teichmann.

COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) – We finally caught up to this mid-sized woodcreeper in the edge of mangrove forest at the boardwalk at the Tobago Plantations.
STRAIGHT-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Dendroplex picus) – We had repeated, excellent views of these lovely woodcreepers in the mangroves of Caroni Swamp (where they feed on tree crabs).
YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus) – This was the spinetail that showed nicely in the pastures of the Aripo Livestock Station.
STRIPE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis cinnamomea) – This was the furtive spinetail that we found near the ground along Gilpin Trace at the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
SOUTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma obsoletum) – We scoped this small flycatcher with the big voice in the car park at AWNC.
FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii) – The best view of this small flycatcher was at the edge of the forest next to the AWNC veranda.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – Especially conspicuous along forest edges on Tobago, though we saw it on both islands.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus) – One was feeding on Trema fruits in the same tree as the Speckled Tanagers along the Blanchisseuse Road.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus) – This wing-flipping flycatcher feeds on fruit; we saw it several times around the gardens at AWNC.
NORTHERN SCRUB-FLYCATCHER (Sublegatus arenarum) – This species is fairly scarce on Trinidad, so we were pleased to find it in mangroves near the mouth of the Nariva River.
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens) – One was near the veranda at AWNC.

Even though this rare Little Egret (from Europe/ Africa) lacked its distinctive head plumes, we were able to identify it based on structure, the straight chest plumes, and the blue-green facial skin. Photo by leader Tom Johnson.

YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris) – A common voice on both islands - we had especially good views of this Tolmomyias near the Blue Waters Inn and at Bon Accord, on Tobago.
WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus) – One at Gilpin Trace on Tobago was a welcome sight - this adorable, tiny flycatcher is scarce and typically hard to spot. Thanks Jason!
BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus) – At least two were in scrubby edge habitat at Waller Field.
EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri) – We heard one calling behind a patch of bamboo along the Discovery Trail at AWNC, but couldn't spot it this time. [*]
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – One of these stocky, wintering flycatchers was singing "Quick, three beers!" from the forest canopy at AWNC.
FUSCOUS FLYCATCHER (Cnemotriccus fuscatus) – Excellent views along a side trail at the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve.
PIED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola pica) – These conspicuous flycatchers were building nests along the edges of the ponds at Orange Grove.
WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala) – Excellent views in wet pasture and at Nariva Swamp on Trinidad.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – A pair gave a good show in the subcanopy near the fruiting fig tree at AWNC.
VENEZUELAN FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus venezuelensis) – We found this highly vocal Myiarchus high up in the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – This big, talkative flycatcher was seen very well several times on Tobago.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Very common on Trinidad.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Excellent views of a pair in the forest at AWNC near the fruiting fig tree.

Group member Delle Daniels captured this evocative scene at Little Tobago Island as a Red-footed Booby flew past the overlook.

SULPHURY FLYCATCHER (Tyrannopsis sulphurea) – These scratchy-voiced flycatchers were conspicuous in the Mauritia palm swamp at Waller Field.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Common on both islands.
GRAY KINGBIRD (Tyrannus dominicensis) – Seen on both islands, but especially conspicuous in the southwestern portion of Tobago.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
BEARDED BELLBIRD (Procnias averano) – We enjoyed a world class experience watching these strange cotingas on the Discovery Trail at AWNC. The opportunity to see bellbirds up close is one of the major attractions of Asa Wright Nature Centre (in addition to the veranda experience and fantastic Oilbirds).
Pipridae (Manakins)
BLUE-BACKED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia pareola) – Splendid views of these striking manakins in the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve.
WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN (Manacus manacus) – Displaying birds were showing off in the late morning and afternoon in the forest at AWNC.
GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala) – Several birds gathered in a fruiting fig tree at AWNC, making this species easier to find than usual here.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-TAILED TITYRA (Tityra cayana) – Good treetop views in the scope at AWNC.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (NORTHERN) (Cyclarhis gujanensis flavipectus) – Though we heard them just about everywhere in Trinidad, these stocky vireos were challenging to see. We had some nice views in the mangroves at Caroni Swamp.
SCRUB GREENLET (TOBAGO) (Hylophilus flavipes insularis) – These small vireos are quite common across Tobago, and we saw them well a few times.
GOLDEN-FRONTED GREENLET (Pachysylvia aurantiifrons saturata) – Quick views of these canopy-dwellers on Trinidad.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – These were the brown, pale-rumped swallows with buffy throats that we saw regularly in forest edge habitats on Trinidad.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – The common Progne martin on Trinidad; we saw them repeatedly.

This fun portrait by group member Mary Trombley really highlights the crown and pale iris of this gorgeous male Golden-headed Manakin. We saw quite a few of these little stunners attending a fruiting fig tree at Asa Wright Nature Centre.

WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer) – These water-loving swallows were fairly common around freshwater marshes and ponds on Trinidad.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – The Long-winged Harrier fields also hosted a wintering flock of these long-distance migrants.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – A common sound (and sight) on both islands.
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus rutilus) – It took some patience, but we eventually saw this vine-lover along the Blanchisseuse Road and above the driveway at AWNC. The Trinidad subspecies usually ends its bright, cheery song with a trill.
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus tobagensis) – We heard the song (with its abrupt ending) of this Tobago subspecies well during the morning in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – Brief views in the forest canopy of Trinidad of this trilling vine-creeper.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
COCOA THRUSH (Turdus fumigatus) – A common thrush around the AWNC grounds.
YELLOW-LEGGED THRUSH (Turdus flavipes xanthoscelus) – We heard the disjointed song of this uncommon species near the big Trema tree along the Blanchisseuse Road one morning. [*]
WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (GRAY-FLANKED) (Turdus albicollis phaeopygoides) – These forest thrushes posed nicely for views along the Discovery Trail at AWNC.
SPECTACLED THRUSH (Turdus nudigenis) – This was the only thrush that was regularly visiting the fruit feeders at AWNC during our visit - that "scrambled egg" bare eye patch is a bit startling to see!
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – Common and conspicuous on both islands.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
TRINIDAD EUPHONIA (Euphonia trinitatis) – In the lower Arima Valley, we found at least three of these euphonias giving their plaintive "dee dee" calls near a singing Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl.
VIOLACEOUS EUPHONIA (Euphonia violacea) – Common in forests throughout our tour, but our best views were clearly on the feeding tables at AWNC.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Leistes militaris) – Several were calling and showing off their colors in the grasslands of the Aripo Livestock Station.
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus) – These huge, striking blackbirds were setting up shop for the breeding season during our tour. We got to see their woven sock nests in various stages of construction as well as the outrageous pendulum display of singing males.

We watched huge flocks of Scarlet Ibis in a roost flight at Caroni Swamp on our final full day on Trinidad - this evening, over 7,000 ibis came in to roost before we headed back to the dock! Photo by group member Michael LaCombe.

YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus cela) – We visited a few colonies of these social blackbirds during our time in Trinidad.
EPAULET ORIOLE (MORICHE) (Icterus cayanensis chrysocephalus) – A striking adult (mostly black with small yellow highlights) sat up and sang and called just before dusk in a Mauritia palm swamp near Waller Field. This species is quite rare in Trinidad.
YELLOW ORIOLE (Icterus nigrogularis) – Pairs showed off at Mexico Road and Carli Bay in Trinidad.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – Close studies of males and females in the livestock paddocks at the Aripo Livestock Station.
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – The most memorable experience was at the side-by-side colonies of Yellow-rumped Caciques and Crested Oropendolas in Brasso Seco. We watched as the female cowbirds entered oropendola nests, apparently keeping track of the contents so they can lay their own eggs in the nests at the correct moment.
CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris) – Widespread and abundant in human-altered habitats.
YELLOW-HOODED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus icterocephalus) – We saw this flocking species on just a few occasions on Trinidad, though it was tough to get a good look in the tall grasses.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – A fairly common wintering species on both islands, especially in the mangroves of Caroni Swamp.
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – This northern migrant was scattered around in low numbers in the forests of Trinidad.

Our visit to Nariva Swamp was rewarded with close flybys of these dramatic Blue-and-yellow Macaws. The species has benefitted from a reintroduction program in Trinidad. Photo by leader Tom Johnson.

TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – A singing male showed off but stayed quite high above us along Blanchisseuse Road.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – Seen regularly in the lowlands of Trinidad.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
MASKED CARDINAL (Paroaria nigrogenis) – The one that Dave knows well at Caroni Swamp was a real beauty!
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus) – A common feeder visitor at AWNC - the black males and cinnamon females don't look like they should belong to the same species, but they do!
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo magnirostris) – Fairly common and vocally conspicuous in the mornings around AWNC.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (BLUE-GRAY) (Thraupis episcopus nesophila) – This was the subspecies that we saw on Trinidad.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (BLUE-GRAY) (Thraupis episcopus berlepschi) – This is the more intense blue version of the Blue-gray Tanager that we found on Tobago.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Common and widespread.
SPECKLED TANAGER (Ixothraupis guttata) – One or two were visiting a large fruiting Trema tree on the Blanchisseuse Road.
TURQUOISE TANAGER (Tangara mexicana) – We found these handsome tanagers regularly around AWNC and elsewhere in the Northern Range. Oddly, despite the scientific species name being mexicana, this species is found nowhere near Mexico.

Birding in Trinidad is very civilized - at the appointed hour, juice, rum punch, and tea cakes are distributed to celebrate a grand day of birding. Here, local guide Dave Ramlal pours the punch! Photo by group member Mary Trombley.

BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – This frugivore was fairly common in canopy flocks in northern Trinidad.
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana) – Just a few sightings in canopy flocks in Trinidad's Northern Range.
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus) – One of the spectacular birds that we became very familiar with at the AWNC feeders during our time on the veranda.
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus) – We waited until we got to Tobago to find this canopy species, but had some good views on a flowering tree on the Main Ridge.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – One of the familiar fruit feeder birds at AWNCR - gorgeous! The female is actually green, while the male is a variable iridescent aqua color.
BICOLORED CONEBILL (Conirostrum bicolor) – Excellent views in the scope (!) of a bird in the mangroves at Orange Valley.
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola) – These yellow-finches were along the western shore of Trinidad at Brickfield and Carli Bay.
GRASSLAND YELLOW-FINCH (Sicalis luteola) – These finches were easy to find at the Aripo Livestock Station. This is the location where AWNC guide Mahase Ramlal and Field Guides leader Megan Crewe first confirmed the species in Trinidad over 10 years ago.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – Common in grassy areas in the lowlands.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Ubiquitous!
BLACK-FACED GRASSQUIT (Tiaris bicolor) – Fairly common on Tobago.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild) – We found a small flock of this established Estrildid in the fields of Orange Grove on Trinidad. [I]

LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso) – Also known as Proboscis Bat, this is the species we saw roosting on a mangrove trunk in Caroni Swamp.
PALLAS'S LONG-TONGUED BAT (Glossophaga soricina) – This is the species that feeds on the hummingbird feeders by night at Asa Wright Nature Centre.
MILLER'S LONG-TONGUED BAT (Glossophaga longirostris) – These were the bats that have adopted the house on Little Tobago Island.

An exclamation of "The Tufted Coquette is back!" resulted in this scene on the veranda at Asa Wright Nature Centre as birders gathered to admire the tiny hummingbird star. Photo by leader Tom Johnson.

SAC-WINGED BAT SP. (Saccopteryx sp.) – It's possible that we saw both Greater and Lesser white-lined bats around Trinidad's Northern Range, but we just saw them in flight this time. Precise field identification is a real challenge with this group of bats.
SILKY ANTEATER (Cyclopes didactylus) – Two of these fine, peach-colored mammals were wrapped up on day-roosts in the mangroves of Caroni Swamp. This is a hard animal to find throughout its range. Excellent!
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – A few posed in the Main Ridge of Tobago.
RED-RUMPED AGOUTI (Dasyprocta agouti) – We saw these large, goofy rodents at AWNC and again at Blue Waters Inn in Tobago.
SMALL INDIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes auropunctatus) – This is the taxon of Mongoose that we saw scoot across the road in front of us in the lowlands of Trinidad. [I]


Other animals of note:

Eyespot Gecko - on Little Tobago Island

Green Iguana

Giant Ameiva - common around AWNC

Cryptic Golden Tegu - attending feeders at AWNC

Tree Boa - roosting in mangroves at Caroni Swamp

Boa constrictor - a 4-footer crossing the road at night

Spectacled Caiman

Green Turtle - in the mangrove cove at Tobago Plantations

Totals for the tour: 215 bird taxa and 8 mammal taxa