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Field Guides Tour Report
Panama's Canopy Camp: Lowland Darien II 2015
Dec 26, 2015 to Jan 3, 2016
John Rowlett & Nando Quiroz

A pair of Dusky-backed Jacamars hunting flying protein above the Rio Chucunaque, Darien (photo by guides John & Nando)

What a wonderful holiday week in Panama! Our tour to Canopy Camp, Darien was a fitting capstone to my 40 years of guiding advertised birding tours. From a Panama “accidental” (Bicolored Wren) and a Panama endemic (Yellow-green Tyrannulet) to a range-restricted specialty (Dusky-backed Jacamar) and one of the most highly sought species in all of Tropical America (Harpy Eagle), our seven days were full of these splendid surprises and other exciting species like Ruby-topaz and Black Oropendola. And I must say, I could not have had a finer group with whom to share that final tour.

We headed off for the Camp from the Hotel Riande in Tocumen, with a two-hour or so digression along the Llano-Carti Road near Nusagandi, where, birding along the road only, we picked up some nice foothill birds we wouldn’t see elsewhere on the tour: stellar looks at highly responsive Black-and-yellow Tanagers, Tawny-crested Tanagers, Sulphur-rumped Tanagers, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Stripe-throated Wren (which sat motionless for five minutes in response to brief playback), and Shining Honeycreeper. From here we returned to the Pan American Highway and proceeded to the Restaurant Avicar in Torti for lunch. The food is good here and the hummer birding is rich, with five or so feeders and seven species of hummers (potential for more), including great studies of Scaly-breasted, Sapphire-throated, Snowy-bellied, Long-billed Starthroat, Pale-bellied Hermit, and Black-breasted Mango. We got into Camp about 4:30 and enjoyed getting into our tents (which are extraordinarily pleasant) and settling in for some light birding around the clearing before dinner. We had five full days and a morning to bird the area. Piratic Flycatchers were back but other austral migrants, like Plumbeous Kite, hadn’t returned. My guess is that the species richness is a little better in late January through February (as it has been at Cana).

A bit ironically, the best accessible forest of the areas visited is not in Darien but in eastern Panama Province on the San Francisco Reserve (near Torti), where we had a fine Harpy Eagle hunting Howler and Spider monkeys on our last day of birding (returning to Tocumen). It was so thrilling to see one hunting monkeys rather than pore over a nestling at a staked-out nest! There we also had Black Hawk-Eagle settled and close, three Yellow-green Tyrannulets, Royal Flycatcher, Russet-winged Schiffornis, Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant, Gray-lined Hawk, White-eared Conebill, and Boat-billed Heron (heard only). The owner, one Padre Pablo, is a Franciscan whose parish grows rice and other crops for the local populace. He is a glad-handing, native Wisconsan, from Ripon, who has been living in Panama for the past 29 years. He was given an honorary doctorate by Bill Stott, at the time president of Ripon! He told me he was looking for a good drone that would allow him to blow to bits the poachers who illegally hunt on his reserve ;-) What a man of the cloth!

One day we devoted to birding near and visiting an indigenous Embera community, a fascinating event. To reach the village we took two dugout canoes upriver, then put in to a gravel beach and walked the rest of the way birding. At the landing we had the pair of Dusky-backed Jacamars (across the river) that Nando had found in the same spot last year, as well as many other species here on the river. Gray-capped Flycatcher, One-colored Becard, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, and Gray-cheeked Nunlet were seen thereabouts. We also had a hard-to-see Golden-green Woodpecker here. Along the trail our best birds were two male Black Oropendolas traveling with a big-bird flock (Black-chested Jays, other oropendolas, fruitcrows, toucans, etc.). At the village we were the center of attention as Embera artisans eagerly provided us with an opportunity to appreciate and purchase their wares as we ate our picnic lunch. Nancy won the award, hands down, as champion shopper.

Along Nando’s Trail, the only trail currently on the property itself, we had a few species like Slaty Antwren, Black-striped Woodcreeper, and Speckled Mourner that we didn’t have elsewhere on the tour. This trail is excellent for both Golden-headed and Golden-collared manakins! Birds are active and about at the clearing, at the feeders, and in the verbena, where we had a glorious adult male Ruby-topaz and some great studies of Blue-throated Goldentail. Pale-bellied Hermits are regular at the feeders. Double-banded Graytails are fairly common at Camp and in most of the second-growth forest, as are White-eared Conebills. We had both on most days (heard, if not always seen) at the Camp itself. Sooty-headed and Brown-capped tyrannulets are regular, the latter almost constant, as are Black-headed Tody-Flycatcher and Yellow-breasted Flycatcher. Barred Puffbirds are regular in the yard, and Great Crested Flycatchers are everywhere (Darien is at the center of their wintering grounds). Every morning Bright-rumped Attilas wake those who have not already been awakened by the soft notes of Mottled Owls and Whooping Motmots.

The marshy area we visited produced Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, Pied Water-tyrant, etc. This area is almost to Yaviza, where we birded on one occasion to look for the Bicolored Wrens that had taken up residency there in the cemetery. Whereas there they were buried from our ken, we had one lively bird beautifully at the beginning of the El Salto Road (though along the Pan American Highway) at a small residence where the owner said it sang every morning between 6 and 7. And so it did!

The El Salto Road was quite good but rather cut over. We had graytails, conebills, Golden-green and Red-rumped woodpeckers, and the nest of Blue Cotinga (current residents not home). A young Harpy had been seen there two weeks or so before our visit, but we had no sign of any continuance. Seems White-bellied Antbirds and Dusky Antbirds are everywhere along the road, as are quite a few Black Antshrikes. At the end of the road, at the Chucunaque River (longest in Panama), we birded a trail that was good for antbirds, including Bare-crowned. We heard Black Oropendolas from there and had another Golden-green Woodpecker. We birded a rice field one afternoon, a good distance from Camp. There we had an Aplomado Falcon and several Kestrels, a few Red-breasted Blackbirds, a big flock of Muscovy Ducks (18-20) and not much else of note. No Little Cuckoo, no Dwarf Cuckoo.

One of the areas we visited is known as Santa Rosa, a new area developed by Nando via his connection with local folk. Here we had Black Antshrike, Golden-crowned Spadebill, and Dull-mantled Antbird. This trail lies at the base of great hill forest that looks about as good as San Francisco. However, to date there is only the one trail. Another forested area we birded was Las Donsallas Ranch where we had Graytails, a pair of Crane Hawks, a nesting pair of Pearl Kites, Northern Barred Woodcreeper, White Hawk, King Vultures (not uncommon throughout the region), etc. Orange-crowned Orioles are scattered about, but here and at the Torti restaurant are where we had our best looks. Near Yaviza is an excellent area for Spectacled Parrotlet and Black Oropendola, both of which we saw handsomely. Six of the former flew down into a cecropia at eye level for all to goggle at. What a fine little bird! Hadn’t seen one for years—since I was last in El Real, I think. (And nobody remembers when that was.)

I know everyone joins me in thanking Nando for his great leadership on the tour and his arranging our transport and felicities in the field. It was wonderful to meet much of his family and to have the Camp to ourselves. We applaud Raul's vision and commitment. I also want to thank Nancy Hoffman for the photos I’ve used in the triplist; I hope the annotations bring back good memories. Finally, I must thank all of you for making our tour such a pleasure to guide, reminding me of the immense joy that has been mine guiding tours and making me at once regret stepping aside. I genuinely look forward to birding with you somewhere, sometime, even if on an unadvertised tour!


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

Tinamidae (Tinamous)
GREAT TINAMOU (Tinamus major) – These darn tinamous are often difficult to see. [*]
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata) – A large group of 15-18 birds seen from the rice fields late in the evening.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps) – A pre-roosting group seen in the woodlands that skirted the rice fields.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Common only along the Rio Chucunaque.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga anhinga) – Three along the Rio Chucunaque.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Several here and there in marshy areas and pools.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Ditto. Also along the Rio Chucunaque.
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – Mostly along the Rio Chucunaque.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Widespread.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – One spotted and identified by Daphne at a pond at San Francisco Reserve. [b]
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – One seen en route to the Embera community.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus) – Several at Quebrada Felix in the rice fields.
KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa) – Not uncommon in this part of Darien, where we saw it regularly.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii) – A nice surprise finding a pair of these diminutive kites at their nest on Las Doncallas Ranch. [N]

Our Harpy Eagle hunting monkeys at San Francisco Reserve, Panama (photo by guides John & Nando)

HARPY EAGLE (Harpia harpyja) – WOW. What an exciting and unexpected thrill! To see this majestic bird in the process of hunting monkeys was especially rewarding, for so many (and not all that many!) see their Harpy at the nest. It was a boon to Padre Pablo to now have a photo record of the national bird of Panama from San Francisco Reserve, something that may well help secure greater notice and protection from the government. It was a lifer for most everyone and the most-wanted bird in the world for Daphne!
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) – Excellent study of a settled and flying bird at the San Francisco Reserve. Its vocalization is one of the most distinctive of all raptors'.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus) – Seen on six of our days, perhaps best the three we saw settled along El Salto Road in the late afternoon. Everyone noted the black median chin-stripe. These kites often follow troops of monkeys whose rambunctious ways through the canopy flush lizards and other prey items into view.
CRANE HAWK (Geranospiza caerulescens) – Two birds in flight and settled at Las Donsallas. Nice looks!
COMMON BLACK HAWK (MANGROVE) (Buteogallus anthracinus bangsi) – One of 13 raptors (not counting vultures) that we had on the tour!
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – A big, long-legged raptor of grasslands and open country.
GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga) – Nice looks, including an immature.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Notice that this species is now put in a different, monotypic genus.
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – Seen nicely, a good-looking raptor! This taxon is noticeably blacker on the wings than the more northern taxon that makes it to Mexico.
GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus) – Seen on three separate days.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – Not uncommon as a wintering bird. [b]
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – Regular from the Camp clearing, where we had it as a group on three different days, but where it was seen soaring overhead most days by one of your guides during our time off.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (Laterallus albigularis) [*]
GRAY-BREASTED CRAKE (Laterallus exilis) [*]
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus) – Seen at the marsh not far from Yaviza; one seen at the pond on San Francisco Reserve.
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata) – At the marsh near Yaviza.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – Seen on the banks of the Rio Chucunaque.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)

Crane Hawk at Las Donsallas Ranch (photo by participant Nancy Hoffman)

WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana) – In wet, marshy areas.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – Along the Rio Chucunaque. [b]
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) – One on a mudflat on an oxbow of the Rio Chucunaque. [b]
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri) – One hanging out with a Spotted and a Solitary on an oxbow of the Rio Chucunaque. A lifer for Nando! [b]
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Common around low-lying marshy areas.
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – A few about away from the Camp.
SHORT-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas nigrirostris) – Seen and heard along the Llano-Carti Road and along the El Salto Road.
PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND-DOVE (Columbina minuta) – A pair at the San Francisco Reserve our last day.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – Widespread and common.
BLUE GROUND-DOVE (Claravis pretiosa) – Encountered everyday, but no common.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – Almost daily.
GRAY-CHESTED DOVE (Leptotila cassinii) – Heard at Santa Rosa forest. [*]
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – Several seen.
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) – Heard in every open area on the tour. At a couple were glimpsed in flight.
GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major) – A big, showy, glossy ani with yellow eyes!
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – The common ani. Seen daily.
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – Heard on our night drive. [*]
CRESTED OWL (Lophostrix cristata) – Heard on a couple of nights from the Camp. [*]
MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata) – One or two in residence on the Camp grounds; we heard it all but for the first evening, but we never laid eyes on it.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – Nice views of this bird's aerial hunting late along El Salto Road. Their sudden twisting and turning on short wings is more reminiscent of bats than of terns (as with Common Nighthawks).
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – Seen and/or heard most evenings.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) – Two birds seen on our night drive. Nice voices!
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – A large flock of about 200 birds at Las Donsallas Ranch.
BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus) – The common Chaetura in Darien.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – One male seen.
RUFOUS-BREASTED HERMIT (Glaucis hirsutus) – Several seen.
PALE-BELLIED HERMIT (Phaethornis anthophilus) – Great studies at the Camp. A lifer for Bill, which is somethin'!
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis) – One along El Salto Road that quickly got away.
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti) – One near Nusagandi, another along El Salto Road.

Barred Puffbirds alarm hummingbirds as puffbirds constitute a mortality source of adult hummers. (photo by participant Nancy Hoffman)

RUBY-TOPAZ HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysolampis mosquitus) – WOW. Another show-stopper, this beautiful and intensely lit-up hummer is an extraordinary bird! We had it late, feeling in the verbena along the entrance road to the Camp. Though not exactly an austral migrant, it seems to move out during the rainy season and return to Darien during the dry.
BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – Common and seen daily, as well as at our lunch spot in Torti.
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris) – Seen well at the Camp feeders and at Torti.
SCALY-BREASTED HUMMINGBIRD (Phaeochroa cuvierii) – Quite common at the Torti hummingbird feeders.
WHITE-VENTED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura buffonii) – One seen our first afternoon at the Camp feeder. Was probably regular, though we didn't spend too much early and late time at the Camp.
BLUE-CHESTED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia amabilis) – Seen in the verbenas at the Camp.
SNOWY-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia edward) – Seen were well at the Avicar Restaurant, Torti.
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl) – Seen daily; widespread.
SAPPHIRE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lepidopyga coeruleogularis) – Beautiful males and a few females at the Avicar Restaurant, Torti.
VIOLET-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Damophila julie) – Lovely males at the Camp verbena.
BLUE-THROATED GOLDENTAIL (Hylocharis eliciae) – Great studies of these "Sapphires" at the Camp verbena; they also say incessantly from the back of the Camp. Rather local in Panama.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena) – Several seen, first along Nando's Trail.
BLACK-TAILED TROGON (Trogon melanurus) – Our first of several came into playback the first afternoon near the verbenas. Nicely seen then and later.
WHITE-TAILED TROGON (Trogon chionurus) – Nice study along the Llano-Carti Road. Heard in other areas nearer Camp.
GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus) [*]
Momotidae (Motmots)
WHOOPING MOTMOT (Momotus subrufescens) – This bird was heard rather often in the pre-dawn hours, but we never did set eyes on it. It is a recent split from Blue-crowned Motmot. [*]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – Fairly common along the Chucunaque.
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona) – Seen along the Chucunaque.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus) – Nice looks at this big puffbird.
PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus) – Nice studies of this more petit species.
BARRED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus radiatus) – Perhaps the favorite this trip since a pair had a territory right on the Camp grounds. Very nicely seen and heard, delivering its wolf-whistle.
GRAY-CHEEKED NUNLET (Nonnula frontalis stulta) – Seen best just off the Rio Chucunaque as we headed for the Embera village. Jan had spotted and identified it before sharing it with us.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)

Dusky-backed Jacamar in action (video by guides John & Nando)
DUSKY-BACKED JACAMAR (Brachygalba salmoni) – WOW. Another highlight of the tour was getting such nice studies of a pair of these diminutive jacamars, only last year discovered by Nando to be present along the Chucunaque. Heretofore, a "Cana" bird. This bird's range is limited to Darien and extreme northern Colombia.
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – Nice views of this species along the track to the Embera village. We had heard one across the Rio Chucunaque where we had the Dusky-backed, but it would not show itself in response to playback.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
SPOT-CROWNED BARBET (Capito maculicoronatus rubrilateralis) – Wonderful looks at these barbets in the Camp grounds our first morning. They vocalized a good bit each day, though we paid them little mind after such nice views.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus) – Almost daily.
YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – Yellow-throated is the new English name for this toucan which we called Black-mandibled in the field. That is apt since Yellow-throated is set to distinguish both "Chestnut-mandibled" and "Black-mandibled" from White-throated. Since it is "Chestnut-mandibled" (of Yellow-throated) that we were seeing, it's nice not to have to confuse the issue by calling the "Chestnut-mandibled" Black-mandibled, or referring to it as "Chestnut-mandibled Black-mandibled Toucan."
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – No changes here! Seen and enjoyed daily.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus) – Seen nicely on the Camp grounds our first morn; also encountered on other days.
BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pucherani) – Seen best on the Camp grounds; also elsewhere.
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus) – Almost daily. [N]
RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis kirkii) – Seen on several occasions, especially well on El Salto Road.
GOLDEN-GREEN WOODPECKER (Piculus chrysochloros) – Seen first along El Salto Road, but best at the jacamar spot on the Rio Chucunaque.
SPOT-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Colaptes punctigula) – Seen on several days, but first and best at the swamp near Yaviza where Nando's imitation turned one around in mid-air. Great study of a pair.
CINNAMON WOODPECKER (Celeus loricatus) – Encountered on most days; seen nicely.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – Heard on most days; seen across the river near the Embera village.
CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos) – Fairly common and seen almost daily. Doing well in Darien.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
RED-THROATED CARACARA (Ibycter americanus) – Seen best at Quebrada Felix, where three birds greeted us with their macaw-like screams.

Adult Yellow-headed Caracara (photo by participant Nancy Hoffman)

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – Regular along the Pan American Highway.
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima) – Widespread and seen almost daily.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – One seen at Las Donsallas Ranch. As can be seen from its monotypic generic name, this bird is a snake-eater.
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – Common at Quebrada Felix; also seen at Las Donsallas Ranch.
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis) – What a treat at Quebrada Felix!
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – Several seen about; one was hanging around the Camp and could be heard as it hunted early and late.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis) – Common and seen daily.
BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis) – Seen in flight at Santa Rosa Forest and at San Donsallas Ranch.
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus) – Seen well daily; the Pionus of Darien.
RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis) – Common and seen well daily. This is the common Amazona at the Camp and in all of the areas we birded.

Mealy Parrot at Las Donsallas Ranch, Darien (photo by guides John & Nando)

MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa) – Fairly common and encountered daily, but not as plentiful as its congener, the Red-lored.
SPECTACLED PARROTLET (Forpus conspicillatus) – Great looks near Yaviza at about eight birds that were responding to playback by flying into the near cecropias. The commonest Forpus in Colombia, this tiny parrot is scarce at the northern limits of its range in eastern Darien.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – Heard along the oxbow of the Rio Chucunaque. [*]
BLACK-CROWNED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus atrinucha) – We had heard this antshrike for several days before we saw our first one that Jan found on the track to the Embera village. We then had a pair on the trail at Las Donsallas Ranch that showed nicely.
BLACK ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus nigriceps) – What a fine look at this antshrike, both male and female, at Santa Rosa Forest; several of you noticed how spiffy is the female compared to the all-black male. This is another bird that eastern Panama Province and Darien share with northern Colombia.
CHECKER-THROATED ANTWREN (Epinecrophylla fulviventris) – A pair seen in Santa Rosa Forest.
MOUSTACHED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula ignota) – One along El Salto Road; not seen very well, but heard a great deal!
PACIFIC ANTWREN (Myrmotherula pacifica) – A female seen across the Rio Chucunaque at the jacamar spot.
WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula axillaris) – Seen on Nando's Trail and on the trail at Las Donsallas Ranch.
SLATY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula schisticolor) – One seen by some on the trail at Las Donsallas (with the White-flanked).
DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides tyrannina) – Seen along El Salto Road and heard on the trail at that road's end, just beside the Chucunaque (where we saw the Bare-crowned so well).
BARE-CROWNED ANTBIRD (Gymnocichla nudiceps) – A pair seen well along the trail at the end of El Salto Road. Great response to playback.
WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza longipes) – This widespread antbird was heard on four days but never glimpsed. [*]
CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza exsul) – Same with this species! [*]
DULL-MANTLED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza laemosticta) – Fabulous. This prize was seen right at our feet on the track in Santa Rosa Forest. In response to playback this bird exposes its extensive, white interscapular patch, in bold rejection of "dull-mantled"!
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis) – This widespread forest-floor species was heard only (often right from our tents). [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
SCALY-THROATED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus guatemalensis) – Heard at San Francisco Reserve, but would not respond to playback. [*]
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) – Seen along Nando's Trail and El Salto Road.
NORTHERN BARRED-WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae) – A pair of this fine woodcreeper seen well on the trail at Las Donsallas. The subtle barring all over this bird is quite extraordinary.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) – Encountered in several places, first on Nando's Trail. A widespread member of its genus.
BLACK-STRIPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus) – Much scarcer than Cocoa, this Xiphorhynchus is always a pleasure; we saw it along Nando's Trail.
RED-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris) – Unfortunately, heard only, both near Nusagandi and along the trail to the Embera village.
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – The common woodcreeper of the area; we saw it best right on the Camp grounds.
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus) – A pair along Nando's Trail.
DOUBLE-BANDED GRAYTAIL (Xenerpestes minlosi) – Heard many places, finally seen well at Las Donsallas and by some of us on the grounds at the back of the Camp that afternoon. The tiniest Furnariid of the tour and a great bird to see well.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

Female White-tailed Trogon (photo by participant Nancy Hoffman)

BROWN-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Ornithion brunneicapillus) – Nice looks at this small Tyrannid right on the grounds where it sang daily during our stay. We noted the prominent white eye-brow and the brown cap.
YELLOW-CROWNED TYRANNULET (Tyrannulus elatus) – Heard almost daily ("so dear!"); seen well on the grounds in the afternoon.
FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii) – Seen several times; heard daily.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) – Seen almost daily; this taxon is endemic to Darien.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus) – One along El Salto Road.
YELLOW-GREEN TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes flavovirens) – Tremendous looks at this little endemic Tyrannid (the only species-level endemic on our tour) at San Francisco Reserve. We had three birds that were very responsive to playback. And we had one or two in the scope! A lifer for Carole, no mean feat. [E]
SOOTY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseiceps) – Seen in the Camp clearing before we went into the forest on our second morning.
PALTRY TYRANNULET (Zimmerius vilissimus) – This common, poorly named Tyrannid was heard in the vicinity of Nusagandi and around Camp on two other days. No one sat eyes on it. [*]
BLACK-CAPPED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis atricapillus) – Heard near Nusagandi, seen very nicely at San Francisco Reserve.
SOUTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma olivaceum) – Heard along Nando's Trail.
BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum nigriceps) – Well seen on the Camp grounds.
OLIVACEOUS FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus olivaceus) – One proved difficult to move into view for most, along El Salto Road.
YELLOW-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (YELLOW-MARGINED) (Tolmomyias assimilis flavotectus) – Seen and heard around the Camp grounds.
YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris) – Seen and heard almost daily, perhaps best right on the grounds; this is but a recent colonizer of Darien.
GOLDEN-CROWNED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus coronatus) – A responsive pair seen by most along the track in Santa Rosa Forest.
ROYAL FLYCATCHER (NORTHERN) (Onychorhynchus coronatus mexicanus) – Not uncommon in Darien, where seen on three days while heard on another.
RUDDY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Terenotriccus erythrurus) – This mite was seen along the trail where we had the Northern Barred-Woodcreepers and White-flanked Antwrens at Las Donsallas.
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus) – One studied at San Francisco Reserve.
ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens) – Heard on several occasions, and finally seen at the Camp on our last full day.
PIED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola pica) – Seen along the road in the marsh near Yaviza.
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – Several scattered about; seen well.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – Seen along El Salto Road and heard most days at the Camp where one always greeted us vocally before we got away in the mornings.
CHOCO SIRYSTES (Sirystes albogriseus) – Seen along El Salto Road; we called it Western Sirystes on the tour, but this past autumn the name was changed to Choco Sirystes (a very wet region in Colombia).
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – Heard on a couple of days. [*]
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) – Heard and/or seen every day. Darien is at the center of this Myiarchus's wintering range.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Recorded on a couple of days, especially along the Rio Chucunaque.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua) – Seen almost every day; a pair had set up its territory on the grounds.
RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis) – Common and seen every day.
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus) – Seen on several days, including at Camp.
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – This nest-parasite had just returned from the south; we had one at Camp and along El Salto Road. [a]
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Seen daily.

Fork-tailed Flycatcher with nesting material--or a very bizarre stick-insect! (photo by participant Nancy Hoffman)

FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus savana) – Numerous sightings of this beauty.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
PURPLE-THROATED FRUITCROW (Querula purpurata) – Seen well numerous times; we all got to see the males distend their wine-colored throat feathers, sometimes expanding them around the sides of their necks!
BLUE COTINGA (Cotinga nattererii) – We had striking males near the Embera village and at Las Donsallas Ranch. We also inspected the flimsy nest the female builds along El Salto Road. [N]
Pipridae (Manakins)
BLUE-CROWNED MANAKIN (Lepidothrix coronata) – An immature male was heard by all and glimpsed by some along the Llano-Carti Road.
GOLDEN-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus vitellinus) – Marvelous views of these handsome males at leks along Nando's Trail; heard lekking elsewhere as well.
GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala) – Another marvelous manakin, this one also seen along Nando's Trail and heard elsewhere.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor) – Seen well in several locations, including on the Camp grounds.
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata) – Several seen on four days. This is a widespread species.
RUSSET-WINGED SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis stenorhyncha panamensis) – This taxon is limited to eastern Panama and northwestern Colombia. Russet-winged is a split of Thrush-like Schiffornis into Northern, Foothill, Russet-winged, and Brown-winged. We had quick looks at San Francisco Reserve, although some folks were positioned unluckily and missed it save for flyovers.
SPECKLED MOURNER (Laniocera rufescens) – A pair seen nicely along Nando's Trail, the blond flecks on shoulders and breast seen well.
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) – Common and seen well around Camp, as well as other locations.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) – Seen best along El Salto Road.
ONE-COLORED BECARD (Pachyramphus homochrous) – A pair seen well overhead at the Dusky-backed Jacamar spot along the Rio Chucunaque.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – Seen along El Salto Road where playback of its alarm attracted various birds, including our first White-eared Conebills.
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus) – One seen on the grounds and elsewhere.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
BLACK-CHESTED JAY (Cyanocorax affinis) – Finally seen properly, this large jay is widespread from Costa Rica south to northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela. Often somewhat shy.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)

Male Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Torti, Panama (photo by participant Nancy Hoffman)

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – Common and widespread.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – Also seen on most days; widespread.
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea) – Seen on the Rio Chucunaque; may suggest a Tree Swallow.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Our largest group was at the marsh near Yaviza. [b]
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – Heard and/or seen almost daily.
WHITE-HEADED WREN (Campylorhynchus albobrunneus harterti) – Seen many times and enjoyed right on the Camp grounds.
BICOLORED WREN (Campylorhynchus griseus) – WOW. Another superb species to see in Panama! After driving to Yaviza in an effort to see a pair that had been discovered there, yet missing it, we found a single bird that Nando had recently seen much closer to the Camp! Turns out that bird appears to have taken up residence right along the Pan American Highway. My first for Panama, of course. This taxon, either albicilius or bicolor, is extremely rich chestnut above with very black cap contrasting strongly with the white eye-brow; quite different from the anemic Venezuelan taxa.
BLACK-BELLIED WREN (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris) – Unfortunately, heard only. [*]
STRIPE-THROATED WREN (Cantorchilus leucopogon) – Splendid views of a bird that sat mesmerized by playback along the Llano-Carti Road. Wonderful.
BAY WREN (CENTRAL AMERICAN) (Cantorchilus nigricapillus schottii) – Heard near Nusagandi.
BUFF-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus leucotis) – Heard many times (especially along the river) and seen at the verbenas on the grounds while we were watching for the Ruby-topaz.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea) – Seen along El Salto Road with other small birds joining in on the mobbing being done by Yellow-throated Vireo playback.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – Seen briefly on a couple of days.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – Seen best, perhaps, driving to Santa Rosa Forest and into San Francisco Reserve (the last being the "guarantee's" triple backup ;-).
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – The boreal migrant wintering on the grounds was heard calling almost daily and was finally seen by some. [b]
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – A female was seen on the grounds. [b]
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – What a surprise to see this bird pop up out of the foliage near the Dusky-backed Jacamars! Nice. [b]
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina) – Several seen well. [b]
BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea) – The commonest wintering Parulid in Darien; we had many on almost every day. [b]
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – Carole got us on one near the Embera village. [b]
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – Seen almost daily. [b]
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – Seen on the stream well below us at Santa Rosa Forest. Heard at San Francisco Reserve.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus) – Seen best, both males and females, along El Salto Road.
TAWNY-CRESTED TANAGER (Tachyphonus delatrii) – A large group seen devouring some fruit along the Llano-Carti Road. Nice tawny crests of the males!
FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (Ramphocelus flammigerus) – Seen at Las Donsallas.
CRIMSON-BACKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus dimidiatus) – Seen almost daily; common in lowland Darien.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus) – Daily.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Also daily.
GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Tangara larvata) – Almost daily. A pretty Tangara.
PLAIN-COLORED TANAGER (Tangara inornata) – Seen daily, often picking at the bark along the horizontal limbs for food.
SCARLET-THIGHED DACNIS (Dacnis venusta) – Seen several times in the tanager flocks along the Llano-Carti Road.
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana) – Seen almost daily; Jan found us a nest. [N]
SHINING HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes lucidus) – Seen best along the Llano-Carti Road.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – One male on our first day, one male on our last.
SULPHUR-RUMPED TANAGER (Heterospingus rubrifrons) – Excited response from a group of these tanagers along the Llano-Carti Road. Wonderful studies.

Male Black-and-yellow Tanager near Nusagandi (photo by participant Nancy Hoffman)

BLACK-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Chrysothlypis chrysomelas) – A beautiful tanager, the males so gaudy in their black and yellow. Seen along the Llano-Carti Road.
WHITE-EARED CONEBILL (Conirostrum leucogenys) – Excellent views of this cool little bird on several occasions—first, along El Salto Road, then on the grounds for some, then at San Francisco Reserve.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – Abundant in the grassy fields.
RUDDY-BREASTED SEEDEATER (Sporophila minuta) – Seen in the marsh near Yaviza and at Quebrada Felix.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina) – Seen most days.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – Seen every day.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus) – A couple of birds seen.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – A regular boreal migrant in the area; at least one was hanging out on the grounds. Seen daily. [b]
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanocompsa cyanoides) – Heard several times, but... [*]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Sturnella militaris) – Good-looking birds in the same genus as our meadowlarks.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Abundant in open areas.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – A fair number seen at Los Donsallas Ranch where we had the Pearl Kites.
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – These brood parasites were seen on several days, including one day on the grounds.
ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius) – Seen best at the Riande Hotel before we left on our first day. [b]
ORANGE-CROWNED ORIOLE (Icterus auricapillus) – One at the Avicar Restaurant, Torti, that some saw; best seen from the birdmobile as we left Santa Rosa Forest.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – Several wintering in the area, including some nice adult males; also seen at the Riande our first morning while we waited for our luggage truck driver. [b]
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus cela) – Not common in Darien, but we saw a few.
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus) – Seen on many days.
CHESTNUT-HEADED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius wagleri) – Seen daily, with a big colony on the grounds behind the kitchen and dining area. We noted how much larger the males are than females!
BLACK OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius guatimozinus) – WOW. Another great bird that means Darien to me. We had great studies of two males along the track to the Embera village, as well as some flyovers along the Chucunaque and a few heard birds elsewhere.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla) – It's two-noted whistle was heard almost daily, the birds finally seen on the grounds our last day.
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris) – Also common, with birds seen here and there.
WHITE-VENTED EUPHONIA (Euphonia minuta) – Seen along the Llano-Carti Road.
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) – One seen on our fourth day.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – In urban areas. [I]

COMMON OPOSSUM (Didelphis marsupialis) – One seen on our night drive trying to escape the torch by running along the utility wire!
RED-NAPED TAMARIN (Saguinus geoffroyi) – Common on the grounds and seen daily.
MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata) – Seen and/or heard daily, intently by a hungry Harpy in the San Francisco Reserve!
WHITE-THROATED CAPUCHIN (Cebus capucinus) – Mostly heard on a couple of days; seen on one day by some.
CENTRAL AMERICAN SPIDER MONKEY (Ateles geoffroyi) – Two seen near the Howlers being sought by the Harpy.
HOFFMANN'S TWO-TOED SLOTH (Choloepus hoffmanni) – Seen along the El Salto Road and on our night drive.
BROWN-THROATED THREE-TOED SLOTH (Bradypus variegatus) – Nancy spotted our first; we were to see quite a few more.
BRAZILIAN RABBIT (Sylvilagus brasiliensis) – Several, including one that the neighboring dogs chased to its death.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis) – Regular on the grounds around Camp.


A few more, non-avian creatures to mention: We had a couple of tree boas during our night drive (hanging overhead!); a very large scorpion; a fascinating leaf-frog; and quite a few "Jesu-Cristo," or Basilisk, lizards.

Totals for the tour: 246 bird taxa and 9 mammal taxa