Panama forms the geographical crossroads of two continents, where the flora and fauna of the Americas intermingle to produce a spectacular variety of life. Though Panama is an isthmus and comprises an area that is roughly equal to that of South Carolina, nearly 1,000 species of birds have been recorded within its borders. Our 9-day Venture serves as an excellent birding introduction to the country and explores 2 distinct regions – the bird-rich lowland rainforests of the Canal Zone and the foothills and cloud forests of El Valle de Anton.
Our tour begins at the very comfortable and award-winning Canopy Lodge in El Valle, where we stay for 5 nights. Here the fruit feeders attract Crimson-backed, Blue-gray, and Flame-rumped Tanagers, Rufous Motmot, and several species of warblers and tanagers, while many species of hummingbird buzz around the garden. Even a Gray-cowled Wood-Rail often makes an appearance at the feeding stations! When we are not watching the feeders, we will be exploring the nearby foothills and higher elevations for a variety of special targets including the beautiful Snowcap, Black Guan, Collared (Orange-bellied) Trogon, Brown-billed Scythebill, Black-crowned Antpitta, Rosy Thrush-tanager, Lance-tailed Manakin, and many, many more.
Our final 3 days will be spent at the one-of-a-kind Canopy Tower, a former US Air Force radar tower turned eco-lodge. Located in Soberania National Park within the Canal Zone, the tower has become known worldwide for the unique birding experience it affords to guests. Beginning each day with a cup of coffee on the observation deck, guests are treated not only to rainforest sunrises, but also to eye-level views of a colorful suite of honeycreepers, tanagers, woodcreepers, woodpeckers, toucans and other canopy-dwelling species that can be hard to see from the forest floor. Often there are sloths, tamarins, and howler monkeys visible just outside the dining room windows as well! The famous Pipeline Road, one of many excellent birding locations just a short drive away, often plays host to army ant swarms which occasionally attract Bicolored and Ocellated Antbirds, and the rare and elusive Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo. The forests here are also excellent for Blue Cotinga, all three forest falcons, and an assortment of puffbirds, trogons, motmots, flycatchers, and manakins, and there have even been sightings of the incredible Harpy & Crested Eagles over the last few years!
Join us and see for yourself why Panama is one of our favorite places for birding in the world!
Some of the local birds we hope to see around Canopy Lodge and Canopy Tower:
Sunbittern, Wattled Jacana, Spectacled and Black-and-white Owls, Pheasant Cuckoo, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Slaty-tailed, Gartered, Black-throated and White-tailed Trogons, Rufous, Whooping, Tody & Broad-billed Motmots, Great & Rufous-tailed Jacamars, Chestnut-mandibled & Keel-billed Toucans, Stripe-cheeked, Lineated & Pale-billed Woodpeckers, Great Antshrike, Ocellated and Bicolored Antbirds, White-necked, Black-chested and Pied Puffbirds, Royal Flycatcher, Masked and Black-crowned Tityras, Blue-crowned, Lance-tailed & Red-capped Manakins, Green Shrike-Vireo, and many, many more!
North American Migrants include: Bay-breasted, Kentucky and Tennessee Warblers, Northern and Louisiana Waterthrush, Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, Broad-winged and Swainson's Hawks, & many more.