Below you will find 10 COMMON BIRDS that live in Trinidad and Tobago!
Believe it or not, over 480 species have been observed here, including many birds that only visit during migration. Because of the incredible variety, it would be impossible to list EVERY single type below.
So I did my best to come up with a list of the birds that are seen the MOST. Enjoy! 🙂
10 Common Birds of Trinidad and Tobago:
#1. Brown Pelican
- Pelecanus occidentalis
- Brown skin on their giant throat patch.
- Dark gray bodies with a white neck and pale yellow head.
- Measures 3.5 – 5 feet in length (1 to 1.5 m) with a wingspan of 6.5 – 7.5 feet (2 to 2.3 m). The weight of adults can range from 4.4 to 11.0 lb (2 to 5 kg).
If you see a pelican in Trinidad and Tobago while sitting on a beach, it is most likely a Brown Pelican. These large birds live strictly in saltwater habitats near the ocean’s coastline. Interestingly, they rarely venture into the open ocean, staying within 20 miles of the shore.
It’s a lot of fun watching Brown Pelicans hunting for fish! First, they fly high into the sky and then plunge aggressively headfirst into the water. These dives are meant to stun the surrounding fish, which then are scooped up with their enormous throat pouch and swallowed whole.
Check out the below video to learn more about their insane dives!
And lastly, they birds live a long time. The oldest Brown Pelican on record was 43 years of age!
- Coereba flaveola
- Adults range from 10-13 cm (4-5 in) long.
- Most adults have dark gray upperparts, a black crown, and a yellow chest, belly, and rump.
Bananaquits have something in common with many humans I know – a sweet tooth! Also known as “sugar birds” in Trinidad and Tobago, this species is attracted to nectar feeders and bowls of sugar. They even enter homes looking for sweet treats.
Bananaquits are small, colorful, and known for adapting easily to human habitats. They like fruit and nectar, so they spend a lot of time near humans near flower gardens or fruit trees.
This species’ reliance on humans doesn’t stop with their diet. They often build their nests on human-made objects, including lampposts and garden trellises. Look for a globe-shaped tangle of sticks and leaves between 5 and 30 feet (1.5 to 9 m) off the ground.
#3. Magnificent Frigatebird
- Fregata magnificens
- Long, narrow wings with a deeply forked tail.
- Males have a red throat patch, which is easily seen during the breeding season.
- Females have a white breast patch.
As the name implies, seeing these seabirds soaring effortlessly in the sky is quite “magnificent.” Using their forked tails to steer, they barely have to flap to stay afloat in the sky.
Due to the fact that their feathers are not waterproof like other seabirds, Magnificent Frigatebirds rarely land in the water and spend almost their entire lives flying. For food, they commonly steal fish from other birds or harass them until they regurgitate their meal, which they grab in midair! Their pirating ways have earned frigatebirds the nickname the “man-o-war bird.”
With Magnificent Frigatebirds, the “early bird” does not get the worm! Most individuals don’t take flight until later in the afternoon when thermals and winds are at their greatest. 🙂
#4. Carib Grackle
- Quiscalus lugubris
- Males are glossy black.
- Females are dark grayish-brown.
- Both sexes have yellow eyes and pointed bills.
Like other types of grackles, this species is bold and can become very tame. It’s common to see Carib Grackles near people hoping to secure leftover food, even stealing items left unattended! These birds are especially abundant in Trinidad and Tobago in cities near the coast.
Carib Grackles are highly gregarious, and it’s rare to see just one of them. They do everything from foraging for food together to roosting at night in colonies.
#5. Tropical Mockingbird
- Mimus gilvus
- Adults range from 23-25 cm (9-10 in) inches long.
- Their coloration is silvery-gray above and whitish below, with a long black tail.
- They have white stripes above their eye, long dark legs, and a slim, black beak with a slight downward curve.
Tropical Mockingbirds prefer open habitats in Trinidad and Tobago and avoid dense forests and mangroves. This species typically forages on the ground or in low vegetation. However, they may also perch and fly to catch insects like swarming termites.
These vocal birds are susceptible to parasitism by the Shiny Cowbird. Cowbirds lay their eggs in the Tropical Mockingbird’s nest, who then raises the chicks as their own. But, they have developed a unique adaptation to help them survive. Because up to 80% of nests are parasitized during their first brood, Tropical Mockingbirds lay second and third broods that aren’t affected.
Despite the name mockingbird, this species rarely mimics other birds. However, they often sing through the night and have various songs and calls.
#6. Great Kiskadee
- Pitangus sulphuratus
- Adults measure 21-27 cm (8-11 in) long.
- The wings and tail are warm reddish-brown, and their underparts are yellow.
- They have a black head with white eyebrows and throat.
Great Kiskadees are one of the most common birds in Trinidad and Tobago.
Look for Great Kiskadees in the wild in tropical forests near clearings or bodies of water. They prefer semi-open habitats with some large trees. However, they also occur in human-altered habitats, including suburbs, orchards, and coffee plantations.
The Great Kiskadee has an incredible evolutionary advantage of picking and choosing survival tactics from other species. The Kestrel, Vulture, Flycatcher, Thrush, and Kingfisher have all lent their habits to this amazing bird. For example, they often hunt by catching insects in midair, but they also forage for plant material and fish. In addition, Great Kiskadees visit feeders and sometimes steal pet food, bread, bananas, and peanut butter. They make wonderful visitors to the backyard!
They’re very vocal birds, and their name comes from their call, which is a ringing “kis-ka-dee.” They will often join mixed flocks of birds and aren’t easily scared off by humans.
#7. Blue-Gray Tanager
- Thraupis episcopus
- Adults range from 15-18 cm (6-7 in) long.
- Their plumage is shades of blue, from nearly gray to very bright. They have dark eyes, dark gray legs, and a short, thick bill.
- Populations east of the Andes have white wing bars.
Look for this vibrant blue bird in Trinidad and Tobago in agricultural areas and urban parks.
They adapt well to human presence and feed on cultivated fruit like papayas. Blue-gray Tanagers travel in pairs or small flocks and are noisy and restless.
Although they typically make their nests high in trees, Blue-gray Tanagers have been known to use building crevices in urban areas. That’s one effective way to make use of human-altered habitats!
Listen for this species’ squeaky, high-pitched call, which can be compared to a series of “tseee” and “tsuuup” noises.
#8. Tropical Kingbird
- Tyrannus melancholicus
- Adults range 18-23 cm (7-9 in) inches long.
- They have a big, gray head, bright yellow underparts, pale gray-green backs, and dark gray-brown wings.
- They have a medium-length tail notched in the center, a heavy, long beak, and broad wings.
Tropical Kingbirds have adapted well to human development in Trinidad and Tobago.
Look for them in cities and suburbs, where they are comfortable living close to people.
As members of the flycatcher family, Tropical Kingbirds feed primarily from the air. They sit in their favorite perches and wait for insect prey, then fly out, catch it, and return to their perch to eat it. They will also feed on fruit and usually perch to grab fruit but occasionally hover if there’s no convenient perch. Whichever way they choose to eat, these birds show off their athletic nature!
Tropical Kingbirds use the safety of large numbers to protect their eggs and hatchlings. Look for their nests near large members of the blackbird family, such as orioles, which chase away predators and parasitic cowbirds.
#9. Ruddy Ground Dove
- Columbina talpacoti
- Adults range from 13-18 cm (5-7 in) long.
- Males have reddish-brown upper parts, a blue-gray head, and pink feet.
- Females are similar but have duller plumage, a brown head, and a brighter rump.
- Both sexes have rusty brown wing patches that are visible in flight.
Look for Ruddy Ground Doves in humid habitats with plenty of open space. They often frequent wet areas like marshes.
Although they’re typically seen in flocks of 10 to 20, occasionally, flocks of up to 200 occur and may flush explosively when humans or predators walk near them. It can be startling to see hundreds of brown pigeon-size birds all take to the sky at once!
These doves are believed to be common, and their range seems to be expanding. Their need for open habitats means they have adapted well to deforested and agricultural areas. They also adapt well to towns and cities.
#10. Southern Lapwing
- Vanellus chilensis
- Adults are 33-38 cm (13-15 in) long.
- Their upper parts are mostly brownish-gray with a distinctive black breast, white belly, gray head, and bronze shoulders.
- They have red eyes and legs, and their wings appear boldly patterned in flight.
The Southern Lapwing is a shorebird that occupies river banks, lake shores, and open grasslands. They sometimes use human-altered habitats, including towns, soccer fields, and airports. It’s not uncommon to see them in open areas in the heart of cities and suburbs!
Interestingly, researchers have uncovered fossilized bones from Southern Lapwings that date to the Late Pleistocene period, 126,000 years ago. They’ve remained incredibly similar to their ancient ancestors!
Which of these birds have you seen before in Trinidad and Tobago?
Leave a COMMENT below! 🙂