Local Birds featured on our Trinidad and Tobago Bank Notes
The Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
The Scarlet Ibis is the national bird of Trinidad. Brilliant scarlet in colour, these birds are of times mistaken for flamingoes. These protected birds roost in the mangrove of the Caroni Swamp and can be seen in profusion during the breeding season which spans the months of April to June. This beautiful avian can be seen on the front of the one (1) dollar note.
The Blue-crowned Mot-mot (Momotus momota)
The blue crowned mot –mot is native to Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Central and South America area. Mot-mots have very colourful plumage with its upperparts green and a broad circle around its head which is turquoise in front and brilliant dark blue behind. This unique plumage has earned the mot- mot a place on the country’s five (5) dollar note.
The Cocrico (Ortalis ruficauda)
The Cocrico is the national bird of Tobago. Known locally as ‘Chachalaca’, the cocorico resides in the hill-forest areas of the island, and can sometimes be seen amidst the dry scrubby lands bordering the cultivated areas. Generally, Cocricos are olive brown in colour with a grey head and neck and a long, broad, bronze tail. Its legs are dark blue with orbital rings and its bare throat, red. The Cocrico, together with the Scarlet Ibis, are featured on Trinidad and Tobago’s Coat of Arms and are also featured on the country’s ten (10) dollar note.
The Hummingbird (Amazilia tobaci)
Trinidad and Tobago is known as The Land of the Hummingbird as more than sixteen (16) species of this bird have been found here. The birds are resident to both islands, and can be frequently found near houses. The Hummingbird was named from the humming sound that is produced by its rapid wing beat when it flaps its wings. This is the only bird that is able to fly backwards. The Hummingbird is featured on the face of the twenty (20) dollar note.
The Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea apodo)
The Bird of Paradise is one of the most beautiful wild birds in existence. A native to the isle of New Guinea, this exotic avian graces our one hundred (100) dollar note. These birds came to our shores through and English coca estate owner who attempted breeding them in Little Tobago in the early twentieth century. In 1928, he handed over both the birds and the island to the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago. To date, Little Tobago is the only place where the Bird of Paradise exists outside of its natural habitat of New Guinea.
The Red-capped Cardinal (Paroaria gularis)
The Red-capped Cardinal, a genus of red-headed cardinal tanagers, is a rare beautiful bird which sports the national colours of Trinidad and Tobago red, white and black.
Its habitat is semi-open areas near water and swamps and although it is rare it can be seen around the Lake at the Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust.
It feeds on insects, rice and fruit. As an adult bird it measures 16.5 cm (6.5 ins) long and weighs about 22g (0.78oz).
In celebration of the nation’s 50th Anniversary of Independence in 2012, the new olive green fifty (50) dollar note was introduced featuring the Red-capped Cardinal on the obverse.
The colours of the bird symbolize the diversity of our people and all that we aspire to, and this was a fitting selection for this prestigious milestone in our Nation’s history.