Possible Intra-Regional Bird Migration in Trinidad and Tobago

Richard ffrench


The position of Trinidad and Tobago at the southern end of the West Indies island chain, linking them to the South American continent, raises some interesting problems relating to bird migration. The best known routes involve species that breed in North America or West Indies and migrate south to or through Trinidad and Tobago during the boreal winter. Because most of these populations have been studied for many years, and also because banding studies, primarily originating in North America, have provided valuable information on the movements of individuals, we are able to form a fairly accurate picture of where these species are at any time of year, and why they move from place to place. To a much lesser extent we also know something about the regular annual movements of a few species that breed in southern South America and move northward during the austral winter, some of these spending the months from May to September on our islands (Table I). In this paper I will deal partly with this second group, but also with a third group that comprises birds that breed locally but appear to be absent regularly from our islands for a period each year.

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