Panama Birding

Harpy eagle © Donna Hollinger
Harpy eagle © Donna Hollinger
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March 2017 

Bill Gette led a group of travelers on a great Panama adventure. They saw a total of 263 species of birds and 14 species of mammals.

Top Ten Birds

Participants voted for the following bird species.

  1. Sunbittern
  2. Rufous nightjar
  3. Blue dacnis
  4. Crimson-crested woodpecker
  5. Spectacled owl
  6. Southern lapwing
  7. Collared aracari
  8. Keel-billed toucan
  9. Squirrel cuckoo
  10. Swallow-tailed kite

Trip Highlights

Participants provided the following trip highlights.

  • Visiting the Miraflores Locks;
  • experiencing the wild ride along Pipeline Road;
  • being on top of Canopy Tower watching the tropical dawn – hearing, and then seeing, so many birds;
  • seeing the Eyelash Viper with its distended body on the tree limb (Cerro Gaital area);
  • going to sleep at Canopy Lodge with all of the animal sounds;
  • being with a very friendly group;
  • watching the Geoffroy’s Tamarins feeding on the banana (Canopy Tower);
  • seeing the Rufous Nightjar so well camouflaged in the leaf litter (Summit Ponds area);
  • having the Sunbittern fly up the stream near us and seeing its beautiful wings;
  • taking the night ride from Canopy Tower – seeing the Rothschild’s Porcupine and Common Pauraque;
  • enjoying so much delicious food;
  • walking the beautiful grounds at Canopy Lodge;
  • having such a well-organized itinerary;
  • seeing large kettles of migrating hawks and vultures from the roof of Canopy Tower;
  • being surprised by my 50th birthday party at Canopy Tower;
  • watching and hearing all of the activity around the Chestnut-headed Oropendola nest trees;
  • finding a large green lizard during our last afternoon’s walk;
  • seeing the Northern Tamandua along the Canopy Tower road;
  • finding both the Great Potoo and Common Potoo (Pipeline Road);
  • sleeping in the warm breezes at Canopy Tower;
  • watching the Swallow-tailed Kites circling overhead in the Las Minas area above Canopy Lodge;
  • being so close to the Southern Lapwings – seeing the iridescence on the wings;
  • hearing the discussion of the Owl Butterfly at Canopy Tower;
  • watching all of the birds bathing in the stream at Canopy Lodge – Clay-colored Thrushes, Lesser Goldfinches, Tennessee Warblers, and a Gray-cowled Wood-Rail;
  • enjoying the five-minute stop in the Miraflores parking lot – seeing American Crocodiles, White Ibises, Ringed Kingfisher, and Whimbrel;
  • seeing an amazing variety of butterflies and moths;
  • enjoying the facilities at both Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge;
  • having three extraordinary local naturalist guides;
  • having so many hummingbirds flying around us at the Canopy Tower feeders;
  • seeing the Green Shrike-Vireo ;
  • having Palm Tanagers within five feet;
  • watching the leaf-cutter ants;
  • seeing the bats roosting in the abandoned termite nest (Cara Iguana Trail);
  • hearing the Mantled Howler Monkeys – especially at night;
  • watching the pair of Thick-billed Euphonias building a nest (La Mesa);
  • sitting on the veranda of Canopy Lodge and having the birds come to us – how great is that;
  • watching the Squirrel Cuckoo run through the branches – a well named bird;
  • watching the Rufous Motmot swing its tail back and forth;
  • seeing so many species of tanagers – each one so beautiful; and
  • seeing the family of Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloths in the tree during our night ride.