Nariva Swamp is Trinidad’s largest freshwater swamp comprising over 11000 ha. It was formed as a coastal lagoon behind a sandbar. However, sand ridges parallel but inland of the coast mark the position of former shorelines formed during periods of higher sea level. These sand ridges and their subsequent erosion have lead to variable soil conditions and a mosaic of vegetation types. Many of the forested areas have been degraded by logging and by farmers who have encroached upon the swamp for agriculture and associated dwellings. Even areas with relatively intact vegetation are regularly visited by hunters.
The Nariva Swamp is currently mainly of national importance with populations of several rare and/or localized species including the Red-bellied Macaw, (Blue-and-yellow Macaw), Epaulet Oriole, Sulphury Flycatcher and Rufescent Tiger-heron. The site also represents the largest area of herbaceous swamp for crakes, bitterns and rails. The site is potentially important for migrating waterfowl but recent sightings are few.
Non-bird biodiversity: The Lagoon and waterways along the coast support a small and highly vulnerable population of West Indian Manatees. The forests within and surrounding the swamp comprise a major part of the range of the two primates indigenous to Trinidad the Red Howler Monkey Aloutta seniculus and the White-fronted Capuchin Cebus albifrons. Eleutherodactylus urichi a frog endemic to Trinidad and Tobago occurs in the Nariva Swamp.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nariva Swamp. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/07/2019.