Some of the most commonly seen, thanks to the abundance of syrup-filled feeders draped from every balcony and branch – are the hummingbirds. The six species include the rare white-tailed sabrewing, seen mainly in the forest reserve, and the ruby-topaz – a photographer’s favourite with feathers as jewel-like as its name suggests. The large, blue-crowned motmot is another striking specimen, turquoise and emerald as the island it inhabits. The most sought after bird is arguably the male blue-backed manakin, a tiny, black bird with a sky-blue cape and splash of red on its head. You don’t have to go far to find birds though – yellow bananaquits will hop onto your breakfast table to steal guava jam, while the barks of the huge cocrico (aka the rufous-vented chacalaca) – Tobago’s national bird – is a guaranteed wake-up call.
Tobago’s diversity of species is due to its geography, straddling the Americas and the Caribbean. Although fewer than half its bird species breed here, migrants from North and South America make up the numbers.
Newton George is the island’s most renowned birding guide; his specialty is the forest reserve as well as Little Tobago. His laser pointer makes spotting dark birds in the thick foliage easy, as well as his spotting scope – he finds the birds, you just look through the lens.