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Field Guides Tour Report
Panama's Canopy Camp: Lowland Darien I 2017
Dec 29, 2017 to Jan 6, 2018
John Coons & Eliecer Rodriguez


This male Great Curassow was much shyer than the females he was with, but he still provided us with one of the highlights of our trip. Participant Wayne Whitmore got this nice image of the male peeking out from the foliage.

One of the great aspects of birding in Darien is there is always the chance of a surprise along the way. The province of Darien is still rather poorly known bird-wide compared to the rest of Panama. Much of the province is only accessible by a few roads and many of the native people travel about by dugout canoes on the river systems. And, until recently there was really no place to stay that did not involve camping, putting up a hammock, or staying in a very simple hotel right along the Pan-American Highway. That changed greatly a few years ago with the advent of the Canopy Camp, where we spent six nights in our large safari tents in a small clearing with forest on three sides of us. It didn't take us long to find one of these surprises. Driving from Panama City on our first day we stopped near the Rio Torti to look for a few area specialties and found a Russet-throated Puffbird, a bird new to Panama and to Central America. It was a great way to start our trip. Our days at the Canopy Camp were diverse. We birded the trails at the camp the first day then ventured out the other days to bird an array of forests, marshes, rivers and savannas. Our furthest expedition took us to the end of the Pan-American Highway at Yaviza where we boarded a long canoe and took it to the village of El Real. After jumping into a couple of 4WD vehicles and driving out of the village our plan to venture deeper into the forest was thwarted by the overnight rain which caused a couple or creeks to back up and completely flood the road. We made the most of the situation and crossed a foot bridge and walked a long stretch of the road where we were essentially by ourselves. We found a couple of good flocks that produced a number of birds we did not see again. On the way back to the Canopy Camp we made a few stops and had great views of a couple of very special birds for Panama, Bicolored Wren and Black Oropendola as well as a Gray-bellied Night Monkey peering out of a cavity in a tree.

A couple of days later we drove to the Rio Chucunaque and took our dugout up river and were successful in our search for the very local and small Dusky-backed Jacamar. We birded this stretch of river before stopping in the village of Nuevo Vigia where we had lunch and admired and purchased a few of the locally made baskets and masks. After each day, it was great to return to the Canopy Camp and relax with a cold drink or wine before a nice dinner.

Highlights of the trip were many and included a Little Tinamou that walked across the dirt road right in front of us, three rather close Great Curassows picking at grain just off the Pan-American Highway, a perched King Vulture in the scope, a quite small Tiny Hawk that was also perched for us, a Common Potoo we spotlighted from the canoe out of Yaviza, nearly daily views of Pale-bellied Hermits, a fabulous male Rufous-crested Coquette, a Green-and Rufous Kingfisher at the lagoon, eight species of puffbirds including our Russet-throated and the small Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Spot-crowned Barbet, Golden-green Woodpecker, Aplomado Falcon, Great Green Macaws at a distance, the very local Black Antshrike, Bare-crowned Antbird, Streaked Xenops, fantastic looks on a couple of days of close Double-banded Graytails, a nice view of the endemic Yellow-green Tyrannulet, a few male Blue Cotingas, a wonderful close view of Scaly-breasted Wren, the odd Black-capped Donacobius, Large-billed Seed-Finch, and a brilliant Orange-billed Sparrow perched in the open on a log, among many others. In the mammal department, besides our Night Monkey, highlights were daily encounters with Mantled Howler Monkeys, both Two-toed and Three-toed sloths, a couple of Neotropical Otters, and nice views of a Kinkajou and a Central American Wooly Opossum.

We celebrated New Year's and Joanne's birthday on Dec 31st with a bit of champagne and started the New Year off with a Pauraque at breakfast. The staff at the Canopy Camp looked after our every need, and it was so great to be birding with Eliecer who was amazing in his spotting ability and knowledge. It was such a joy to spend the New Year with all of you.

--John


KEYS FOR THIS LIST
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



This Russet-throated Puffbird we saw on our first day of birding proved to be the first record for Panama and all of Central America.  A South American species, this race with a single breast band is the form found in nearby Colombia. Photo by guide John Coons.

BIRDS
Tinamidae (Tinamous)
LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) – In the late afternoon as a light rain was just beginning we saw one stroll across the El Salto Road just in front of us. It is always a treat to see any tinamou in Central America.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps) – We saw a few along the El Salto Road and on our boat trip.
GREAT CURASSOW (Crax rubra) – One of the trip highlights was our last morning when we had two wonderfully colored females and a shyer male come into the back garden at the house along the highway. Yip! Yip! Yip!
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
MARBLED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus gujanensis) – We had at least one bird calling along the trail near Nuevo Vigia. [*]
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – Our only one was soaring high over the village of Nuevo Vigia.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga anhinga)
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis) – A flock of 16 flew over while we were birding the El Guavo Road.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi) – We saw a few here and there during our travels.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)
CAPPED HERON (Pilherodius pileatus) – One of the shyer of the herons, we saw this nice species a few times, near the Rio Chucunaque and again at the lagoon near Nuevo Vigia.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – Eliecer spotted one at the back of the lagoon near Nuevo Vigia and we saw it fly a couple of times as we birded the edge.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa) – Our first was a young bird near El Real then we had great scope views of a perched individual at the San Francisco Reserve.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii) – We had pretty good views of this small raptor on our drive back from Yaviza. This species has spread into Panama from the south a lot more over the last 20 years.
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus)
HOOK-BILLED KITE (Chondrohierax uncinatus) – There were two soaring birds that Eliecer spotted at Aligandi.
GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis) – We had nice scope views of one perched near Aligandi and another along the El Salto Road.
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus) – A calling bird was flying overhead on our boat trip day.
TINY HAWK (Accipiter superciliosus) – It is quite unusual to get a great look at this small Accipiter, but we had a wonderful scope view of one along the El Salto Road, then another the following day.


If there is a Long-tailed Tyrant around you can bet it will be on the end of a dead tree stub.  Photo by participant Wayne Whitmore.

CRANE HAWK (Geranospiza caerulescens) – We saw a surprising number, six in total, on four different days.
COMMON BLACK HAWK (MANGROVE) (Buteogallus anthracinus bangsi)
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – One or two were seen in the open country on our first morning as we drove from Panama to Darien.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – These were nearly daily sightings in the forested areas.
GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus)
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – Several of these wintering birds were seen on a handful of days.
SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus) – One was soaring about with a Broad-winged Hawk at Aligandi.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (Laterallus albigularis) – We ended up with pretty fair looks at this skulker in the vegetation at a marsh along the highway.
GRAY-BREASTED CRAKE (Laterallus exilis) – We had three or four different birds calling and we were quite close to one of them in the marsh along a side road in Darien but we could not lure them out. [*]
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) – One was spotted along the shore on our boat trip on the Rio Chucunaque.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana) – Several were seen amidst the shallow water of the marshes we birded along the Pan-American Highway.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – Our best views were a couple of birds perched along the El Salto Road in the late afternoon.
PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND-DOVE (Columbina minuta) – While driving out of El Real, a few of us in the back of the small truck saw one fly right past.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – These were certainly plentiful and were all over the highway in a couple of spots, where they must have been feeding on spilled grain or rice.
BLUE GROUND-DOVE (Claravis pretiosa) – This forest bird was heard calling several times but we had a scope view of one along the El Salto Road.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)


A very unusual bird and the only member of its family, we had great looks at this marshy area inhabitant, the Black-capped Donacobius.  This is a quite local species in Panama. Photo by participant Wayne Whitmore.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major) – We saw a few in the marshes.
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) – We had pretty good views of one hidden in the grass near Lake Bayano then a better view along the El Guavo Road, where it was perched in the open and singing.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – I believe we only saw one of these, a widespread tropical species that everyone likes.
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – Our night drive yielded a very nice view of this species at the edge of a small village.
MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata) – One was calling one evening at the Canopy Camp but we could not get it into view. [*]
BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Ciccaba nigrolineata) – Another heard only species near the Canopy Camp. [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor) – One individual was flying about overhead in the early morning during our boat trip to El Real.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – We heard these at the Camp each morning and evening and we saw it a few times, once it nearly landed at our feet.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus) – We had a fairly close view of one we got in the light from our boats on our way to El Real, then another perched on a fence post during our night drive.
Apodidae (Swifts)
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura) – A few were flying about over the El Salto Road.
BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus)
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora) – Not many, but we saw a couple or three at the lunch stop in Torti and at the Canopy Camp feeders.
RUFOUS-BREASTED HERMIT (Glaucis hirsutus) – We had a couple of nice looks including one perched that we got in the scope.
PALE-BELLIED HERMIT (Phaethornis anthophilus) – This hummingbird with a quite limited range was fairly common at the feeders at the Canopy Camp.
STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis)
PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti) – We had one flying around a large shrub at Aligandi.
BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – There were a fair number of these at the feeders at the restaurant at Torti. We ended up seeing this species every day of the trip.
RUFOUS-CRESTED COQUETTE (Lophornis delattrei) – Our driver, Oscar, spotted this tiny, yet very elaborate, hummingbird in a leafless tree along the El Guavo Road. It stayed for long scope views.
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris) – We had at least one at the feeders at Torti and one made occasional visits to the feeders at the Canopy Camp.


Mostly a denizen of the forest floor, we managed to scope this Chestnut-backed Antbird on the trails at the Canopy Camp. Photo by guide John Coons.

GARDEN EMERALD (Chlorostilbon assimilis) – A rather common bird in gardens, it was a bit of a surprise to see this species in the trees along Lake Bayano.
SCALY-BREASTED HUMMINGBIRD (Phaeochroa cuvierii) – A fairly widespread hummingbird in most of Central America but this area is the only place I have been where it could be called common.
WHITE-VENTED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura buffonii) – We had a couple of sightings at the Camp's feeders.
BLUE-CHESTED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia amabilis)
SNOWY-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia edward) – There were at least two individuals that made regular visits to the feeders at Torti.
RUFOUS-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia tzacatl)
SAPPHIRE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lepidopyga coeruleogularis) – A few males and females were frequent guests at the feeding stations we watched.
VIOLET-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Juliamyia julie)
BLUE-THROATED GOLDENTAIL (Hylocharis eliciae) – This rather uncommon species was seen a few times, especially in the vervain flowers at the Camp.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
SLATY-TAILED TROGON (Trogon massena)
BLACK-TAILED TROGON (Trogon melanurus) – It is unusual to be in a place where this species is the most commonly encountered trogon.
WHITE-TAILED TROGON (Trogon chionurus) – We had good views of a female on the trail at the Camp.
BLACK-THROATED TROGON (Trogon rufus) – A female with the distinctive brown head showed well on our last morning at San Francisco Reserve.
Momotidae (Motmots)
WHOOPING MOTMOT (Momotus subrufescens) – While chasing the Barred Puffbird at San Francisco Reserve we came upon a pair in the forest.
RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii) [*]
BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum) – We had a very close individual at San Francisco Reserve.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – Our first was at Lake Bayano.
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona) – We saw our only one along the Rio Torti near the lunch spot.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – Eliecer spotted this small kingfisher perched on a log over the stream at San Francisco Reserve.
GREEN-AND-RUFOUS KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle inda) – The rarest of the New World kingfishers, we saw one at the lagoon near the village of Nuevo Vigia.
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle aenea) – We had great looks at this tiny kingfisher at the lagoon near Nuevo Vigia.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus) – Two birds were perched on the powerline along the El Salto Road.
BLACK-BREASTED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus pectoralis) – We saw a couple of these during the week.
PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus) – Usually seen in pairs, we had three sightings in the more forested areas we birded.
BARRED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus radiatus) – This one took a lot of looking, but we finally came up with nice views of this species with a somewhat limited range in Panama. This was the eighth species of puffbird we saw on the trip, a new record for Panama.
RUSSET-THROATED PUFFBIRD (Hypnelus ruficollis) – Wow! We had great views and audio of this out-of-range species near the Rio Torti. It was the first record for Panama, and also for the North American bird list. A species that occurs regularly about 120 miles away in Colombia, I would not be surprised if it turns up in more places in Panama soon.
WHITE-WHISKERED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila panamensis) – Eliecer spotted one sitting quietly in the forest at San Francisco reserve.
GRAY-CHEEKED NUNLET (Nonnula frontalis stulta) – A quite unusual puffbird, we had good views right at the Canopy Camp.
WHITE-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa morphoeus) – We encountered a couple of pairs or young birds at San Francisco Reserve.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
DUSKY-BACKED JACAMAR (Brachygalba salmoni) – A very local species, right at the edge of its range in Panama, we had wonderful views of a pair near the banks of the Rio Tuquesa. This is the furthest west in Panama that this species has been found.
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda)
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
SPOT-CROWNED BARBET (Capito maculicoronatus rubrilateralis) – After we walked Nando's Trail at the Canopy Camp we emerged from the forest and found three of these unusual birds right at the edge of the clearing.


Roadside Hawks were seen almost every day. Photo by participant Wayne Whitmore.

Ramphastidae (Toucans)
COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus)
YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii) – These were fairly common around the forested areas including the Canopy Camp.
KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus) – This was the "croaking" voice that we heard in the bigger forested areas we visited.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus) – This tiny woodpecker gave us a couple of nice looks. It can be easily overlooked.
BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pucherani)
RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus) – Quite common in most second growth areas.
RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis kirkii) – This smallish woodpecker was found right in our camp.
GOLDEN-GREEN WOODPECKER (Piculus chrysochloros) – A great looking and well named species. We had a nice view from the boat along the Rio Tuquesa.
SPOT-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Colaptes punctigula) – Another species that is mostly found in Panama in the province of Darien, we had several nice looks at this handsome species.
CINNAMON WOODPECKER (Celeus loricatus) – Lynn saw the first one right outside her tent then we had a couple of sightings later on.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – This large woodpecker gave us a few nice views.
CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos)
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
RED-THROATED CARACARA (Ibycter americanus) – Quite a local species, there were a few that were near the clearing at the Canopy Camp that we saw a few times.
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway)
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima) – We saw several along the drives in the open country.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – This widespread, but always great to see, species was scoped along the road to Aligandi.
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis) – We had a couple of scope views of rather distant individuals.
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – We saw two different birds perched in large trees along the Rio Chucunaque during our boat trip.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – We saw two with the first being a rather close fly over at Lake Bayano.


One of eight species of puffbirds we saw, this White-necked Puffbird was certainly the most conspicuous. Photo by participant Wayne Whitmore.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis) – This was the common small parrot that was around the clearing on a daily basis as well as other second growth sites.
BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis) – We only had a fast fly-over.
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)
RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis) – This was the common large parrot that was flying over and perched at the Camp.
MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa)
SPECTACLED PARROTLET (Forpus conspicillatus) – A quite tiny and very local species in Central America, we had a scope view of one of a pair in a tree near a marsh right along the Pan-American Highway.
GREAT GREEN MACAW (Ara ambiguus) – While walking the Aligandi Road we had two calling individuals fly past down the road in front of us.
CHESTNUT-FRONTED MACAW (Ara severus) – Two birds flew over at the Dusky-backed Jacamar site along the Rio Tuquesa. We could have used a better look.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major) – We heard a few but Eliecer somehow spotted it, then got only the head of the bird in a scope while it sat quietly in a dense thicket.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) – A male popped up for us along the shore of Lake Bayano.
BLACK-CROWNED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus atrinucha) – Formerly known as Western Slaty-Antshrike, we had a couple of nice views.
BLACK ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus nigriceps) – Another quite local specialty, we had a male and a quite differently colored female along the trail on the El Salto Road.
CHECKER-THROATED ANTWREN (Epinecrophylla fulviventris) [*]
MOUSTACHED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula ignota) – One of the tiniest of the antbirds, we managed to get one in the scope as we birded the road near El Real.
PACIFIC ANTWREN (Myrmotherula pacifica) – A male and female were seen in a viney tree tangle along the banks of the Rio Tuquesa.
RUFOUS-WINGED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus rufimarginatus) – A singing bird at Lake Bayano did not stay very long.
DUSKY ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides tyrannina)
JET ANTBIRD (Cercomacra nigricans) – Often a tough one to see in dense thickets, this individual popped up pretty well for us.
BARE-CROWNED ANTBIRD (Gymnocichla nudiceps) – We worked on this species quite awhile and most eventually got a fair view of another thicket loving species.
WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza longipes)


We saw a few sloths and this one, a Brown-throated Three-toed, was working its way down a Cecropia tree. Photo by participant Wayne Whitmore.

CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Poliocrania exsul) – A rather common voice in the forest, we had a dynamite view of a scoped individual.
BICOLORED ANTBIRD (Gymnopithys bicolor) – Often found in association with army ants, we saw a vocalizing pair along the trail to the lagoon near Nuevo Vigia but there were no ants about.
SPOTTED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax naevioides) [*]
Formicariidae (Antthrushes)
BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis) – This was one of the first birds we saw in the forest on our first morning at the Canopy Camp.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) – We saw a few with mixed-species flocks in the forest.
NORTHERN BARRED-WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae) – A single bird was along the trail near Nuevo Vigia.
COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans) – Our first was seen at the tree along the Pan-American Highway that seemed to have termites emerging from a nest and was practically a feeding station for the birds.
RED-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris) – We finally had nice views of this unusual species along the edge of the Rio Torti. This was one of the specialty species that led us to this site where we found the Russet-throated Puffbird.
STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) – The most commonly seen woodcreeper species we encountered.
PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus) – We saw a few with mixed-species flocks.
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans) – We got a scope view of this uncommon species along the road outside of El Real.
DOUBLE-BANDED GRAYTAIL (Xenerpestes minlosi) – Very much a specialty of Darien, we had pretty good views along the El Salto Road, then terrific looks at another individual the following day along the road outside of El Real.
SLATY SPINETAIL (Synallaxis brachyura) [*]
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
BROWN-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Ornithion brunneicapillus) – This small flycatcher of the canopy perched nicely for us in the scope at the Canopy Camp.
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola) – We had pretty good views of this uncommon species along the Rio Torti.
YELLOW-CROWNED TYRANNULET (Tyrannulus elatus) [*]
FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii) – A few individuals were seen with flocks.
GRAY ELAENIA (Myiopagis caniceps) – It is unusual for flycatchers to be sexual dimorphic, but this is one of those species. We had surprisingly good views along the road near El Real of a male and female.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster) [*]
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus) – We saw a few, mostly with mixed-species flocks in the forest.


Usually a very shy and difficult to see species, two female Great Curassows gave us great views on our last day of birding. Photo by participant Wayne Whitmore.

YELLOW-GREEN TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes flavovirens) – One of the few birds endemic to Panama, we had a pretty fair view of one with a flock along the trail at San Francisco reserve that Eliecer heard from a good distance. This is a quite uncommon species throughout its range.
SOOTY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseiceps) – Another local species that we had in the scopes as it sat in a tall tree at the Camp.
BLACK-CAPPED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis atricapillus) – One of the smallest passerines in the New World, we had nice looks at this ping-pong ball-sized flycatcher along the trail at San Francisco Reserve.
SOUTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma olivaceum) [*]
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)
BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum nigriceps) – We saw this canopy species at the edge of the clearing of the Camp.
YELLOW-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (YELLOW-MARGINED) (Tolmomyias assimilis flavotectus)
YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris) – This is a mostly South American species whose range is essentially a round spot in eastern Panama. We saw a few of these quite local birds.
ROYAL FLYCATCHER (NORTHERN) (Onychorhynchus coronatus mexicanus) – We had okay views of this odd species a couple of times.
RUDDY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Terenotriccus erythrurus) – We had nice looks at a couple, with our first on the trails at the Canopy Camp.
SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius)
ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens) – This North American breeder was seen and a couple more were heard. Like many wintering U.S. species I wish we had seen/heard more than we did.
PIED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola pica) – We saw one at Lake Bayano and another working on a nest in a marsh in Darien along the Pan-American Highway.
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus)
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) – We had good views of one that Eliecer found at Lake Bayano.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
PANAMA FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus panamensis) – Our only one was at Lake Bayano on our first day.
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) – We saw or heard this wintering species each day.
LESSER KISKADEE (Pitangus lictor) – Always found near a pond or marsh, we saw a few during our travels.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)


In eastern Darien province, there are few roads and historically the rivers were the highways for the local people, who still travel these routes in dugout canoes.  Here we are, just before boarding our "bus" to go upriver. Photo by guide John Coons.

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)
RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)
GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis) – This is mostly an Atlantic slope species in most of Panama, but it is most common in Darien. We saw our first ones near El Real.
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – We only saw or heard a couple of these. This species migrates north from South America to breed, and most were just getting back.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus savana) – We mostly saw these in open country along the highway.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
PURPLE-THROATED FRUITCROW (Querula purpurata) – We had several encounters with this odd species. They are usually a pretty good indicator of good forest.
BLUE COTINGA (Cotinga nattererii) – We saw a couple of males along the El Salto Road as well as a female plumaged individual that Eliecer spotted sitting quietly in a tree.
Pipridae (Manakins)
GOLDEN-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus vitellinus) – We had several nice looks at this species. A few were displaying at leks.
RED-CAPPED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra mentalis) – Our only sighting was a female at San Francisco Reserve.
GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala) – The trails at the Canopy Camp are one of the best places I have been to see this handsome little guy.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor) – We saw a few in the taller forests of Darien.
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)
RUSSET-WINGED SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis stenorhyncha panamensis) – We had a quite good view of this forest bird along Nando's Trail at the Camp. This was formerly known as Thrush-like Manakin.
CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus) – We saw these on each day of the trip, this is one of the best places to see this species.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) – We saw a few including a male and female at the Russet-throated Puffbird site.
ONE-COLORED BECARD (Pachyramphus homochrous) – On our first day we saw a female near the Rio Torti and we had a male on the last day at San Francisco Reserve.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata)
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons)


A forest species that is often found on the slopes of stream banks, this Orange-billed Sparrow put on quite a show for us at the San Francisco Reserve.  Photo by participant Wayne Whitmore.

YELLOW-GREEN VIREO (Vireo flavoviridis) – A singing individual showed pretty well at Lake Bayano on our first day.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
BLACK-CHESTED JAY (Cyanocorax affinis)
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – These were pretty common around the villages and near the rivers.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)
MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea) – A handful were seen during our boat trips on the Rio Chucunaque.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
SCALY-BREASTED WREN (Microcerculus marginatus) – On our final day we had a great look at one at San Francisco Reserve that Raven initially spotted.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
WHITE-HEADED WREN (Campylorhynchus albobrunneus harterti) – We had a pretty good view at El Real.
BICOLORED WREN (Campylorhynchus griseus) – This is another South American species that was unknown in Panama until a few years ago. We had nice looks at a single calling bird in the Yaviza Cemetery.
BLACK-BELLIED WREN (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris) – These were mostly heard, but one was seen by some as we were trying to spot a singing Bare-crowned Antbird.
ISTHMIAN WREN (Cantorchilus elutus) – This is the new name for the Plain Wren that we saw on our first morning at Lake Bayano..
BUFF-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus leucotis) – Our best views were at Lake Bayano.
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) – This can be a real skulker and a pain to see, even though it is widespread through the American tropics. We had a great look at one along the trail at the Camp that stayed put long enough to get it in the scope!
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea)
Donacobiidae (Donacobius)
BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla) – This sole member of its family (and formerly considered a wren) was seen well in the roadside marsh along the highway.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi)
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus)
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – There was one at the Canopy Camp that worked all around the edge of the clearing during our stay. A few of us saw it at various times.
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – Our only sighting was at San Francisco Reserve on our last day. We should have encountered more.
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – A bright individual was spotted along the banks of the Rio Tuquesa.
MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia) – The majority of the breeding Mourning Warblers in the U.S. and Canada winter in Panama. We did not spend a lot of time in the brushy roadside habitat they frequent on the wintering grounds, but we had a quick look at Lake Bayano on our first day.
CERULEAN WARBLER (Setophaga cerulea) – Lynn found this great species just outside her tent at the Canopy Camp.
MAGNOLIA WARBLER (Setophaga magnolia)
BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea) – These were still fairly common in the forest and forest edge of most areas we birded.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – Some encountered this wintering bird along the Rio Torti on our first day.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) – Only one was seen, in a flock near El Real.
BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) – Two individuals were singing from the roaring stream at San Francisco Reserve. [*]
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus) – Most forest flocks we encountered had a pair.
FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (Ramphocelus flammigerus)
CRIMSON-BACKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus dimidiatus) – These were seen daily around the clearing at the Camp.


Puffbirds, in general, like this White-whiskered, make excellent photo subjects, as they sit still for long periods. Photo by participant Wayne Whitmore.

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)
GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Tangara larvata)
PLAIN-COLORED TANAGER (Tangara inornata)
WHITE-EARED CONEBILL (Conirostrum leucogenys) – Another local species, we saw three in the Aligandi area and Wayne spotted another on our last day at San Francisco Reserve.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)
RUDDY-BREASTED SEEDEATER (Sporophila minuta) – A few were seen in the weedy fields along the highway.
THICK-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila funerea) – Our only one was at Lake Bayano.
LARGE-BILLED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila crassirostris) – This species has recently moved into Panama from South America. We had pretty fair looks at one along the side of the highway on our drive back from Yaviza.
VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina)
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – There were several about the Camp.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator maximus) – Only a few.
SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) [*]
Passerellidae (New World Buntings and Sparrows)
ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris) – At San Francisco Reserve, we had great looks at this brightly marked species as it perched on a log in plain sight down the slope from us.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – Seen daily.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – We only saw a few.
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanoloxia cyanoides) [*]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Sturnella militaris) – We stopped along the highway to try and see a perched Savanna Hawk and ended up finding this bright bird in the pasture.
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)
CHESTNUT-HEADED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius wagleri) – We were never out of sight or sound of this species at the Canopy Camp where there was a nesting tree right in the clearing.


The Spectacled Caiman is common in the rivers of Panama. Photo by participant Wayne Whitmore.

BLACK OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius guatimozinus) – Another of the Darien specialties, we had great looks in the late afternoon of a few birds flying to roost as we returned from Yaviza.
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus cela)
ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius) – Only one or two were seen.
YELLOW-BACKED ORIOLE (Icterus chrysater) – Our first was in a light rain along the El Salto Road.
ORANGE-CROWNED ORIOLE (Icterus auricapillus) – This quite local species was seen a couple of times around the Canopy Camp and the El Salto Road.
YELLOW-TAILED ORIOLE (Icterus mesomelas)
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – A male molting into breeding plumage was seen along the trail to the lagoon near Nuevo Vigia.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – We saw a few during the week, and usually in association with an oropendola colony.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla) – We heard more than we saw of this rather widespread species.
THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris) – This was the common euphonia we encountered throughout the area.
FULVOUS-VENTED EUPHONIA (Euphonia fulvicrissa) – One or two were seen around the clearing at the Camp.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

MAMMALS
COMMON OPOSSUM (Didelphis marsupialis) – We saw one walk through the back of the clearing at the Camp during lunch. Then we had the eyeshine of another during our night drive.
CENTRAL AMERICAN WOOLY OPOSSUM (Caluromys derbianus) – We had good views of this unusual species during our night drive.
RED-NAPED TAMARIN (Saguinus geoffroyi) – A very handsome small monkey, we saw these a few times.
GRAY-BELLIED NIGHT MONKEY (Aotus lemurinus) – On the edge of Yaviza at the end of the Pan-American Highway we had a wonderful look at a very cute individual peering out of a tree hollow.
MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata) – Anytime we were close to taller forest we heard this iconic voice of the neotropics. We saw them on several occasions as well.
WHITE-THROATED CAPUCHIN (Cebus capucinus) – We saw one while we birded along Nando's Trail at the Canopy Camp.


We found this White-nosed Coati on our last day ... or did it find us? It seems to be coming in for a closer look. Photo by participant Wayne Whitmore.

HOFFMANN'S TWO-TOED SLOTH (Choloepus hoffmanni) – This species, the larger of the two in Panama, showed well for us.
BROWN-THROATED THREE-TOED SLOTH (Bradypus variegatus) – We had pretty good views of two individuals during our stay.
RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis)
WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica) – On our last morning we had a close view of a single individual along the trail at San Francisco Reserve.
KINKAJOU (Potos flavus) – We spotlighted one during our night drive at the Canopy Camp.
NEOTROPICAL OTTER (Lontra longicaudis) – We saw two on the log pile at the lagoon near Nuevo Viejia.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS


Totals for the tour: 267 bird taxa and 12 mammal taxa