Trinidad & Tobago is the perfect place for a first-time exposure to birding the New World Tropics. Members of almost all of the South American bird families are found here and unlike in many of their mainland haunts, the birds of T & T are easy to photograph and seem to have little fear of people. It is often said that a first timer to the islands will add thirty species to their life list before breakfast. With over 430 species, a warm West Indian climate, excellent food and rich island culture, these twin islands are a perfect destination for any nature lover.
Our Venture will spend seven nights on the Island of Trinidad and three on Tobago. While on Trinidad we will stay one night on the north coast in Grand Riviere, perfectly positioning us to see find the critically-endangered Trinidad Piping-Guan, one of two T&T endemics. The rest of the week is spent at the famed Asa Wright Nature Lodge, home of the Bearded Bellbird, one of the loudest birds in the world. From the veranda we’ll be able to view the morning flurry of activity around the fruit and hummingbird feeders, frequented by Silver-beaked, White-lined, and Blue-gray Tanagers, Purple and Green Honeycreepers, and White-necked Jacobin, Blue-chinned Sapphire, Long-billed Starthroat, and White-chested Hummingbirds. The incredible Tufted Coquette is often seen buzzing around the verbena in the gardens as well! From our base we will take a number of day trips to explore a variety of habitats, from the grasslands of Aripo Savannah to the freshwater marshes of Nariva. How about an afternoon cruise through the mangroves of Caroni Swamp, where we will watch thousands of Scarlet Ibis fly across from Venezuela to their evening roost? We will watch the Red-bellied Macaws come in to their night roost at Nariva and search the Atlantic shoreline for the bizarre four-eyed fish. We will spend ample time in the wonderful forests surrounding Asa Wright watching Golden-headed and White-bearded Manakins on the lek and of course visit Dunstan Cave, where we find the most accessible Oilbird colony in the world.
On Tobago, we bird Gilpin Trace looking for Blue-backed Manakin and Yellow-legged Thrush, while the once hard-to-find White-tailed Sabrewing frequents the feeders at our lodge. One of the highlights will surely be our day trip out to Little Tobago Island in a glass-bottom boat, where Red-billed Tropicbirds, Brown and Red-footed Boobies will be nesting. Our base will be the delightful Cuffie River Lodge & Nature Retreat, where we will find Trinidad Motmot (the 2nd T & T endemic), Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Rufous-vented Chachalaca, and White-fringed Antwren.
Some of the Birds We Hope to See
Trinidad Piping-Guan, Trinidad Motmot, Scarlet Ibis, Double-toothed Kite, White Hawk, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Scaled Pigeon, Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, Blue-headed Parrot, Red-bellied Macaw, Green Hermit, Long-billed Starthroat, White-necked Jacobin, Tufted Coquette; White-tailed and Violaceous Trogons; Streaked Xenops; Great Antshrike; Black-faced Antthrush; White-bellied Antbird; Blue-backed Manakin; Bearded Bellbird; Trinidad Euphonia; Rufous-browed Peppershrike; Bare-eyed and Yellow-legged Thrushes; Green & Purple Honeycreepers; Oilbird, and many, many more.