Little Tobago

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Coordinates: 11°18′N 60°31′W / 11.300°N 60.517°W / 11.300; -60.517

For the island in the British Virgin Islands, see Little Tobago, British Virgin Islands.
Looking across to St. Giles Island from Little Tobago
Red-billed Tropicbird nest on Little Tobago.

Little Tobago (or Bird of Paradise Island) is a small island off the northeastern coast of Tobago, and part of the republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The island is about 1 square kilometre in area and is located at 11° 18' north latitude and 60° 31' west longitude, approximately 2.4 km from Speyside. The highest point on the island is approximately 137 m above sea level.

The island supports dry forest. It is an important breeding site for seabirds such as Red-billed Tropicbird, Audubon's Shearwater, Brown Booby, Brown Noddy, Sooty and Bridled Terns. A few pairs of White-tailed Tropicbirds have also recently started nesting here.

Little Tobago is also a good site from which to see birds which breed on neighbouring small islands, including Red-footed Booby and Magnificent Frigatebird. The latter species is frequently seen harassing the tropicbirds, boobies and terns.

The sea between Tobago and Little Tobago is shallow, and glass-bottomed boats such as that shown below enable the attractive corals and brightly coloured tropical fish to be seen on the crossing. It is a popular area for snorkeling and diving, especially on Angel Reef in front of Goat Island.

History[edit]

In 1909 Sir William Ingram introduced the Greater Bird of Paradise, Paradisaea apoda to the island in an attempt to save the species from overhunting for the plume trade in its native New Guinea. About 45 juvenile birds were introduced to the island. After Ingram's death in 1924 his heirs deeded the island to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago as a wildlife sanctuary. The birds survived on the island until at least 1958 when they were filmed by a National Geographic crew. There are no reliable records after 1963 when Hurricane Flora hit the island and the population is presumed to be extinct.

View of Little Tobago from Blue Waters Inn, Speyside, Trinidad and Tobago, Tobago, with Goat Island nearer on the right. The white building is the former home of writer Ian Fleming

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