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Field Guides Tour Report
Panama's Canopy Tower II 2016: Canopy Lodge Extension
Feb 18, 2016 to Feb 22, 2016
Chris Benesh & Eliecer Rodriguez Madrid

The dramatic skyline at Altos del Maria. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

We had a wonderful extension to the birdy environs of El Valle de Anton with Canopy guide Eliecer. We spent one morning birding at La Mesa and Las Minas Trail, and the afternoon at Cara Iguana. The following day was spent exploring the productive Altos del Maria. The extension finished up with a visit to the coastal lowlands of Juan Hombron and Santa Clara before we said goodbye to Eliecer and headed to the Canopy Tower. -- Chris

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

A Tropical Screech-Owl seen on the Canopy Lodge grounds. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps) – Great looks at some pigging out on bananas at the Canopy Lodge.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
CRESTED BOBWHITE (CRESTED) (Colinus cristatus panamensis) – Elicier spotted a female alongside the road in Chiru.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – A few soaring overhead at Juan Hombron.
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – Great views of a bunch of these at Raul's place in Santa Clara.

Raul's place at Playa Santa Clara was a great place to study Magnificent Frigatebirds up close. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
BROWN BOOBY (Sula leucogaster) – Very distant birds on a buoy.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga anhinga)
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Memorable was one trying to eat a snake while the snake was attempting to strangle it.

A Mottled Owl peers back at us from its day roost. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus) – Quite a few of these in the rice fields at Juan Hombron.
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

One of the Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures we enjoyed near Juan Hombron. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus) – We eventually found a couple of close birds at Juan Hombron. Quite an attractive head pattern.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus)
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus) – What an amazing spectacle seeing 80-90 of these spectacular birds skirting over the treetops near the Canopy Lodge on their way north.
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis)
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Pat and Joe had one at Juan Hombron.

This male Garden Emerald was one of the many colorful hummingbirds seen on the tour. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
GRAY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus) – Seen and heard at the Canopy Lodge with great views of one near the compost site.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana) – Birds in this part of their range are blackish. Several at Juan Hombron.

Part of the wonderful migrant flock of Swallow-tailed Kites seen near the lodge. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)
SANDWICH TERN (CABOT'S) (Thalasseus sandvicensis acuflavidus)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa)

A lovely portrait of a Broad-billed Motmot. (Photo by participant Joe Demko)

PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND-DOVE (Columbina minuta) – A couple of good views of this savanna species at Juan Hombron.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – A flock was at Juan Hombron.
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – This was the widespread species near Juan Hombron.
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – Seen on our last night at the lodge.
MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata) – Great views of two roosting birds at the Canopy Adventure site.

While this is not the best shot, the Tody Motmot was a real highlight of the extension. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) – A local got us on to one at Cara Iguana.
Apodidae (Swifts)
BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus)
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy)
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis)
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti)
VERAGUAN MANGO (Anthracothorax veraguensis) – Some good views of birds coming to flowers at Juan Hombron. This species is virtually a Panamanian endemic.
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris) – Great looks at a nesting bird at Cara Iguana.
GARDEN EMERALD (Chlorostilbon assimilis) – A stunning male at Cara Iguana was a treat.

This Sara Longwing was one of many non-avian highlights... (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

BRONZE-TAILED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura urochrysia)
CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica) – Who doesn't love a green and purple hummingbird? This is one of the few recent lumps in the bird world too.
SNOWCAP (Microchera albocoronata) – A few around Altos del Maria including a nice male.
SNOWY-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia edward collata)
SAPPHIRE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lepidopyga coeruleogularis)

... as was this colorful Cydno Longwing. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Trogonidae (Trogons)
ORANGE-BELLIED TROGON (Trogon aurantiiventris) – It took a lot of searching but we eventually tracked down one at Altos del Maria.
Momotidae (Motmots)
TODY MOTMOT (Hylomanes momotula) – Elicier whistled in one for us on our way to Altos del Maria.
BLUE-CROWNED MOTMOT (LESSON'S) (Momotus coeruliceps lessonii) – The presence of birds near El Valle (Cara Iguana) is a relatively recently known phenomenon, having previously been known only from western Panama north to Mexico. We got some quick looks at heard its double whoop call well.
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii) – Most memorable was the one visiting the feeder at the Canopy Lodge.
BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum)
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

One of the most sought-after species was this male Orange-bellied Trogon, which we tracked down at Altos del Maria. (Photo by participant Joe Demko)

BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
SPOT-CROWNED BARBET (Capito maculicoronatus maculicoronatus) – A pair was up the road from the Canopy Lodge on our first afternoon there.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
EMERALD TOUCANET (BLUE-THROATED) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus caeruleogularis) – Two of these colorful birds were along the road in Altos del Maria.
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus)
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus)

Another terrific find was this Brown-billed Scythebill! (Photo by participant Joe Demko)

Picidae (Woodpeckers)
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus)
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – A memorable look at Altos del Maria.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway)
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – A pair were seen in flight along Las Minas trail.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – A big adult was at Juan Hombron.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
BLUE-FRONTED PARROTLET (Touit dilectissimus) – Their distinctive calls were heard and two starling shaped parrots winged overhead. Unfortunately the lighting was less than perfect.

We had a couple of nice looks at Russet Antshrikes in the cloud forest's mixed flocks. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis)
BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis) [*]
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)
YELLOW-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona ochrocephala panamensis) – A few seen near the coast.
BROWN-THROATED PARAKEET (VERAGUAS) (Eupsittula pertinax ocularis)
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus)

A Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant at Juan Hombron. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)
RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes anabatinus) – Good views of a close bird in a mixed flock on Las Minas trail.
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis)
CHECKER-THROATED ANTWREN (Epinecrophylla fulviventris)
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor)
DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides tyrannina)
WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza longipes) – We eventually nailed down this one after hearing it chattering from a dense thicket.

We marveled at the impressive tail feathers of this Fork-tailed Flycatcher. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

DULL-MANTLED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza laemosticta) – A good encounter with a pair on the nature trail behind the lake.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans)
SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius)
BROWN-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus pusillus olivaceus) – What a terrific bird. This was by far my best experience with this species at Altos del Maria.
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)
SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens) – Several really nice looks at this often elusive species.
RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops) – A couple in one of the last mixed flocks were encountered.

This shot of Yellow-bellied Elaenia shows off its bifurcated crest well. (Photo by participant Joe Demko)

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
MOUSE-COLORED TYRANNULET (MOUSE-COLORED) (Phaeomyias murina eremonoma) – Pretty common in the open country at Juan Hombron.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)
LESSER ELAENIA (Elaenia chiriquensis) – One was seen near "Barfing Goat Lake" on the road to La Mesa.
OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus)
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)
RUFOUS-BROWED TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes superciliaris)
PALTRY TYRANNULET (MISTLETOE) (Zimmerius vilissimus parvus) – There is some potential for this poor species to be split into as many as three species based in large part on vocal differences.
SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus) – A tiny flycatcher with a fancy cap.

This Tufted Flycatcher is summed up with the word "cute." (Photo by participant Joe Demko)

PALE-EYED PYGMY-TYRANT (Atalotriccus pilaris) – A nice look at this tiny flycatcher at Juan Hombron.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum) – One of the cutest flycatchers around.
EYE-RINGED FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus brevirostris)
WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus) [*]
SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius)
TUFTED FLYCATCHER (COSTA RICAN) (Mitrephanes phaeocercus aurantiiventris) – Note that birds here differ from those further north in Mexico as well as being less cinnamon in color.
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus) – One seen nicely at La Mesa.

Another snazzy flycatcher is the tiny Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens)
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – One entertained us near the lake at Altos del Maria.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – We saw an amazing interaction between two birds (presumed males). One chased the other relentlessly through the trees. Each time the pursued would land, his attacker would land next to him and proceed to bite at him. Wow!
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
PANAMA FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus panamensis)
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)
RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)

The big-eyed Eye-ringed Flatbill. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus savana) – These impressive kingbirds showed well at Juan Hombron.
Pipridae (Manakins)
WHITE-RUFFED MANAKIN (Corapipo altera) – A gorgeous male and a couple of females seen.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata) – Blasted pirate!
NORTHERN SCHIFFORNIS (NORTHERN) (Schiffornis veraepacis dumicola) [*]

This female Barred Antshrike was another treat at Juan Hombron. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) – An excited one was at La Mesa with its crest flared.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
YELLOW-GREEN VIREO (Vireo flavoviridis)
SCRUB GREENLET (Hylophilus flavipes) – Looking slightly fierce with its white eyes. Seen at Juan Hombron.
GOLDEN-FRONTED GREENLET (Pachysylvia aurantiifrons)
LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (NORTHERN) (Cyclarhis gujanensis perrygoi) – This was the last new bird that Eliecer found for us at Santa Clara.

Panama's namesake flycatcher. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
BLACK-CHESTED JAY (Cyanocorax affinis)
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca) – A few of these were seen at La Mesa.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
SCALY-BREASTED WREN (WHISTLING) (Microcerculus marginatus luscinia) [*]

A Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
OCHRACEOUS WREN (Troglodytes ochraceus ligea) [*]
RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus)
PLAIN WREN (Cantorchilus modestus)
BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus) – Good views of this large wren right at the Canopy Lodge.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta)
GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys)

The distinctive outline of a Long-tailed Tyrant. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) – Mostly heard and briefly seen on this extension.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus)
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – This one managed to show up each and every day.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla)
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)

The Chestnut-capped form of Rufous-capped Warbler. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera)
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea)
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina)
BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea)
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

A colorful Golden-hooded Tanager. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica)
RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (CHESTNUT-CAPPED) (Basileuterus rufifrons mesochrysus) – It is pretty clear from morphology and voice that birds found from southern Guatemala and Honduras south and eastward represent a different species. Perhaps in future this will be recognized.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – Nice views of this streamside species. It's rump really glows buff, extraordinary for a warbler species.
CANADA WARBLER (Cardellina canadensis)
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
TAWNY-CRESTED TANAGER (Tachyphonus delatrii)
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus)

The Silver-throated Tanager. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (LEMON-RUMPED) (Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus) – Lemon-rumped is a more fitting name for the birds seen in Panama. However, forest clearing in Columbia has led to secondary contact between true flame-rumped birds and lemon-rumped birds, leading taxonomists to lump the two populations together.
CRIMSON-BACKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus dimidiatus)
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)
PLAIN-COLORED TANAGER (Tangara inornata)
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola)

The Yellow-green Vireo has an impressive bill. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

EMERALD TANAGER (Tangara florida)
SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala) – A gorgeous bird that has started visiting the Canopy Lodge feeders in recent weeks.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)
BLACK-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Chrysothlypis chrysomelas)
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea)

Tawny-capped Euphonia. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

VARIABLE SEEDEATER (VARIABLE) (Sporophila corvina hoffmannii)
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)
DUSKY-FACED TANAGER (Mitrospingus cassinii)
ROSY THRUSH-TANAGER (Rhodinocichla rosea) – Eliecer got this shy species in the scope for us on the lodge grounds.
BLACK-HEADED SALTATOR (Saltator atriceps)

The not so Flame-rumped Tanager. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus)
SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) – Terrific looks at this often elusive species. A beautiful song and a cardinal-like chip note.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (CENTRAL PANAMA) (Chlorospingus flavopectus punctulatus) – Good views of this species formerly known as a bush-tanager.
BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris)
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris) – Quite a smart-looking sparrow.
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BRUSHFINCH (Arremon brunneinucha) [*]

Thick-billed Seed-Finch. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (HIGHLAND) (Piranga flava testacea) [*]
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)
BLACK-FACED GROSBEAK (Caryothraustes poliogaster) – It took a while, but we got some decent looks along the Las Minas trail.
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanocompsa cyanoides)
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – A few seen at heard in various grasslands.

A bit of the Many-banded Coral Snake that Joe spotted. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – A few of these seen in a pasture near the oropendola colony they parasitize.
YELLOW-BILLED CACIQUE (Amblycercus holosericeus) [*]
CHESTNUT-HEADED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius wagleri) – Best views were those coming to feeders at the Canopy Lodge and visiting nests at La Mesa.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla)
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris)
TAWNY-CAPPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia anneae) – Some nice studies including one munching on wild bananas.

One of our nice studies of Three-toed Sloth. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

BROWN-THROATED THREE-TOED SLOTH (Bradypus variegatus) – A couple of nice views. This species is the only sloth found at mid-elevations.
VARIEGATED SQUIRREL (Sciurus variegatoides) – Well seen at Juan Hombron.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – Common around the Canopy Lodge.
CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata)
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica)


Totals for the tour: 208 bird taxa and 5 mammal taxa