The Scarlet Ibis of Trinidad

Scarlet Ibis among GullsOne of the highlights of my recent trip to Trinidad and Tobago was the visit to Caroni Swamp in Trinidad, a boat tour through the swamp that ended with the spectacular sight of thousands of Scarlet Ibis coming in to roost as the sun set.

Here’s a short video I made so you can imagine yourself watching this amazing phenomenon:

The Scarlet Ibis is the national bird of Trinidad, and with its bright red coloring, it’s not hard to see why. From a visual perspective, this bird is flashy and exciting. This bright red coloring comes from the high consumption of shrimp, crabs,  mollusks, and other crustaceans. When these Ibis are kept in zoos, they are often fed large quantities of beetroot and carrotene supplelements so that they will maintain this brilliant coloring.

Our guide was Lester Nanan, the grandson of Simon Oudit Nanan, who started Nanan’s Caroni Swamp Bird Sanctuary Tours in the 1930s. The business then passed to his son Winston, and is now in the capable hands of Lester. Three generations of avid and passionate birders who work very hard to ensure that these birds are protected and continue to thrive in Trinidad.

While the Scarlet Ibis has a large range throughout South America, they do face some dangers and conservation concerns. For example, the Caroni Swamp Bird Sanctuary was created to protect these birds from poaching. And it’s a sad fact that for some wealthy restaurant-goers, eating the Scarlet Ibis is considered quite a delicacy.

Lester expertly guided us through the swamp where we saw many wonders, including the Pygmy Kingfisher, Gray-necked Wood Rails, fleeting views of a Red-capped Cardinal and:

A Black Hawk

Black Hawk Caroni Swamp

A Tree Boa

Tree Boa, Caroni Swamp

An Anteater

Anteater, Caroni Swamp

And so much more…..

But the culmination of the tour is pulling up across from the island where the Scarlet Ibis come in to roost in the trees every evening. We watched in amazement while sipping delicious rum punch as long lines of Ibis flew in from every direction.

Pure joy!

Scarlet Ibis Roosting Flight

Follow my adventures in Trinidad and Tobago:

Follow my adventures in Trinidad and Tobago:

I was so thrilled to participate in this tour of Trinidad and Tobago with Megan Crewe at Field Guides Birding Tours, and follow Field Guides on Facebook. Also see the triplist of the birds and other critters we got to see on this trip to Trinidad and Tobago.

Check out my new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week, teaching you to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for birds and other wildlife in your garden.

About Carole Sevilla Brown

Carole Sevilla Brown is a Conservation Biologist and avid birder who firmly believes that wildlife conservation begins in your own back yard. To this end Carole created the popular website Ecosystem Gardening to teach you to create welcoming habitat for wildlife so that you will attract more birds, butterflies, pollinators and other wildlife. Carole is an author, educator, speaker, and passionate birder, butterfly watcher,  and naturalist who travels around the country teaching people to garden sustainably and conserve natural resources, She gardens for wildlife in Philadelphia, zone 6b, and loves to travel to see new birds in their natural habitats. Carole is managing editor of  two amazing teams of writers from around the country: Beautiful Wildlife Garden, and also  Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. Follow Carole on twitter, @CB4wildlife and on Google+

Comments

  1. I love that red ibis against the grey gulls. A prefect image for the remarkable, game changing individual going against the grain, blazing the hero’s path.
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  2. [...] was reminded of my recent trip to visit Trinidad and Tobago and my stay at the Asa Wright Nature Center because this place has been providing an amazing [...]

  3. [...] 187. The Scarlet Ibis of Trinidad–One of the highlights of my recent trip to Trinidad and Tobago was the visit to Caroni Swamp in Trinidad, a boat tour through the swamp that ended with the spectacular sight of thousands of Scarlet Ibis coming in to roost as the sun set. Here’s a short video I made so you can share this wonder… ~Carole Sevilla Brown [...]

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  8. [...] We had spent the morning at Waterloo patiently picking out shore birds from the huge flocks of gulls and several Scarlet Ibis, headed to Carli Bay for lunch, and then went in search of a pee stop on the way to our tour at Caroni Swamp to see the Scarlet Ibis come in to roost for the night. [...]

  9. [...] night when Kathy and Hugh picked us up we chatted for a few minutes about the exciting birds we had seen in Trinidad and Tobago, but then they said they had to tell us something before we saw her–that Morgan was limping, [...]

  10. [...] know, I’ve been doing a bit of traveling lately to see some exciting wildlife with my trip to Trinidad and Tobago and then my trip to Guatemala just five days [...]

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