For some, bird watching is bliss. Standing in a quite relaxed environment doing nothing but just watching and observing the beautiful birds around. If you are tempted to go bird watching, we are glad to help you find some best birdwatching sites in Tobago!
Tobago is a beautiful island in the Southern Caribbean with its beautiful beaches and rainforests. It is within the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Tobago lies close to the continent of South America. The west side of the island offers amazing beaches and the Bucco reef at Pigeon Point. The east coast offers vast rainforest that is the oldest protected rainforest in the Western Hemisphere. The closest airport here is the Crown Point Airport. The island is famous among tourists for scuba diving, turtle beach, and its wide range of colorful bird species. December to April is considered the most preferable time to spot most of the birds. Let’s have a look at some of the best birdwatching sites in Tobago.
Watch Video: The Birds of Tobago
Best birdwatching sites in Tobago
1. Little Tobago Island
The Little Tobago Island on the eastern edge of Tobago is an uncrowded bird sanctuary with wonderful hiking trails. The little island was once used for cotton plantation in the late 1700s. The cotton industry collapsed, leaving the island deserted. In the 1890s, Sir William Ingram purchased the island and turned it into a bird sanctuary. After he passed away, the island was returned to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago by his heirs.
Today this beautiful island is one of the Caribbean’s important seabird sanctuaries. This magnificent little Tobago island is surely one of the best birdwatching sites in Tobago and is a treat to all the bird watchers! The red-billed Tropicbird, sandwich terns, frigatebirds, red-footed and brown booby are the famous island’s birds.
2. Gilpin Trace
Gilpin Trace is a UNESCO-listed Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve. It is the oldest nature reserve in the western hemisphere. It is a very famous trail in the rainforest. From the beginning of the trail itself, you can spot birds like Broad-winged Hawking soaring in the sky. Moving further on the main forest trails, you can catch a glimpse of Plain Antvireo, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, and Stripe-breasted Spinetail. This place is perfect for good birding.
You would be pleased to see one of the Tobago specialties, the Blue-backed Manakin. In addition to these, you will also like the Yellow-legged Thrush, Rufus-breasted Wren, and White-tailed Sabrewing hummingbird, which is a nearly threatened species found only in Main Ridge Forest Reserve in Tobago and Venezuela. The Gilpin trace is an amazing place for bird watching in Tobago, don’t forget to give it a visit the next time you go bird watching in Tobago!
3. Miss Mills Trace
One of the best birdwatching sites in Tobago, Miss Mills Trace, lies in the foothills of the Main Ridge. You spot here the streak flycatcher, the endemic Trinidad motmot, White Cheeked Pintail, Black-Bellied Whistling, Anhinga, the elegant streaked flycatcher, and many other bird species found in Tobago. If you are lucky, you can also spot the agouti, a large guinea pig like a mammal.
4. Flagstaff Hill
It is one of Tobago’s historical sites and is famous for its beautiful panoramic views of Bobby island, St Giles, and Sisters Rocks. Also, it is surrounded by oceans on three sides. This hill is one of the highest points on this island. You can get to see some spectacular displays of Tobago’s nocturnal and colorful birds here. Some unique species found here include the white-tailed nightjar, the striped owl, and Tobago’s national bird, the ancient cocrico. This place is also very popular for watching sunsets too!
5. Grafton Bird Sanctuary
Grafton Bird Sanctuary is a former cocoa estate located along Grafton Road on the southern side of the road. It is around 200 acres in size. There are three main forest trails. On the way, you can also find several abandoned estate buildings. While strolling in this sanctuary, you can see blue-crowned motmot, tanagers, chachalacas, hummingbirds, and mockingbirds. You will find other beautiful birds in abundance here. This Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most notable birding spots.
6. Adventure Farm and Nature Reserve
This place is famous for its dancing hummingbirds, the Black-throated Mango, Tropical Mockingbirds, Blue-crowned Motmot, White-tipped Dove, Eared Dove, White-necked Jacobin, Rufous-breasted Hermit, Ruby-topaz Hummingbird. There are also other unique species here. Curious birders should look out for tanager and flycatchers here.
7. ASA Wright Nature Centre
ASA Wright Nature Centre is a nature resort in the Northern Range. This Centre is a beautiful natural space safeguarding wildlife. This place is famous for its bird watching sites and its vast species of birds. Here you can find the nesting of the Crested Oropendola, Ornate Hawk-eagles, and Channel-billed Toucans perching near the verandah, White-bearded Manakin, and Golden-headed Manakin, and Bearded Bellbird.
8. Bon Accord Wetlands
The Bon Accord Wetlands lies north of Milford road adjacent to Pigeon Point. These wetlands offer freshwater marsh, drainage channels, and large ponds, making them a good birding site for water birds. Here you can spot black-crowned night herons, white-tipped doves, green herons, snowy egret, black-bellied whistling ducks, and eared doves.
Some Other Birdwatching Sites in Tobago
Other notable birding spots include VHL Mangrove Board Walk, Main Ridge Forest Reserve, Canoe Bay, Cuffie River Nature Retreat, and Adventure Farm in Tobago for good birding. Here one can see the Least Grebe, Blue Gray Tanagers, Orange Winged Parrots, Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Caribbean Martin, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Mangrove Cuckoo, and Waders. Also, from September to April, one can spot Merlin, Tropical mockingbirds, Northern Waterthrush, American Red Start, Black and White Warblers. You can also spot the eared doves feeding near the resorts in Tobago.
Tips for Birdwatching in Tobago
- If you plan to go bird-watching in Tobago, remember to bring a reliable pair of binoculars to get a closer look at the birds there.
- Carry some boots as you might visit the wetlands, and it gets muddy there.
- While watching a bird, try to be quiet and avoid making sudden movements to make the bird fly away.
- Try to be patient to get a closer look at the birds.
- Move with the sun at your back so that you can spot the birds easily. When the bird is between you and the sun, you cannot identify the bird as its colors will not be visible properly.
- Wear dark or earthy clothes as colorful and bright clothes can make you more visible to all the birds, and they can spot movements easily.
- You can also try a boat trip in the wetlands to spot water birds!
- For more tips, don’t forget to give a glance at the Essential Kit for Bird-Watching!
Watch Video: Bird Watching Tips
For more information, click here.
Having more than 200 different species of birds, Tobago is no less than a birder’s paradise. It is known to have one of the highest densities of bird species in the world. It has a wide variety of colorful birds adding to the beauty of this amazing island. Its picturesque scenery, incredible wildlife, and pristine nature are perfect destinations for a vacation with friends and family. Also, if you are a birdwatcher, you are in for a treat. Do consider this place whenever you make plans for a fun vacation!