Caroni Bird Sanctuary
This is the home of Trinidad's national bird, the Scarlet Ibis - a beautiful sight as they flock to Caroni's mangrove trees to roost at sunset. The swamp houses a wide variety of wildlife including 186 species of birds: osprey, herons, white flamingoes, ployers and egrets. A short drive outside the capital Port of Spain lies the Caroni Swamp, an area of dense vegetation, many little canals and some lakes, and a rich fauna. Located in the Caroni Swamp, this is a must for bird watchers. The Caroni Swamp includes fifteen thousand acres of marshland, tidal lagoons, and mangrove trees. Several thousand Scarlet Ibises nest and roost in the sanctuary and are often seen in large numbers during the last two hours of daylight. From this extensive area of lagoon and swamp, flocks of Trinidad’s national bird, the scarlet ibis, can be seen every evening blanketing the sky in awesome red on their way to roost.
Caroni Bird Sanctuary is famous site which provides an unforgettable experience at sunset when the birds come in to nest. Thousands of Scarlet Ibises fill the sky and that is just one of the 157 species that inhabit the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. The Sanctuary was established in 1965 to preserve the Scarlet Ibis, our national bird. Boats are available for travel through the Caroni Swamp, the third largest swamp in Trinidad. It is situated on the west coast of the island and is built around the distributaries of the island's largest river, the Caroni.
If you're lucky, you may see lazy caimans idling in the water and large snakes hanging from branches on the banks, taking in the sun. In the middle of the sanctuary are several islets that are home to Trinidad's national bird, the scarlet ibis. Just before sunset the ibis arrive by the thousands, their richly colored feathers brilliant in the gathering dusk, and as more flocks alight, they turn the mangrove foliage a brilliant scarlet.
Hundreds of Scarlet Ibis ((Tantalus Ruber) flock home to roost, making a vibrant red blanket of trees. This beautiful bird is brown when young and its colour changes to red when it is mature. That’s the place where it’s rumoured to still be home to manatees. Take a boat through the Caroni swamp to witness the sight. Visiting Caroni Swamp Wildlife refuge, where boats take passengers out to see hundreds of beautiful Scarlet Ibis, the National Bird. (30 minutes away).
The best time to arrive is at the end of the afternoon. At the entrance you can choose from several guides and take a boat ride along the swampy waters in search of the scarlet ibis. The Scarlet Ibises nest in the Caroni Swamp, and late evening is the best time to see them returning to roost, filling the mangrove clump of choice with red splashes of colour, rather like a humungous hibiscus bush. The White Ibises also roost there, in the same mangroves but they’re not the main draw.
Boat tours are offered especially for visitors to see this spectacular scene. Don’t forget your insect repellent, though.
Location and Contact:
38 Bamboo Grove Settlement No. 1,
Uriah Butler Highway, Off of Uriah Butler Highway, Valsayn, Trinidad, West Indies
½ hr from Port of Spain; take Churchill Roosevelt Hwy. east to Uriah Butler south; turn right and in about 2 mins, after passing Caroni River Bridge, follow sign for sanctuary, Trinidad
Tel. (868) 645 1305 and 663 8458
Caroni and Nariva Swamps are protected areas. are required to enter protected areas.