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Location Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad
Central coordinates 61o 26.24' West  10o 35.11' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 6,125 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description Caroni Swamp is an estuarine mangrove swamp on the west coast of Trinidad comprising roughly 6000 ha. The swamp is bordered to the north and northeast by highways, residential and commercial development. Towards the south and east of the swamp, sugarcane cultivation has given way in recent years to mixed agriculture and housing. On the western margin of the swamp and extending down the west coast of Trinidad are extensive coastal mudflats

Key Biodiversity Caroni Swamp is the major roosting and breeding site of Scarlet Ibis in Trinidad. In the early 1960s the breeding population numbered in the thousands with 2500 nests counted in June of 1963. After 1970 however the Scarlet Ibis appeared to have abandoned the breeding colony and utilised the Caroni Swamp primarily in the non-breeding season when up to 15000 birds may be present. Recent records however show a regular breeding of about 500 pairs at the eastern edge of the swamp. Apart from the Scarlet Ibis the Caroni Swamp hosts significant populations of both resident and migratory herons. It is the only location in Trinidad to support an endemic subspecies of the Straight-Billed Woodcreeper. Within recent years it has become a roost site for congregations of migrant Olivaceous Cormorants. It has historically been a major site for waterfowl in Trinidad but this is no longer the case. Small remnants of herbaceous swamp around the periphery are important to local populations of crakes and bitterns.

Non-bird biodiversity: There are no endemic species recorded from Caroni Swamp, but the site is important for the local population of Silky Anteaters Cyclopes didactylus and Crab-eating Raccoon Procyon cancrivorus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Scarlet Ibis Eudocimus ruber winter  2006  15,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2007  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Caroni Swamp Prohibited Area 200 protected area contained by site 0  
Caroni Swamp Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 8,398 protected area contained by site 0  
Caroni Swamp Reserve Forest Reserve 3,289 protected area contained by site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   major
Forest Mangrove  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
urban/industrial/transport -
agriculture -

Protection status Most of the Caroni Swamp is a prohibited area with entry by permit only and was designated a Ramsar site of international importance in 2005.

Further web sources of information 

Site profile from Important Bird Areas in the Caribbean: key sites for conservation (BirdLife International 2008)

References Anon (1999); Bacon, P.R. (1970); Bildstein, K.L. (1990); ffrench, R.P. (1977); ffrench, R. (1991); ffrench, R.P. and Haverschmidt, F. (1970)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Caroni Swamp. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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