Scarlet Ibis - Caroni Swamp - Trinidad
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 last up to 2 1/2 hours. Kayaking is also offered.
The breeding season lasts from April to late September. Fewer numbers are seen in the roosting area. They return around mid-October to the swamp.
The dry season from January to May is the best time for your vacation on Trinidad and Togabo. Showers can occur throughout the year. During the rainy season, it may frequently rain each day, but 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, but it can happen as it did in September 1963 and September 2004. Trinidad is more likely to be affected between August and September.
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for Port of Spain from 1991-2015
The dry season from Jan to May is likewise the peak season. It's less crowded from October until Christmas when the temps are cooler. Regarding weather and crowds, November and December are a good alternative.
Tip for Birders
Don't miss the Oilbirds in the Cumaca Cave!
The Caroni Swamp is located south of Port of Spain. 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.
The swamp got already protected in 1936. The scarlet ibis roost in the swamp. 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.
Quick Facts of the Scarlet Ibis
- It's the National Bird of Trinidad protected by law in 1962 when T&T got independent.
- There are serious concerns due to poaching. Although high fines and even imprisonment of up to two years exist.
- This species of ibis feed on shrimp, crabs, and other crustaceans, the reason for the red color.
- The juveniles color is brown, gray and they need around two years to transform.
- 2 to maximum 5 eggs are laid which incubate for roughly 23 days.
- The lifespan in the wild is around 15-20 years in the zoo for a minimum of 25 years.
- The size of an adult bird is on average around 60 cm and it can weigh up to 1.4 kg.
- For roosting they prefer leaf canopies mostly mangrove trees.
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, but also to avoid the noise and smell of the engine!
What to Bring for the Tour
- Have a water bottle in your bag and a snack as well. You can't buy anything.
- Take precaution 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 very good zoom lens camera.
- An umbrella to protect your camera while taking pictures.