Once, “fowl” was the term used to describe all birds, and “wildfowl” meant, simply, “wildbirds”. Today the term is used to describe one family of birds – the ducks, geese and swans. The wildfowl are included in one order – Anseriformes – as the family ANATIDAE. There are 147 distinct species of duck, goose or swan. The animals in this diverse group are found throughout the world and are superbly adapted to life on land, in air and, of course, on and under the water. The sharing of a watery habitat links all wildfowl. The communities of life, including the birds, depend upon the maintenance of these habitats – called, generically, “Wetlands”

Our avicultural re-introduction programme includes the following species:

 

  • Black bellied Tree (Whistling) Ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis) 1967- February 2016…… 1597 birds
  • Fulvous Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna bicolor) 1985-2016………695 birds
  • White faced Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna viduata) 1988-2016 …..62 birds
  • White cheeked Pintails (Anas bahamensis) 1982-2016……142 birds
  • Wild Muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata)  1985- February 2016…..8710 birds

 

Blue & Gold Macaws (Ara ararauna)  2 releases into the Nariva Wetlands; the most recent was in 2011 when 10 adult birds were released into the Bush Bush Wildlife Sanctuary. Current adult stock (March 2016) 36. The DNA/ Sexing programme in collaboration with the School of Veterinary Medicine, Mount Hope; Professor Chris Oura and Mr. Lemar Blake continues.

 

Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) First breeding in 1991 with 103 bred to date;  2 releases, 1999 & 2007.  A total of 78 birds released. A few pairs bred & released at the PaPWildfowl Trust stayed around for approximately 2 years, nested and bred in the Trust’s environs before flying off eventually with their fledged young.

 

The fledgling birds have been released into another of the Trust’s breeding aviaries, separated from the main breeding pairs in their purpose- built aviary. Wildlife section, Forestry Division rescued an unfledged juvenile bird from the Caroni Wetlands and brought it to the Trust to be added to our stock.

Many injured birds are brought to the Trust; we have had some successes, working with vets with this particular expertise and with the Wildlife Orphanage and Rehabilitation Centre. The success stories include a Masked/Blue faced Booby, Ospreys, a Brown Pelican, a Gray Hawk, Gallinules, Jacanas, Song Birds, Psittacines and different Owl species.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This rare, deep ocean-going migrating seabird was brought into the Trust in early March by Mrs Lendor from the Chaguanas area. The Trust’s Vets and avicuture team took care of it and when it become very strong, healthy and active, was released. Trust Officers made a provisional identification and consulted Geoffrey Gomes, who in turn consulted Martyn Kenefick,. We all came to the conclusion that this rare bird is a juvenile Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorcarius pomarinus) rather than a Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorcarius parasiticus).

To stimulate pride, awareness and support, the Trust produces wildlife tee shirts, which are sold as a fund-raiser. We initiate and sustain advocacy, together with other NGOs, to promote linkages and the sustainable utilization of our natural assets. This has resulted in the accession to the CITIES convention (1984), the protection of our NATIONAL BIRD THE SCARLET IBIS (1986/87), a two year hunting moratorium (1986/87:2013/15), the protection of the Port-of-Spain (Mucurapo) wetlands (1989/1990), resulting in the formation of the Council of Presidents of the Environment (COPE). In 1993, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago acceded to the RAMSAR Convention, listing the NARIVA WETLANDS as a Site of International Importance, a direct result of our active advocacy since 1990. In November 1996, the Government removed the illegal rice farmers from the protected area of the Nariva Wetlands and began an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which for the first time offered an economic valuation of that natural asset together with a Social Impact Assessment Again, a direct result of our active advocacy. The Government ratified the Convention of Biological Diversity (CDB) in 1996 another result of our persistent advocacy.

 

Scarlet Ibis: Since 1991, the resident flock (8) of our National Bird, the Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) has bred successfully. Reports of their breeding have been recorded in Trinidad for 1996 in the Caroni Swamp. Since 1993, two pairs of our small (15) resident flock of Blue and Gold Macaws have bred successfully; this success continued in 1997. In January 1991, the first recorded live hatch of 2 Anhinga anhinga for Trinidad took place on the Trust’s second lake. Regular live hatches continue to be recorded, with the successfully fledged birds now resident in the area.

An Educational feature of the Wildfowl Trust 

Text and Photograhs by Rishi Goordial- Trust Member

 

 

There are about 22 species of Grebes worldwide.

The Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus) is an aquatic bird and is the smallest member of the grebe family in the Americas. Its length is between 8.3–10.6 in. Spending most of their time on water, Grebes can be found on freshwater ponds, lakes, and marshes. On one of the dams that perimeter the Trust we are very fortunate to have active, breeding Least Grebes for a couple years now.

Small and plump, with a fairly short, sharp-pointed bill and bright yellow eyes, it typically appears quite dark /sooty all over. The breeding adult is brownish grey above with a darker blackish crown and throat while the immature are paler and greyer with a black striped head and dull eyes.

 

Grebes have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. Although they can run for a short distance, they are prone to falling over, since their legs are set well back on their body.

The Grebe’s diet consists of aquatic life, including small fishes, crustaceans, frogs and aquatic insects. It pursues much of its prey under water. During active feeding, it spends an average of 12 seconds beneath the surface on each dive. They also respond to danger by diving rather than flying.

 

Each pair builds a compact floating nest of vegetation with a variety of aquatic weeds which is anchored to rooted plants in still open water as deep as 5 ft. The female lays three to six white eggs. Both adults incubate the eggs, which hatch after 21 days. The striped young are sometimes carried on the adult’s back.

Photography by Rishi Goordial, Trust Member

Sclentific name: Parkesia noveboracensis

 

This warbler was sited at the Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust in February 2017 around the Trust’s Nature Trail.

An Adult is a very small songbird with a brown back,creamy underside with dark stripes. The bird also has whitish or yellowish eyestripe and constantly bobs its tail.

Scientific Name: Orthopsittaca Manilata

Family: Psittacidae (Parrots and Macaws)

 

An intrinsic part of the avian fauna of the Nariva Wetlands includes the endangered Blue & Gold Macaws (Ara araurauna):This species bred at the Trust has been re-introduced into the Nariva Wetlands .The population of  Red-Bellied Macaws(Orthopsittaca manilata) has diminished severely over recent years.

The struggle to save the viability and the ecosystem services of Trinidad & Tobago’s first RAMSAR (1993) site together with the community of small-scale rice-farmers, fishermen and farmers includes the need to conserve the high species diversity there  The Forest Act of the Government of T & T declared the Nariva Wetlands as a Protected Area in 1968. Further as a result of  persistent lobbying of the P-a-P Wildfowl Trust, the Nariva Wetlands was declared as an Environmentally Sensitive Area in 2006  under the EM Act.

 

Mainly green. Feathers of throat and breast dull pale bluish, edged green; center of abdomen dull red. Forecrown and cheeks blue. Greater under wing coverts golden olive. Tail green. Bare parts of cheeks lemon yellow. Forested rivers, Moriche swamps sometimes seen in flocks of over 100. Feeds on the Moriche Palm fruits. When perched very difficult to see. Call loud but less raucous than that of other parrots. (Source: A Guide to the Birds of venezuela)

Fairly common local resident in Trinidad in Nariva Swamp and the vicinity of Aripo Savannah, especially where the moriche palm abounds. The birds feed primarily in the early morning and evening, and at these times flocks are very conspicuous as they travel from one feeding place to another. They roost communally. (Source: A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago, Second edition).