2019: Trinidad and Tobago “Home!” Birds from the Backyard and Front Porch – Part One.

April 2022 is upon us. Where has the time gone? It has been almost 3 years since I visited my family back home. The “Pandemic” event of the past 2 years has impacted domestic travel but put a halt on most, if not all. international travel.

This blog will be centered around my 2019 trip home to Trinidad and Tobago.

It is good to be Home!  Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic republic in the southern Caribbean between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela. 

The islands of Trinidad and Tobago is home to the extreme northernmost outcrop of the mighty Andes mountain range and it sits on the edge of the South American continental shelf, with lush remnant forests and rolling mountain ranges, from a birding perspective, these mountain ranges are a complete treasure trove for various migrant species. Trinidad and Tobago is roughly 1980 sq miles, but don’t be fooled by the size, as it is home to 490 species of birds, of which more than 220 species claim Trinidad as their breeding grounds and over 100 species breed in Tobago.

From day 1 thru day 5, having not seen my family in years, I did most of the birding, from the comfort of the front porch, of the home I grew up in.

The “Blue jean” is the common name for the Blue-gray Tanager.

Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus

A curious “sikye” which is the common name in Trinidad, is known worldwide as the Bananquit or Sugar-bird.

Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola)

What’s with Kingbirds anyway, no matter the longitude or latitude, they seem to be always perched on a wire.

Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Amongst the locals in Trinidad, every hawk is enderaingly referred to as a “Chicken hawk.”

Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)

Another bird on a wire, this species has a very melodic vocalization. Local names in Trinidad and Tobago include ‘Parson’, and ‘Singing Angel’; on these islands, the species is highly valued for its whistling ability.

“Male” White-lined Tanager (Tachyphonus rufus) 
“Female” White-lined Tanager (Tachyphonus rufus) 

Mr and Mrs Barred Antshrike aka King and Queen of skulking (keeping out of sight)

“Female” Barred Antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus)
Male-Barred Antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus)

This next image, would not have happened if my sister, did not point it out. The upperparts are bronze-green with the rump being a coppery bronze. The head and underparts are bright green. The thighs are white. The tail is black. The bill is straight, long and dusky colored with the lower mandible pinkish. Both sexes are similar. Their size is approximately 3.5 inches (8.7 cm) and weighs just under 5 grams

 Copperrumped hummingbird (Saucerottia tobaci

Known commonly as the small corn bird, the Yellow Oriole (Icterus nigrogularis.) Orioles are symbols of joy and positivity.

Yellow Oriole (Icterus nigrogularis)

Olivascens saltador (Saltator olivascens) know locally as the Caribbean Grey Saltator. There really isn’t much data on this species. So I collected data from eBird – Fairly common, but often retiring, in tropical lowlands of both drier and more humid areas in northern South America. Occurs from sea level to around 1,500 m elevation. Favors forest edge, second growth thickets, hedges, and tangles, especially with morning glory flowers, which it munches quietly. 

Olivascens Saltador (Saltator olivascens

The Great Kiskadee –  It is a large tyrant flycatcher, the only member of the genus Pitangus.

Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus)

Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum) can be found in Nicaragua south to Bolivia, Paraguay and southern Brazil. Also seen in Trinidad and, since 1962, on Tobago. In Trinidad and Tobago, it is known by colloquial names such as the ‘Palmiste’ and the ‘Green Jean’.

Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum)

Ruddy Ground Dove (Columbina talpacoti) – This dove’s name has been derived from the color of the plumage of these doves, as well as their habit of foraging on the ground in search of food.

Ruddy Ground Dove (Columbina talpacoti)

Crested Oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus) is a colonial breeder which builds a hanging woven nest, more than 125 cm long, high in a tree. It lays two blotched blue-grey eggs which hatch in 15–19 days, with another 24–36 days to fledging.

Each colony has a dominant male, which mates with most of the females following an elaborate bowing display. There may be 15-30 females and only 3-4 males. Outside the breeding season, this species is quite mobile, with some seasonal movements.

The Greater Ani (Crotophaga major) is a large bird in the cuckoo family. It is a breeding species from Panama and Trinidad through tropical South America to northern Argentina. It is sometimes referred to as the black cuckoo.

Greater Ani (Crotophaga major)

The Tropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus) sings from the top of bushes. It sings mainly in the early morning, but it also sings during the hottest moments of the day, and may sing sometimes during the night.

The Spectacled Thrush, aka Bare-eyed Thrush, or aka Yellow-eyed Thrush, is commonly referred to as “Big-Eyed Grief.”

The Spectacled Thrush (Turdus nudigenis)

The Pearl Kite (Gampsonyx swainsonii) aka the Yellow-faced Kite. It is the smallest of all the Neotropical raptors.

The Pearl Kite (Gampsonyx swainsonii)

Not a bad haul, of capturing images from the backyard and front porch. Stay tuned for Part two of the adventure, coming soon!

Until the next adventure and thank you for stopping by!

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    1. I do appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my blog. It certainly is priceless, you wake up, give thanks, clean up, and walk outside to be greeted by nature. A blessing.

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