Birding the Americas Trip Report and Planning Repository
Return to the Main Index

Return to the South America Index
Return to the Trinidad and Tobago Index


8-22 July 2004

by George Livingston

This was a family trip with my parents and brother. We rented a car on both islands and drove to each establishment we stayed in. The birding I undertook was almost exclusively in either rainforest or secondary growth, except for several brief visits to Nariva Swamp and Bucco Marsh. Aside from driving on T&T’s roads, the trip was enjoyable and I would recommend a visit during this period of the year.  


Rain came in short <30 min bursts most days that were never a hindrance to birding. Humidity and heat were nearly unbearable if without shade for any significant period at midday. Morning and evening were pleasant.


Birded for several hours one afternoon with Nicholas from the sea turtle monitoring facility in Grand Riviere. If you are looking for Trinidad Piping-guan, he can help you locate a reliable location or contact me. However, I am a bit concerned about possible disturbance at this site. Otherwise, I was own my own.


Except for a general attempt by many locals in  the more urban areas to force some service upon you, we didn’t encounter any problems whatsoever.


Mosquitoes were a problem only at dawn and dusk in most areas. If you find yourself sweating much at all, DEET lasts only about and hour and a half. Wearing pants and reapplying DEET on your arms and hat often will minimize bits. Chiggers were not encountered.


Boots and an umbrella is all you need. A rain poncho is unbearable. I also brought a spotting scope which was useful on several occasions.


-Do stay at one of the Paria Springs Eco. Comm. Houses in Brasso Seco.

-Do stay at Mt. Plaisir Est. in Grand Riviere.

-Do stay at Cuffie River Nature Retreat.

-Don’t stay at Bel Air International.

-Don’t use Econo rentals.

Books taken:

Insight Guide to T&T  --  Don’t use, Rough Guide far better.

A Birder’s Guide to T&T -- Old edition (1995), is now updated, still was very useful.

A Guide to the Birds of T&T -- Plates useful in field for most species and text is good, for more difficult ID’s consult Hilty.  

Birds of Venezuela -- Excellent, though large, it was a great supplement to the above.

A Neotropical Companion -- Great resource on tropical ecology and other topics.

Trip List Legend Codes:

GR: Grand Riviere

BS: Brasso Seco or the road leading to it

B: Blanchisseuse Road, mostly the higher portion, and adjacent side roads and trails

N: Nariva Swamp

PA: Piarco Airport

ASA: Asa Wright

CU: Cuffie River Nature Retreat and vicinity

BM: Bucco Marsh  

Bird list with locations and abundance (excluding some of the more common species):

1. Little Tinamou--2, GR (heard only)

2. Least Grebe--1, BM

3. Brown Pelican

4. Magnificent Frigatebird

5. Little Blue Heron--1, Arnos Vale

6. Green Heron--2, BM

7. Striated Heron--1, N

8. Cattle Egret

9. Black bellied-whistling Duck--5, BM

10. Black Vulture

11. Turkey Vulture

12. Pearl Kite--1, N

13. A. Swallow-tailed Kite--1, B

14. Gray-headed Kite--1, BS

15. Plumbeous Kite--2, B, 2, N

16. Zone-tailed Hawk--1, B

17. Gray Hawk--1, ASA

18. White Hawk--1, BS

19. Savanna Hawk--1, N

20. Common Black-hawk--1, BS, 1, N

21. Yellow-headed Caracara--1, N

ÃwŒë  ace="Times New Roman" size=3>22. Rufous-vented Chachalaca

23. Trinidad Piping-guan--5, GR (heard only as they came in to roost 45 min after sunset)

24. Common Moorhen--4, BM

25 Wattled Jacana--2, N, 2, BM

26. Southern Lapwing--3, PA, 2, GR

27. Laughing Gull--2, GR, 10, Tobago

28. Royal Tern--1, Arnos Vale

29. Rock Pigeon

30. Scaled Pigeon--3, BS, 1, GR

31. Pale-vented Pigeon--2, CU

32. Eared Dove--1, CU

33. Ruddy-ground Dove--8, BS

34 White-tipped Dove--1, B, 20+, CU

35. Gray-fronted Dove--4, BS

36. Green-rumped Parrotlet--6, N, 4, CU

37. Lilac-tailed Parrotlet--30, BS

38. Blue-headed Parrot--3, B (heard only)

39. Orange-winged Parrot

40. Squirrel Cuckoo--1, N, 1, GR

41. Greater Ani--2, B

42. Smooth-billed Ani--1, BS, 1, CU

43. Spectacled Owl--1, B

44. Common Potoo--1, CU (heard only)

45. White-tailed Nightjar--3, CU, 1, BM

46. White-collared Swift--3, GR

47. Chestnut-collared Swift--4, GR

48. Gray-rumped Swift--10, BS

49. Band-rumped Swift--15, BS

50. Short-tailed Swift--15, GR

51. Rufous-breasted Hermit

52. Green Hermit--3, BS, 1, ASA

53. Little Hermit--1, BS, 1, ASA

54. White-necked Jacobin--10, ASA, 6, CU

55. Green-throated Mango--2, N

56. Black-throated Mango--1, BS

57. Ruby-topaz Hummingbird--3, CU

58. Blue-chinned Sapphire--1, ASA

59. White-chested Emerald--1, ASA, 1, GR

60. Copper-rumped Hummingbird

61. White-tailed Trogon--1, BS, 1, ASA, 1, GR

62. Collared Trongon--2, B, 1, CU

63. Violaceous Trogon--1, ASA, 1, GR

64. Ringed Kingfisher--1, N (female, N. end of swamp)

65. Green Kingfisher--1, N, 1, GR

66. Blue-crowned Motmot--1, B, 8, CU

67. Rufous-tailed Jacamar--1, GR, 15, CU

68. Channel-billed Toucan--2, BS, 2, GR

69. Golden-olive Woodpecker--3, BS

70. Lineated Woodpecker--2, GR

71. Red-crowned Woodpecker--2, BM, 2, CU

72. Red-rumped Woodpecker--1, BS

73. Plain-brown Woodcreeper--1, BS

74. Buff-throated Woodcreeper--1, CU

75. Stripe-breasted Spinetail--1, B

76. Streaked Xenops--1, ASA, 1, BS

77. Gray-throated Leaftosser--1, CU

78. Great Antshrike--1, BS, 2, GR

79. Barred Antshrike

80. Black-crested Antshrike--2, N

81. Plain Antvireo--1, CU

82. White-flanked Antwren--1, B, 1, GR

83. White-fringed Antwren--3, CU

84. Silvered Antbird--1, N

85. White-bellied Antbird--1, GR (heard only)

86. Black-faced Antthrush--2, B (heard only)

87. Bearded Bellbird--2, ASA, 2, BS

88. Golden-headed Manakin--3, BS, 1, GR

89. White-bearded Manakin--8, ASA

90. Blue-backed Manakin--11, CU

91. Tropical Kingbird

92. Gray Kingbird--2, CU

93. Boat-billed Flycatcher--1, ASA, 4, BS

94. Streaked Flycatcher--6, CU

95. Great Kiskadee

96. Brown-crested Flycatcher--3, CU

97. Venezuelan Flycatcher--3, CU

98. Tropical Pewee--10, BS

99. Fuscous Flycatcher--1, CU

100. White-throated Spadebill--1, CU

101. Yellow-breasted Flycatcher--1, GR

102. Yellow-bellied Elaenia--2, BS

103. Southern Beardless-tyrannulet--1, GR

104. Slaty-capped Flycatcher--1, B, 2, GR

105. Ochre-bellied Flycatcher--3, GR, 4, CU

106. Black-tailed Tityra--1, ASA, 2, GR

107. White-winged Swallow--6, GR

108. Caribbean Martin--3, CU

109. Gray-breasted Martin--2, GR

110. Southern Rough-winged Swallow--5, B

111. Rufous-breasted Wren

112. House Wren

113. Tropical Mockingbird

114. Long-billed Gnatwren--1, ASA, 1, GR

115. Cocoa Thrush--3, BS, 1, ASA, 3, CU

116. Bare-eyed Thrush

117. White-necked Thrush--1, ASA, 3, CU

118. Rufous-browed Peppershrike

119. Red-eyed (Chivi) Vireo

120. Golden-fronted Greenlet

121. Scrub Greenlet

122. Shiny Cowbird--1, ASA, 2, CU

123. Crested Oropendola--2, ASA, 40, BS, 10, GR

124. Carib Grackle--1, BS

125. Yellow Oriole--1, BS

126. Golden-crowned Warbler--1, BS

127. Bananaquit

128. Purple Honeycreeper--5, BS, 6, ASA,

129. Red-legged Honeycreeper--2, ASA

130. Green Honeycreeper--8, ASA, 10, BS, B

131. Blue Dacnis--1, GR

132. Trinidad Euphonia--2, GR (heard only)

133. Violaceous Euphonia

134. Speckled Tanager--2, B

135. Turquoise Tanager--4, BS, 2, GR

136. Bay-headed Tanager--20, BS, B, ASA

137. Blue-gray Tanager

138. Palm Tanager

139. Silver-beaked Tanager

140. White-lined Tanager--1, BS, 2, B, 1, GR

141. White-shouldered Tanager--20, BS, B, GR

142. Grayish Saltator--1, BS

143. Blue-black Grassquit

144. Black-faced Grassquit

Possible Sightings:

Red-billed Tropicbird-Several distant birds of the coast from Grand Riviere


A Stripe-breasted Spinetail was observed building a nest in the midstory level along Blanchissuese Road. Many juveniles were sighted and flocks of family groups were a common sight, as were larger mixed species feeding flocks with juveniles present. Nectar feeders rarely flocked, except when the odd tree was in flower (as some were).

Other Wildlife:

Red-howler Monkey--GR



House Gecko

Unk. yellow striped/black snake

Unk. brown racer sp.

Leatherback Turtle--GR (Nesting at night)

Tiger Lizard

Bat sp.

Army Ants, Leafcutter Ants

Terrestrial Land Crab Sp.  


If you have any questions feel free to email me at

George Livingston
Bellevue ID

Birding Top 500 Counter