Hummingbirds of Trinidad
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago may share equal billing in the dichotomous nation’s name, but Trinidad boasts the lion’s share of the land mass, population, and hummingbirds. My focus during my June 2012 visit was obviously on the hummingbirds.
Visitors to Trinidad can scarcely help encountering stunning hummers just about everywhere. Between them, Trinidad and Tobago boast 17 species, of which several of which are extremely rare or accidental and one — the endangered White-tailed Sabrewing — can only be found in Tobago. Most of the usual Trinidadian hummers frequent the feeders at the Asa Wright Nature Centre. The legendary veranda is the perfect place to spy Blue-chinned Sapphire, White-chested Emerald, and three different hermits (Rufous-breasted, Green, and Little) while enjoying good, strong coffee or even stronger beverages.
One comely but common species at Asa Wright and everywhere I visited in T&T is the White-necked Jacobin, a stunner in royal blue, grass green, and snow white.
Almost equally common and even more confiding was the glorious little Copper-rumped Hummingbird.
The Tufted Coquette may be one of the most adorable little hummers you’ve ever seen, but this fiery-headed nectar slurper is tougher that it looks.
Speaking of fiery, one of the most resplendent hummingbirds anywhere is the Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, a Caribbean specialty the color of flame. I found myself wishing the topaz would cool down long enough for me to catch a decent photo, but these birds are always buzzing.
Serious hummingbird aficionados will appreciate Yerette, a private home in the Maracas Valley of the Northern Range that serves as a haven to hummers. Gloria and Theo Ferguson have stocked their spacious backyard with a veritable ecosystem of feeders and bird-friendly foliage. As a result, 13 of the island’s hummingbird species including all the aforementioned birds as well as Long-billed Starthroat, Brown Violetear, and both Black-throated and Green-throated Mango have been spotted at Yerette. No wonder so many travelers take pains to add this spot to the itinerary.
Black-throated Mango male (top) and female (bottom)
Coming from a part of the world with just one normally-occurring hummingbird to its name, I highly value visiting a country with a broad, beautiful diversity of these dazzling gems. If you feel the same way, this is just one more reason you simply have to visit Trinidad.