Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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We learned from our tour of the Asa Wright Nature Center and the Caroni Swamp that the national bird of Trinidad is the scarlet ibis. The national bird of Tobago is the cocorico. Together, they ordain the Trinidad & Tobago coat of arms. They both also appear prominently on their currency.

Scarlet ibis Caroni Swamp

A flock of scarlet ibis fly in v-formation in the Caroni Swamp in Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad & Tobago coat of arms

Scarlet ibis to the left and the cocorico to the right

Related: Caroni Swamp is a mini Everglades

Caroni Swamp is the place to see scarlet ibis in Trinidad

In the Caroni Swamp, we would see them in spades, well, perhaps diamonds as it more represents their beautiful bright red color. Ask anyone in the world what a flamingo looks like and they can tell you thanks to their pink beauty and their prominence in zoos and as lawn displays.

Scarlet ibis Trinidad & Tobago Caroni Swamp

Closer up view of scarlet ibis island in Trinidad & Tobago

After seeing hordes of scarlet ibises, it made me wonder why these birds are not so well known. I think I would rather have a scarlet ibis on my lawn instead of a pink flamingo, yet the world knows very little about this colorful bird.

This is not so in Trinidad as they are passionately revered. We had seen a few of this amazing birds back in the mangroves of the Caroni Swamp, but we would soon get our fill when we made open water outside the channels.

Scarlet Ibis Caroni Swamp

Differing zoom point of the scarlet ibises roosting in Caroni Swamp

Scarlet ibis roosts in the Caroni Swamp

The scarlet ibises roost here in the Caroni Swamp and during the day they fly all over the island and across the straights to Venezuela in search of food. They return nightly to the Caroni Swamp and provide a daily spectacle as hundreds of crimson birds fly in v-shaped formation over boats filled with adorning scarlet ibis paparazzi.

Scarlet ibis fly in Caroni Swamp

Sometime the scarlet ibis formation has 20 birds


Scarlet Ibis Trinidad & Tobago

Sometimes only five scarlet ibis fly in

While sitting in the boat taking one photo after another of the returning birds to the island, we were fortunate enough to see another colorful natural wonder. A rainbow broke out over the swamp momentarily deflecting the cameras from birds to sky. Rainbows happen anywhere and at anytime, and soon the cameras refocused on the island scene filled with bright red birds intermixed with some egrets and tricolored herons.

Rainbow Caroni Swamp Trinidad & Tobago

A rainbow’s beautiful colors momentarily competes with the scarlet ibis gathering


Scarlet ibis Caroni Swamp Trinidad & Tobago

Not for long as this hour was all about the scarlet ibis

I could have stayed here all day zooming in on the island.  I wish we could have gotten closer, but I realize the need to give them their space. Soon, the sun started to descend, which ended the tour and photos.

Scarlet ibis Caroni Swamp

A perspective of the whole island filled with scarlet ibis

Caroni Swamp scarlet ibis

One busy island of scarlet ibises in the Caroni Swamp

Amazing day in Trinidad & Tobago

The birds seen through the channels was amazing enough, but the beautiful scarlet ibis seen in such numbers was a thrilling conclusion to an amazing day in Trinidad & Tobago.

Caroni Swamp is a protect area in Trinidad & Tobago and can only be entered via permit. It is my understanding that in order to get a permit entrance must be with a guide. You can either do a group tour or you can kayak Caroni Swamp with a personal guide. The tour I took was combined with Asa Wright. It was an awesome day tour and only cost $80.00 per person with Jesse James. I highly recommend this tour operator and this tour. For more adventurous kayak tours, check out this outfit.

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The goal of Traveling Ted is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then sign up for the email newsletter. Notifications are sent out once or twice a month with what is new with Traveling Ted’s adventures. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).