Hotspot Details for Trinidad and Tobago Hummingbirds
In the Trinidad and Tobago environment the bird watcher is more likely to observe a wider variety of hummingbird species at a plantation, in a forest (including montane forests), at a forest boundary, cultivation (copper-rumped hummingbird, black-throated mango, blue-tailed emerald and ruby-topaz hummingbird), garden (copper-rumped hummingbird, black-throated mango and ruby-topaz hummingbird), or glade (blue-tailed emerald, black-throated mango and copper-rumped hummingbird). But other habitats present opportunities: scrubland (brown violet-ear and tufted coquette), mangrove (glittering-throated emerald, green-throated mango, little hermit, and white-chested emerald), roadsides (green-throated carib), groves (blue-chinned sapphire), grassland (rufous-breasted hermit), deciduous forest (green-throated carib), park (green-throated carib), savannah (glittering-throated emerald, green-breasted mango, green-throated mango, rufous-breasted hermit and tufted coquette), foothills (green hermit), secondary forest (little hermit, long-billed starthroat, ruby-topaz hummingbird, rufous-shafted woodstar, white-chested emerald, and white-necked jacobin), riverine area (rufous-breasted hermit and white-tailed golden throat), woodlands (green-throated mango), wetlands (white-tailed golden throat), swamp (green-throated mango and rufous-breasted hermit), forest undergrowth (all the emeralds and the little hermit), bamboo thicket (rufous-breasted hermit). The hotspots detailed below describe the habitats and the hummingbirds most likely to be found in them.
The Arena Reserve, located just north of the Arena Dam, is covered with an evergreen seasonal forest—evergreen forest can extend from lowlands up to 300 metres. Some trees in this forest are crappo, guatacre, mora, cocorite, mahoe, balata, &c. The dam discharges to the east of the reserve and a stream courses from east to west at the northernmost extreme. Some hummingbirds seen here are the green hermit and ruby topaz hummingbird.
Asa Wright Nature Center and Lodge
At 366 metres (1,200 ft), in Trinidad's Northern Range, Asa Wright is situated in a secondary forest of a once cocoa, another time coffee, and again citrus plantation. The plantation is surrounded by lower montane forest containing serrette-bois gris, an evergreen tree, and with canopy cover up to 150 feet, in some places; whilst lower down the mountain are cultivations of christophene (christophine or chayote squash). A stream flows, nearby, through the mountain and lower valley. The temperature at the site ranges from 65 to 86°F (18–30°C). With its range of habitat the full range of TrinidadËˆs hummingbirds are to be expected. However, at the main observation deck and the trails, 15 have been observed: amethyst woodstar, white-necked jacobin, rufous-breasted hermit, little hermit, green hermit, brown violet-ear, ruby-topaz hummingbird, black-throated mango, tufted coquette, long-billed starthroat, rufous-shafted woodstar, blue-chinned sapphire, white-chested emerald, copper-rumped hummingbird, and blue-tailed emerald.
Caroni Wildlife Reserve
The Caroni Wildlife Sanctuary is a 1.25 square mile (324ha) zone, composed of various wetland types, including salt water and freshwater marshes in the central section of the Caroni Swamp.
The Caroni Swamp is an estuarine system, its elevation varying from sea level to ten metres above, located at the mouth of the Caroni River at the Gulf of Paria, on Trinidad's North West coast. The Guayamare River and the Blue River are two, other, major tributaries to the swamp. These tributaries and some man made channels form a navigable hydrological network. The swamp's northern perimeter is determined by the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, its eastern one by the Uriah Butler Highway and the southern one by the Chandernagore River. The swamp is around 32 square miles (8,398ha) and has about 21 square miles (5,611ha) of herbaceous marsh and mangrove forest--primarily red mangrove but black and white mangrove are also present. Many channels, brackish and saline lagoons, and intertidal mudflats break the continuity of the mangroves and marshes.
Over 138 species of birds have been noted in the wildlife reserve and surroundings, including migratory species. The green-throated mango, anhinga, bicolored conebill, cattle egret, clapper rail, common potoo, glossy ibis, greater ani, large-billed tern, little blue heron, neotropic cormorants, pied water-tyrant, scarlet ibis, snowy egret, spotted sandpipers, striated heron, straight-billed woodcreeper, tricolourd heron, and white-cheeked pintail are some of the birds present there.
Scarlet Ibis - Caroni Wildlife Reserve
Chaguaramas National Park
The Chaguaramas National Heritage Park is dominated by Tucker valley and Mount Catherine, 533.4 metres (1,750 ft). Tucker Valley was the site of sugarcane estates, and, coffee, cocoa, and citrus plantations from as early as the 18th Century. Chaguaramas physical features, as well as it history, gave rise to a variety of ecosystem habitats. Semi-evergreen seasonal forest predominates, i.e., a type of montane forest in which the upper canopy, being deciduous, shows seasonal changes whilst the lower canopy species remain evergreen; in these forests branching occurs lower on the trunk, 6–9 metres, compared to trees in the seasonal evergreen forest, 15 metres. There are deciduous seasonal forests on the lower slopes, secondary forests at various sites, and littoral forest on the shorelines. The Cuesa River flows south through Tucker Valley ending in a mangrove swamp at its mouth. Abandoned plantations persists, for instance, the Huggins Plantation and, an old cocoa and tonka bean plantation at Edith Falls. There are current day cultivations of onion, pigeon pea, bodi, sorrel, pumpkin, &c. Because of the varied habitat the entire range of Trinidad and TobagoËˆs hummingbirds may be found at Chaguaramas except for the white-tailed sabrewing hummingbird, which is only present in Tobago, and less likely to be seen is the green-throated carib. Recent observations have noted the black throated mango, copper rumped hummingbird, green hermit, little hermit, rufous breasted hermit, tufted coquette, and white-chested emerald and others.
El Tucuche, on the Northern Range, is the second highest peak of Trinidad and Tobago, reaching 936 meters (3071 ft). The mountain face on the northern side is precipitous while the southern face has a kinder 20 gradient with a large part over 30 degrees. Lower montane forest begins at the altitude of 240 metres (787 ft), after which there are seasonal montane, montane, and elfin woodland (cloud forest) subdivisions. Elfin woodland occurs above 850 metres (2789 ft) due to wind exposure, continuous cloud cover and wet conditions. The trees are stunted, so the forest canopy is low, as well as, less diverse, i.e., there are fewer tree species relative to the surrounding montane forest. Ferns, epiphytes, mosses, and palms thrive due to the wet conditions. Recent observations have identified 13 hummingbird species, amongst which are the copper-rumped hummingbird, white-chested emerald, blue-chinned sapphire, white-necked jacobin, long-billed starthroat, black-throated mango, green-throated mango, tufted coquette and the ruby topaz, in surrounding valleys and immediate vicinity.
Mount St. Benedict
Until 250 metres (850ft) above sea level the vegetation at Mount St. Benedict is primarily groves, gardens, and hedges. Above monastery on the trail leading to the ruins of the monastery's abandoned first site and Mount Tabor (671m) there is a woodland of Caribbean Pine with some undergrowth. Higher up on a ridge, after exiting the pines, there is a mix of fern and shrub. Soon, the forest reasserts itself as secondary forest and lower montane forest. The black-throated mango, ruby-topaz, tufted coquette, green hermit, blue-chinned sapphire, white-chested emerald, and copper-rumped hummingbird have been seen at this location. Lookout for raptors riding thermals.
The Nariva Swamp is a fresh-water herbaceous swamp of 32 square miles. It comprises a brackish lagoon with zones of mangrove, and non-woody plants. Sandbars and marshes pen it in from the sea. It also has small stands of palm forest, of Palmiste and Moriche, further in its interior. Nearby, and in some places within the swamp, are cultivations of rice and watermelon.
Bush Bush Wildlife Sanctuary, best described as a sandy peninsula that projects north, is besieged by the Nariva Swamp. The peninsula is about three miles long by half mile, at its widest. It supports a sesaonal evergreen forest as it rises up to 23m above the swampy surroundings. But there are also stands of moriche palm, palmist, and swamp bloodwood on its flanks and belts of mangrove afield. A variety of bird (including hummingbirds), mammal (e.g., the manatee and red howler monkey), and reptilian (e.g., caimans and anacondas) life is supported in the sanctuary and surroundings
11 species of hummingbirds have been reported in the swamp and many sightings of the white-tailed golden throat have been made, but, based on the watery habitats, the glittering-throated emerald, green-throated mango, little hermit, rufous-breasted hermit and white-chested emerald hummingbird are likely.
Valencia Wildlife Sanctuary
The Valencia Wildlife Sanctuary is a highly degraded and fragmented forest. Now, it is better classed as a secondary forest due to mining, logging, quarrying, forest fires, slash and burn agriculture, squatting, and reforestation efforts, with Caribbean Pine. The terrain is flat, now and then undulating between 10 to 100 metres above sea level. Four rivers are associated with it; the Quare River marks its southern Boundary and the Oropouche River the eastern boundary. The full range of hummingbird species is expected here.
Yerettê is a hummingbird sanctuary in the gardens of the home of Dr. Theodore Ferguson and his wife. A large silk cotton tree marks the beginning of their drive—at the bottom. Luxuriant, green shrubbery start immediately from a terrace. Plants with flowers of exciting colours are emphasized, and bird feeders are located advantageously for the hummers.
Yerettê is located, at Valley View, a residential community, on an eastern facing foothill in the Maracas Valley--one of the larger valleys of the northern range. The valley was formerly dominated by cocoa and coffee plantations. St. Joseph, the former, first capital of Trinidad is situated at the shoulders of the valley. Now, the valley is a mix of residential communities, secondary forest, cultivations, remnants of the former plantations, lower montane forest, and montane forest. El Tucuche, Trinidad's second highest mountain peak, on the southern facing slope, and Maracas Waterfall, the highest in the country, on an opposite slope, are further up the valley. The Saint Joseph River (a.k.a. Maracas River) is a key influencing feature of the valley and a major tributary to the Caroni River.
Several hummingbird species, as many as 14, grace Yerettê, e.g., the amethyst woodstar, black-throated mango, blue-chinned sapphire, copper-rumped hummingbird, green-throated mango, long-billed starthroat, ruby topaz, tufted coquette, white-chested emerald, and white-necked jacobin.