Photos by Roger Neckles
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Fungi
Ears of the forest is the local name for this species of fungi. While walking through the forests of Trinidad and Tobago one may encounter at least a dozen varieties.
Chaconia Flower
The Chaconia flower is the national flower of Trinidad and Tobago. It is abundant throughout richly forested areas at most elevations in Trinidad and Tobago. The double Chaconia was discovered as a single mutant plant. Several plants have since been propagated artificially for the flower trade.
Philladendrums
Philodendrons are widespread throughout both islands and are common at all elevations. They are used as ornamental indoor plants throughout the world, and especially in temperate countries. They are not often seen in flower as shown here.
Hercules Beetle
The Hercules beetle is one of the largest in the world, measuring approximately 6 inches in length. When males fight, the objective is to flip the opponent over on it's back by means of clasping each others' claw-like heads rendering the other it immobile for several minutes.


The Promise of the
Pawi

full colour on recycled paper; 24 pages, saddle-stitched. Available at TT$65
Pride In Pawi: Preserving a National Treasure

The Trinidad Piping Guan or Pawi, Pipile pipile, is endemic to Trinidad and is globally among the most endangered cracids. With a population of approximately 230, its conservation status is listed as critically endangered.

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Leather Back Turtle
The Leatherback is the largest species of sea-turtle in the world, with an average weight of 800 lbs. Through the months of March to August annually they come ashore on several coarse, sandy beaches on both islands to lay their eggs in 3 ft. deep nests in the sand. The female leatherback will nest several times during this period laying approximately 100 eggs per nesting. The incubation period averages around 40 days and it is said, that of the several hundred eggs each turtle lays per season, one or two per cent will reach maturity.
Weeping Capuchin Monkey
The Weeping Capuchin is one of two species of monkeys native to Trinidad. It is somewhat of a wiry looking monkey with slender arms and legs and displays territorial behaviour, often throwing dead twigs from atop the canopy even at human visitors to its territory. It is generally found in small family groups of approximately a dozen individuals. These monkeys feed primarily on fruit which include nuts and berries but will also feed on insects such as beetles, as well as on nestlings, birds and eggs.
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The Blue-Chinned Sapphire Hummingbird is one of the smallest in our islands, measuring 3.5 inches. It is one of 17 species found in Trinidad and Tobago and feeds primarily on nectar but also consumes a fair amount of small insects and other invertebrates such as spiders.
Red-Howler Monkey
The Red-Howler Monkey is the largest species of monkey found in Trinidad. It's roaring howl can be heard for several miles and has been described as mystic. Howlers tend to be more vociferous on early mornings and late afternoons or when it starts to rain, they roar to warn other monkeys in the area of their presence and territories. Howler monkeys feed primarily on leaves, fruit, invertebrates, bird eggs and nestlings.
Pipping Guan
The Trinidad Piping Guan or Pawi is said to be the only endemic species of bird (i.e. found nowhere else in the world, including Tobago). It is endangered due to indiscriminate hunting, poaching and habitat loss. Excessive logging in the forests of Trinidad has almost eliminated the bird from the island. Piping Guans are very gregarious (i.e. they live in groups) and are not shy of humans. They are indifferent to gunfire and make easy targets for poachers.
Waterlily Amphla
This species of Water-lily (Amphla) is common in Herbaceous swamps where many life forms thrive. Species benefiting from their presence include fish, snails and birds. Birds such as lily trotters, the Wattled Jacana's, are often seen among these beautiful flowers.
Pygmy Owl
The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is the smallest in Trinidad, measuring 6 1/2 inches. It is active both day and night and can often be seen being mobbed by several species of bird because of its reputation as a nest robber. In local folklore it is called the "Jumbie Bird" (Spirit Bird) because it is believed that when one hears a "Jumbie Bird" calling at night, someone in the village is going to die.
Caribbean Buckeye
This species of butterfly, the Caribbean Buckeye is rather common in both islands. It is one of over 650 species of butterfly found here, it often seen at all levels especially on roadside verges feeding on a wide variety of terrestrial flowering plant.
Arial photo of Nariva Swamp
Nariva River on the east coast of Trinidad is one of the main waterways of the Nariva Swamp, home of the Red-Bellied Macaw, Red-howler and Capuchin Monkeys and the extremely rare Manatee or Sea Cow. The area is a protected and is a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, which is an international treaty developed to protect wetlands throughout the world. Use of the Nariva Swamp has for some years been a bone of contention between illegal rice farmers, environmentalist and the government. However the issue reached a climax during late 1996 when all illegal occupiers in the reserve were evicted by government.
Grey Hawk
The Grey Hawk is one species of bird in Trinidad which is most persecuted. It is classified by locals as a "Chicken Hawk" and is accused of stealing poultry, although no concrete evidence has ever been scientifically ascertained. Villagers are prone to kill Grey Hawks because of alleged damage to their poultry.
Violacious Trogon
The Violaceous Trogon is one three species found throughout the islands. Only one of the three is found in Tobago, the Collared Trogon. These species are popular among visiting bird watchers. They display a sluggish disposition making them quite challenging to spot. Knowing each species call makes it somewhat easier to locate.
View of the North Coast
A view of the north coast of Trinidad. The northern range is rich and diverse with many unique and rare species of fauna and flora. These islands are fortunate that 43% of the land is state owned. Some species of flora are endemic either to certain mountain areas or are found throughout the island chain of Trinidad and Tobago and their associated smaller islands.
Calm Coast
This is one of many of the romantic and calm world-class beaches of Trinidad and Tobago. Photographed along Trinidad's northern range, this beach is on the Atlantic coast.
Wattled Jacana or Lilly Trotter
The Wattled Jacana or Lilly Trotter is one of the most attractive waterfowl. It spends much of it's time foraging the underside of lillypads in search of grubs and crustaceans and other invertebrates. It's very long toes enable it to distribute its weight evenly across the surface of the lillypads.
Fulvous Tree Duck
The Fulvous Tree Duck is one of three species indigenous to these islands. In the swamps throughout the islands this species has been observed nesting atop dead palm trees. When the young hatch they plummet seemingly fatally to the ground, but bounce unscaved, heading straight for the nearest stretch of water, unfortunately they are hunted relentlessly by legal hunters and poachers.
Southern Lapwing
The Southern Lapwing is the largest of the Plover family in the world. This elegant species is a resident breeder being found all year round. It is a terrestrial nester, and is unfortunately under siege by the Indian Mongoose which was introduced to control the snake population in the sugar cane fields. This plan did more harm than good interfering with the indigenous evolution of a the wildlife decimating terrestrial bird populations by means of the nest robbing.