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A Birdwatcher’s Paradise


Bavina Sookdeo

February 16, 2024

T&T boasts of lush landscapes and diverse ecosystems, standing as a captivating haven for birdwatching enthusiasts.

Birdwatcher/photographer Wendell SJ Reyes highlights the elusive Trinidad Piping Guan, an endemic species drawing birders worldwide. Other rarities include the Blue-capped Tanager, Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush, Rufous-shafted Woodstar, and the rarely spotted Striped Owl in Tobago. “The Ruby Topaz, Tufted Coquette, Collared Trogon, Purple and Red-legged Honeycreeper, Trinidad Motmot, Scaled Doves, Golden-headed Manakin, Bearded Bellbird are a few of the true beauties of the avian world that can be enjoyed right here in sweet T&T” Reyes shared.

For birdwatching enthusiasts, Reyes recommended the best times of the year, emphasising late December to June for optimal sightings of forest birds in their prime plumage. He stressed the importance of local guides for serious birdwatchers.

Melissa Narine, an experienced tour guide of Palance 868 Adventures Limited, shared details of some birdwatching sites across both islands

Caroni Bird Sanctuary in the Caroni Swamp

A designated Ramsar site (a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, also known as “The Convention on Wetlands”), this is home to a vast population of Scarlet Ibis, herons, egrets, and Flamingoes at certain times of the year.  Declared a prohibited area in 1953 under the Forests Act, Chapter 66:01. Visitors should adhere to the guidelines of tour operators and maintain a respectful distance from the birds.
Accessible via boat tours.

Asa Wright Nature Centre

A renowned eco-resort in a rainforest habitat with hummingbirds, trogons, and motmots.
Accessible from the Arima-Blanchisseuse Road.

Nariva Swamp and the Bush Bush Wildlife Sanctuary in Nariva

Protected area with diverse habitats and species, including the secretive Agami Heron. A permit is required to visit the Swamp which can be obtained from the Forestry Department at St Joseph.
Located in eastern Trinidad, accessible by car.

Pointe-à-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust

Home to various waterfowl species, including ducks and waders.
Located in Pointe-à-Pierre, accessible by car.

Pax Guest House

Offers guided birding tours in the Northern Range.
Located on Mt St Benedict Road, Tunapuna, accessible by car.


A hummingbird sanctuary where visitors can observe several species up close.
Located in Maracas Valley, accessible by car.


A former airbase with open grasslands, excellent for grassland and raptor species.
Located in the Northern Range, accessible by car.

Buccoo Swamp

A Ramsar site with waterfowl, herons, and the iconic Scarlet Ibis.
Located near Buccoo Bay, accessible by car from Crown Point, TOBAGO.

Little Tobago Island

A seabird sanctuary home to Red-billed Tropicbirds and other species such as Audubon’s Shearwaters, Brown Boobies, Red-footed Boobies, Brown Noddies, Laughing Gulls, Red-billed Tropicbirds, and Sooty Terns.
Accessible by boat tour from Speyside, TOBAGO.

Miss Mills Trace Bird Watching Site

Boasts of native avian species such as the Trinidad motmot, the streak flycatcher, the blue-backed manakin, and more.
Accessible by car along the Roxborough–Parlatuvier Road, TOBAGO.

Roxborough Dam

A tranquil setting amidst lush landscapes and pristine waters, the dam serves as a habitat for various species, including Shorebirds, Ducks, and Anhingas. Along the wires leading to the dam, you can spot Caribbean Martins. You may observe a diverse array of birds, including Rufous-tailed Jacamars, Collared Trogons, Flycatchers, Motmots, Hummingbirds, and Tanagers in surrounding forests.
Near Roxborough, accessible by car from Scarborough, TOBAGO.

Gilpin Trace Bird Watching Site

A haven for bird enthusiasts in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve. The Main Ridge Forest Reserve was declared a Crown Reserve in 1776 making it the oldest legally protected forest reserve in the Western Hemisphere established for conservation. Respect the reserve’s guidelines.
Accessible by car along the Roxborough–Parlatuvier Road, TOBAGO.

Adventure Farm and Nature Reserve

One of the premier destinations for witnessing the vibrant hummingbirds such as the Ruby Topaz and diverse avian life of the Caribbean.
Located in Plymouth, Tobago, accessible by car from Scarborough, TOBAGO.

Flagstaff Hill Bird Watching Site

Provides panoramic views and opportunities to spot raptors.
Accessible by car, off the road between Charlotteville and Speyside, TOBAGO.