As we head deeper into winter in the Northern Hemisphere, let’s take a few minutes to frolic in the tropics. Trinidad is called Land of the Hummingbird–here are some of the beautiful birds and butterflies we have seen there.
Trinidad is an island in the Caribbean Sea less than 10 miles (16km) off South America’s Venezuelan coast.
Read more about Trinidad here: Trinidad Wikipedia.
Although Trinidad’s primary industry is oil and gas, parts of the island are rainforest and plantations. You can see from this photo below how extensive the tree canopy is.
And now we will go below the canopy to find thriving birds in every color of the rainbow. We’ll start with a few of the hummingbirds.
We have 15 species of hummingbirds living in our very large country of America. In the small dual-island nation of Trinidad-Tobago, with an area of less than 2,000 sq. miles (5,131 km2), there are more hummingbird species than in all the U.S.: 18.
This hummingbird’s iridescent crown and gorget feathers lit up with a simple turn of his head in the perfect light. Its name is “copper-rumped”…but who’s looking at the rump?
Four additional hummingbird species are below; Blue-chinned Sapphire, White-necked Jacobin, Tufted Coquette, and White-chested Emerald.
This tufted coquette below, with his orange mohawk and polka dots, has bits of pollen on the end of his bill. He was tiny and zipping around at lightning speed…and very busy.
You may not be able to see it, but this white-chested emerald hummingbird has a bit of his tongue sticking out.
There were many native, red-flowered bushes on the trail (below), attractive to hummingbirds.
But it wasn’t just hummingbirds we found in Trinidad, there was an abundance of other colorful species as well.
Scarlet ibis live in Trinidad, roosting at night on small coastal islands. I wrote a post recently that included Trinidad’s scarlet ibis. Link: Celebrating Ibis.
And there were many honeycreeper species, too. In Hawaii, honeycreepers take the place of hummingbirds in the avian world. But in Trinidad they have both.
This male purple honeycreeper is absolutely show-stopping. I found it difficult to take the binoculars down and keep walking–I would stop and stare for the longest time.
And the female of the same species, often close by, is also colorful and beautiful. Green legs!
And then there’s the green honeycreeper which is another stunner. The bird’s name is “green” but it’s really turquoise.
With all the nectar plants around, there were of course butterflies. Interestingly, the two butterfly species below both have bird names: the owl butterfly and the scarlet peacock, below that.
The owl butterfly below is not as colorful as some butterflies, but the “eye” marking is easily discernable. Many scientists posit that the eyespot is an evolutionary tool of mimicry, resembling eyes of predators that hunt by sight; while others say the conspicuous contrast in markings deters predators.
It wouldn’t be right to highlight the wild nectar feeders without including at least one bat. Trinidad has approximately 70 bat species, an incredible amount.
One night at dusk we spotted a stream of bats flying out from under our lodge building. We went back every night thereafter for a bat bonanza.
And lastly, here are two songbirds to sing to you of the color and beauty here on earth.
The violaceous euphonia with his furry yellow forehead.
And the ubiquitous bananaquit, often found at our outdoor breakfast table trying to sneak a little sugar.
I hope this tickle of the tropics helped warm you, my friends.
Written by Jet Eliot.
All photos in the wild by Athena Alexander.
79 thoughts on “Land of the Hummingbird”
lovely place…..we anticipate the return of “our” hummingbirds every spring.
There is something very special about anticipating the return of the hummingbirds, isn’t there, Miachael Stephen. Thanks very much for your visit today.
my pleasure Jet
Fascinating creatures they have in Trinidad! Maybe we could convince some of those Hummingbirds to come North. After all there is supposed to be a “global waming” going on.
I like that Hien, your comment gave me a big smile. Yeah, let’s have some of those many Trinidad hummingbirds come up north to the U.S. since the planet is warming anyway. Thanks for your visit, Hien, and words, and thanks for the smile. Sending you a smile, too.
talking about warm places when It’s getting cold seems surreal Jet.
The Anna’s have arrived with their toques.
I’m glad to hear your Anna’s up there are staying warm with their toques, Wayne. Sending smiles your way….
So many beautiful birds.
Thanks for stopping by, Timothy. And you’re right–so many beautiful birds. Glad I could share them with you.
Wow, I had no idea that there are so many types of hummingbirds, Jet! Amazing, thank you for sharing this! ☺️
Oh so fun to share some of the wide array of hummingbirds with you today, John. Thanks very much for your visit today.
You’re welcome, Jet! Have a great weekend. ❤️
Enjoyed this warm and colourful post today, Jet! I’ve been feeling the early winter blues and blahs, and this was a great lift. You can only smile when looking at the tufted coquette!
Thanks, and have a good weekend!
I’m happy this post help lifted your winter blues, pc. Loved hearing that the tufted coquette brought a smile to your face, they do that to me, too. Sending a big smile to you and Mrs. pc, have a great weekend.
A fabulous array of colour. Your post definitely make us want to visit! Thanks Jet.
Wonderful to hear from you today, Mike. I’m delighted to have brought you these colorful birds today. Cheers to you, Mike.
So much beauty there! Thank you for sharing, Jet.
I’m glad you came over to share the beauty, Patty Anne. Thanks for stopping by.
Such a beautiful photos to view 🌷🙏👍🏻😊 so many varieties of birds, butterflies,flowers all
So awesome , thank you for sharing 🌷🙏♥️🌷
Thank you so much, Thattamma, for your lovely visit and comment today.
You are so welcome dear friend 🌹🙏💓🌹
Stunning and rich diversity– wonderful post, Jet!
Always a treat to share the beautiful outdoor sights with you, Eliza, thank you.
Wow! Fantastic Jet. I must add this place to my bucket list
Thanks Sherry, I’m glad you enjoyed the birds and butterflies (and bat) of Trinidad. We stayed in an ecolodge in the rainforest, Asa Wright, but unfortunately it closed during the pandemic.
Thank you, Cindy. It’s a pleasure sharing the beautiful sights of Trinidad with you.
I think I would love Trinidad just for the birds. What a variety and all are so beautiful. Nice post, Jet.
Yes, a great variety of birds in Trinidad. And a joy to share them with you, Anneli, thank you.
What a bunch of beauties, Jet!!!
A complete joy to share the colorful birds of Trinidad with you, Janet, thank you.
Oh so fun to share the hummingbirds of Trinidad with you, Terry. I know how you especially like hummingbirds. Thanks for stopping by.
I laughed at both the appearance and the name of the Tufted Coquette. Given the personalities of hummingbirds generally, I can imagine the behavior of that one. I was interested in the name of the White-necked Jacobin, too. I always think of the Jacobins who were involved in the French Revolution when I come across the name; was the bird perhaps named by or in honor of a Frenchman?
Hi Linda, I’m happy you enjoyed the hummingbirds here. That tufted coquette does bring a smile to one’s face. As for the White-necked Jacobin and its name, I could find no indication in Wikipedia why it was named Jacobin. Thanks for stopping by.
All these gorgeous birds are fantastic! I’ve never been to Trinidad, I didn’t know that has a rainforest. Thank you, Jet for giving me the opportunity to learn. 🙂
It was a true joy to share the rainforest of Trinidad with you, H.J. Given your affinity and experiences with South America, I know you would like the wildlife of Trinidad, and I am delighted I could share some of it with you today. Sending big smiles your way, my friend.
Thank you very much, Jet. 🙂
Those Scarlet Ibises are a great colour.
Thanks Andy. Yes, the scarlet ibis have such a striking color. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
What a great collection of hummingbirds and many other Trinidad locals. Thanks for the trip into a land I’ll likely never visit, Jet. You and Athena really do a great job of taking us all along all over the world.
Your title reminded me of this delightful little song.
Steve, thanks so much for the Ry Cooder song clip. During WWII Trinidad became a strategic spot for protecting the Caribbean and oil, and FDR visited there four times and had an infrastructure and naval/army base built for war efforts. So it was great fun listening to this song, and you’re right it is delightful. Many thanks.
A wonderful touch of tropical Trinidad! Thank you for the tour. The rainforest & the aerial creatures take me back to Costa Rica & the sheer enjoyment of it all.
How lovely that I could bring you a moment of “sheer enjoyment” today, Walt. My warmest thanks…good to see you.
Wie ich sehe bist du für einen Moment im Paradies gelandet. I see you landed in paradise for a moment.
I’m glad you joined us in paradise, flowerywallpaper. Thanks for visiting.
They are the most amazing small creatures, aren’t they? It must be magical to see just one, Jet!
Yes, Jo, hummingbirds are the most amazing creatures, and it is magical to see just one. They’re so small, would fit into your palm, and they move with fierce speed. And when the light hits the male’s throat just right, a dazzling iridescent flash of colors wink at you for a second, and then–poof!–they’re gone. Thanks for your visit, my friend.
Lots of brightly colored birds on Trinidad, aren’t there?
Happy to bring you some colorful Trinidad birds, Jan. I hope you’re continuing to heal. Thanks for stopping by.
So much colour! those are just wonderful!
Thanks very much, Mick. It’s a pleasure to share a few of Trinidad’s delightfully colorful birds with you.
That would be a wonderful place to visit. Such color and life. I even like the bats.
Yes, Trinidad is a wonderful place to visit, Craig. I really liked the bats too, we had a pretty crazy time at dusk by the lodge where we became familiar with their emergence pattern. They flew so close to us I could feel the wind of the wings on my face. Also, Trinidad is where we ventured down into a cave to see the oilbirds. I remember you liked the oilbirds when I wrote about them a few years back. Lots of fruit down in Trinidad too, but none of it bites. ha.
I think oilbirds are wonderful. It’s a tragic event of the human mind, but still amazing.
I whole-heartedly agree, Craig. Thanks for these lovely words.
Thanks for the tour Jet. The bird colors are absolutely stunning!
I’m really glad you enjoyed the vicarious trip to Trinidad, Brad, and the colorful birds. Thanks for your visit.
Thank you for sharing their journey and destinations. They are so wonderful and surprisingly resilient.
Migrations are so awe inspiring💖
Lovely to have you stop by, Val, thank you. I’m happy you enjoyed the beautiful birds of Trinidad.
All the different shades of green are fantastic and the purple honey creeper is spectacular. 😊
Hi Pepper. Yes, so many great colors and wow, when the light hits the green gorget feathers of the hummingbird, the flash is superb. I’m glad you liked the purple honeycreeper, I just could not take my eyes off it, the intensity of purple in nature like that, astounding. Thanks very much.
Yes, the purple is amazing. 😊
As usual, lots of GREAT information and photos here. Well done, ladies. 🙂
My warmest thanks, Frank, for your visit and kindness.
I super-enjoyed my frolic in the tropics! Amazing creatures!!
Oh so fun to have you frolic in the tropics with us, Donna. Lovely to have your visits, thanks so much.
Loved the write-up and the photos. Just have to marvel at the diversity of hummingbirds and butterflies 🦋 in such a small area.
Yes, the diversity of the birds and butterflies in the small country of Trinidad is indeed a marvel. Thanks very much, Bill.
What a fabulous colourful Island!
Thanks, Brian – it is a colorful place to be, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
Absolutely gorgeous birds in this post. Hummers are always a delight – especially the ones we do not get in our region. Here – look a hummer – ruby-throated, look another hummer, ruby-throated, oh, and another .. you get the picture. Of these, that tufted coquette has to be my favorite. On my “wish” list is to tin a honeycreeper…like you, I’d struggle to put down the glass as well. Appreciate the introduction to nature’s rays of sunshine.
I am so happy you enjoyed the birds in the Trinidad post, Brian. You and I, we run around the world chasing birds for the sheer joy and marvel of it, and even the duller ones bring joy. But the hummers and honeycreepers, well they’re extra special. Re the tufted coquette. We studied the bird guide on the plane down there and when we came across the TC drawing, we knew we just HAD to see that guy! And that doesn’t always happen, but we were glad it did this time. Many thanks for your joy and interest.
You have made me want to put Trinidad on my bucket list of places to travel. I’ll be sure to bring binoculars! Stunning. Thank you, Jet and Athena.
I’m glad you enjoyed the magic of Trinidad here, LuAnne. Thanks very much for stopping by.
Oooh… all that glorious color and variety. Thanks for taking me where the hummingbirds thrive. They certainly are something special. (and the bats, too!) 😉
I’m happy you enjoyed the hummingbirds and bats, Gunta. Thanks very much for your visit today.