The Caroni Swamp and the Bird Sanctuary is the home to Trinidad and Tobago’s Scarlet Ibis bird. In the afternoon around 4pm a beautiful scene unfolds as the Scarlet Ibis returns in numbers to nest in the mangrove.
The 12,000-acre Caroni Swamp and Bird Sanctuary is the natural nesting home of the Scarlet Ibis bird, one of the national birds of Trinidad and Tobago. The other is the Cocrico, the only game bird native to Tobago and is not found in Trinidad. The major attraction at this mangrove is the opportunity to observe, close to sunset, the ritualistic roosting habits of thousands of these bright red birds. Many of the guides claim the birds travel daily to the Venezuelan mainland to feed, then return to the Swamp at dusk, a distance of about 11 miles. The mangrove trees provide nesting places for the migratory birds, making it perfect for birdwatchers. Flat-bottom boats conduct regular tours through the mangrove. If you’re staying in Port of Spain, then it is just a short 15 minute drive southward, where you can choose from numerous boat tour guides, who are well-experienced to spot many (if not all) of the 100 plus species of other birds, caimans, swamp boas and crabs of different species which also make the Swamp their home. The Caroni Swamp is the largest mangrove wetland in Trinidad. There is a maze of channels, some natural and some dredged, and motorized boats are not allowed. Although officially protected, the Scarlet Ibis population is at risk from poaching and pollution of the swamp and Gulf of Paria. There is an open pond area about 20 minutes distance inside where the boars gather so visitors can watch the ibis’ return while having some refreshment.