Scarlet Ibis - Caroni Swamp - Trinidad

Scarlet Ibis - Caroni Swamp - Trinidad

Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago

When Is the Best Time

The scarlet ibis can be spotted throughout the year in the protected Caroni Swamp. A larger number of these bright red birds can be seen roughly from mid-October to March. Each evening the scarlet ibis roost in the Caroni Swamp. It is a popular spectacle. Therefore, several boats leave the dock in the afternoon around 4 pm. The tour lasts up to 2.5 hours. Kayaking is also offered. 

Caroni Swamp young ibises

The breeding season lasts from April/May to September. The younger ibises are seen in the roosting area while the others heading deep into the swamp  They return to the roosting area around mid-October.

Weather

Trinidad Beach in the north

The drier season from January to May is the best time for your vacation in Trinidad and Tobago. Temperatures remain tropical throughout the year ranging around 32°C/ 89°F during the day and 21°C/70°F in the night. Showers can occur throughout the year. During the rainy season, it frequently rains each day; however, the sky clears up in between. There is often a short break between mid-September until mid-October Luckily, Trinidad and Tobago are south of the hurricane belt and hardly experience any hurricane. It still can occur but is extremely rare as it happened in September 1963 and September 2004. Trinidad is more likely to be affected between August and September.

Crowds

The drier season from mid-December to May is the busiest time of the year on the Caribbean Islands. It's less crowded from October until Christmas therefore a great alternative. Easter and summer holidays are also busy seasons in Trinidad and Tobago.

Tip for Birders

Trinidad is a birders paradise in many dimensions. The ASA Wright Nature Center was established in 1947. Nowadays, it is the most popular bird-watching retreat on the entire Caribbean Islands. Another excellent tour is to oilbirds in the Cumamca Cave. Or watch a million bats coming out of Tamana Cave in the night. 

 
 
Accommodations Trinidad

Our room in a guesthouse in Trinidad

Tourism plays a minor role in Trinidad therefore only limited hotels are available. If you plan to visit Trini in the peak season it is recommended to book your stay in advance. We spent an entire week in a guesthouse and got tons of recommendations for our vacation. 

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Location and Tips

Port of Spain
Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago

The Caroni Swamp is located south of Port of Spain, home to over 180 bird species. It is 40 sq km of tidal lagoons, mangroves, and marshland. It's easy to access the mangrove-lined channels by boat or kayak to get deep into the Caroni Swamp. You may spot tree snakes just above your head. Caroni is also been home to pink flamingoes for several years already. 

Tree Snake in the Caroni Swamp

The swamp got already protected in 1936. The scarlet ibis roost in the swamp on mangrove islands in the middle of the lagoon. Late afternoon the first birds return, and more are majestically gliding to the mangroves shortly before dusk. It's an awesome spectacle when the flocks in V-shaped formation arrive. During the day, they fly to Venezuela for feeding.

9 Facts About the Scarlet Ibis

Caroni Swamp scarlet ibis

  1. It's the National Bird of Trinidad protected by law in 1962 when T&T got independent.
  2. There are serious concerns due to poaching. Although, high fines and even imprisonment of up to two years exist.
  3. This species of ibis feed on shrimp, crabs, and other crustaceans, the reason for the red colour.
  4. The juveniles colour is brown, grey, and they need around two years to transform.
  5. 2 to a maximum of 5 eggs are laid, which incubate for roughly 23 days.
  6. The lifespan in the wild is around 15-20 years in the zoo for a minimum of 25 years.
  7. The size of an adult bird is, on average, around 60 cm, and it can weigh up to 1.4 kg.
  8. For roosting, they prefer leaf canopies, mostly mangrove trees.
  9. They are very social, live in flocks of 30 and more ibis and for their protection in huge colonies, which can raise to thousands of individual birds.
     
Tip for the Boat

Try to sit in the front, first for a better view, and avoid the engine's noise and smell!

Packing List for the Boat Tour
  • Have a water bottle in your bag and a snack as well. You can't buy anything at the pier.
  • Take precautions and use insect repellent before the boat leaves. Otherwise, you may be eaten up by mosquitos.
  • Boats are not allowed to get close; bring a binocular and a good zoom lens camera. 
  • Rain showers often occur in the afternoon; therefore, bring an umbrella to protect your camera while taking pictures.

The picture of the Scarlet Ibis in close proximity took my friends Umamisky

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I love adventurous trips and my husband…