A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Panama's Canopy Camp: Lowland Darien I 2023

December 29, 2023-January 6, 2024 with John Coons & Eliecer Rodriguez guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our trek to visit an active Harpy Eagle nest took a few hours by truck, boat, and for some, horseback, but we were rewarded with great views of a female and a few week old chick. The chick was mostly hidden from view but popped its all white head up on occasion to check out mom. It was a great experience (photo by Linda Rudolph).

We had a great week of birding in one of the more remote areas of Central America while enjoying the wonderful accommodations, food, and staff at the Canopy Camp. Although a fair number of birders visit the province of Darien these days, only 10-15 years ago it was still a mystery to most, and organizing expeditions was quite involved. Even today new birding sites are still being discovered, and ranges for several species have greatly expanded with the added coverage. And, we got to experience all of this first hand.

We left the hotel near the Panama City airport our first morning and headed east along the Pan-American Highway with a stop at Lake Bayano where we encountered many species at the edge of the lake, including a pair of Bat Falcons and a nice Rusty-winged Antwren. At a stop near Tortí, we saw our first Orange-chinned Parakeets, Whooping Motmot, Cinnamon Becard, and a pair of Barred Puffbirds. After lunch, where we watched feeders that attracted eight species of hummingbirds, we drove to the Canopy Camp and were welcomed by a beautiful Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird and a Great Potoo on a day roost in a tree next to reception, as Collared Aracaris and Red-lored Parrots gobbled at the bananas.

Over the next five days we birded the Camp and its trails, the El Salto Road, Yaviza Wetlands, Laguna Arusa, and we ventured to the Rio Chucunaque River on two days, where we boarded dugout canoes to reach some remote locations with real specialties. We even checked the cemetery in Yaviza right at the end of the Pan-American Highway.

Certainly, one of the highlights of our trip was our visit to the Harpy Eagle nest, where we drove from the Camp, boated to the small village of Alto Playon only a few minutes away, then walked (or rode on horseback) about three miles. We came upon the nest in a gigantic Cuipo tree just as the huge female Harpy Eagle hopped out of the nest onto a side limb, where we had great views of this majestic bird. It soon got back into the nest and tended to the single, all-white, few-week old chick. After a snack, we made the walk/ride back to Alto Playon for our lunch and several of the local artists had their colorful woven baskets, masks, and wall hangings available.

Two days later we again boarded dugouts and took the Rio Turquesa tributary of the Chucunaque and headed to a coffee plantation where we found a pair of Dusky-backed Jacamars, another of the specialties of Darien. We returned to the village of Nuevo Vigia and along the way to the lagoon, Eliecer heard and we tracked down a Russet-throated Puffbird, only the second record for Panama and all of Central America. It was very cooperative as it perched in the open. I should mention that the first record for this rarity was found by Eliecer and myself on our trip in 2017.

There were many more avian highlights during our days at the Camp, and these included a truly wild Muscovy Duck flying past us at the Yaviza Wetlands, a Little Cuckoo at Laguna Arusa, fifteen species of hummingbirds, close views of King Vultures at the "feeder", a nearby Pearl Kite, the two rarely seen Crested Eagles that flew out of the forest and across the El Salto Road, a perched Black Hawk-Eagle at the Camp, repeated views of a coursing Long-winged Harrier over the Yaviza Wetlands, three Black-and-white Owls in the cemetery in Yaviza, the small and very local Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Spot-crowned Barbet, a couple of Golden-green Woodpeckers, a scope view of three tiny Spectacled Parrotlets, Chestnut-fronted Macaws, the local Black Antshrike, Golden-collared and Golden-headed manakins right in the Camp clearing, four male Blue Cotingas at once, Black-capped Donacobius at Laguna Arusa, and a scoped Black Oropendola along the Harpy Eagle trail that Eliecer spotted.

It was also fun to watch the antics of the Red-naped Tamarins, White-throated Capuchins, and a White-nosed Coati when they were figuring out the best ways to get to the banana feeders. We had good looks at several Mantled Howler Monkeys, some carrying babies, and Brown-throated Three-toed Sloths around the Camp and other areas we birded.

On our final day of birding we left the Camp and made a stop at a house along the Pan-American Highway where we had close views of three! Great Curassows that were visiting the garden. This is usually a quite shy forest species. We also saw our first Gray-cowled Wood-Rails here. We then birded the San Francisco Reserve and its nice tall forest which protects the watershed for the drinking water of the local communities. We added a number of new birds here, including Gartered Trogon, White-whiskered Puffbird, Russet-winged Schiffornis, Scaly-breasted Wren, Bay Wren, Gray-headed Tanager, Dusky-faced Tanager, and the Panama endemic Yellow-green Tyrannulet.

The staff at the Camp as well as our 4WD drivers were great throughout the trip. Our meals were remarkably prepared and varied given the long distances to get to a proper market. Much thanks to all of them. I can't say enough about how great it was to doing this trip with Eliecer, who organized each day and was fantastic with the birds.

I had a great time birding with all of you on this trip and I could have easily stayed a while longer before heading to frigid temperatures at home. Sitting on the patio doing our checklist with a glass of wine while hummingbirds are darting about sounds pretty good right now. I hope our paths cross again soon.


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) [*]

We heard these calling in the forest from the Camp every dawn and dusk.

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Black-tailed Trogons were the most frequently encountered of the Darien trogons that we saw (photo by Richard Kaskan).

LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]

Ditto for this species, though we had a close one along a trail that didn't respond.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata)

We saw a single male fly past us at the Yaviza Wetlands.

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)

GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps) [*]

CRESTED GUAN (Penelope purpurascens)

One was seen by one of the boats along the Rio Chucunaque on the way to Alto Playon.


We enjoyed close views of a male and two colorful females in the yard of a house right along the Pan-American Highway.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

A fair number were seen in the open country.

SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa)

We scoped a couple of these handsome pigeons in nice light along the El Salto Road.


A single bird was seen pretty well at Laguna Arusa.

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

There were lots of these along the highway.

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

Seen daily, with a couple going after the rice in the Camp clearing.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) [*]

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major)

We saw these most days along the roadsides and in the wetlands.

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia)

We got nice views in the scope of a singing bird at the Yaviza Wetlands.

LITTLE CUCKOO (Coccycua minuta)

This rather uncommon species perched up for us at Laguna Arusa.

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This male Great Curassow was joined by two females in the garden of a house whose family is related to one of the Canopy Camp staff. This species is usually a quite secretive bird that is very difficult to see in the wild (photo by Linda Rudolph).

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

We saw a handful of this always popular bird in the forests.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor)

Returning from Laguna Arosa, one of the trucks saw about ten individuals flying about over the road after sunset.

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)

We had nice views of one perched in the road to the Camp as we returned just after dusk.

Nyctibiidae (Potoos)

GREAT POTOO (Nyctibius grandis)

When we arrived at the Canopy Camp one was on a day roost in a tall tree right next to the dining room.

Apodidae (Swifts)

BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus)

A handful were flying about over the river at Alto Playon.

SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura)

We saw these a few times along the rivers and over the forest.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)

These were seen daily at the feeders.


PALE-BELLIED HERMIT (Phaethornis anthophilus)

This species has a quite limited range in Panama. We saw it a few times including at the flowers at the Camp.

STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis)

PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY (Heliothryx barroti)

One showed nicely a few times at the flowers near the feeders at the Camp.

RUBY-TOPAZ HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysolampis mosquitus)

This stunner was seen a handful of times, mostly in the late afternoon, as it came to the feeders at the Camp. Over the last several years the Canopy Camp has been one of the very few places it has been seen in Panama.

BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis)

These were quite common at the feeders at the restaurant in Tortí.

LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster longirostris)

We saw this species at the feeders at Tortí and at the Canopy Camp. Another beauty, it is not a species you think of as visiting a feeder.


This was another regular visitor to the feeders at the Camp.


A few were seen at the feeders at the restaurant at Tortí on both of our visits. This area of Panama seems to have more of these birds than any other place I have been.


This was another species we only saw at the restaurant feeders at Tortí.

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At our first birding stop at Lake Bayano, this Cocoi Heron was surveying the lake edge (photo by Richard Kaskan).


SAPPHIRE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysuronia coeruleogularis)

Fair numbers were seen at both of the feeder areas we visited.


Not a regular visitor but a few were making the rounds of the feeders at the Camp.


This small hummingbird was seen most days at the Camp's feeders.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus)

We heard this bird a couple of times along the rivers and we saw two of them in the garden of the house where we encountered the Great Curassows.

PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)

One was spotted at Lake Bayano at one of our first birding stops.

WHITE-THROATED CRAKE (Laterallus albigularis) [*]

We heard a couple of these in the Yaviza Wetlands.

Aramidae (Limpkin)

LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna)

A couple of these odd birds were seen in the marshy areas along the Pan-American Highway.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)

Our first were seen near the river outside of Tortí but we encountered many during the week.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata)

Richard saw one that flushed out of the grass at Laguna Arusa.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

A handful were seen along the rivers we visited.

Ciconiidae (Storks)

WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)

We saw a few here and there during the week.

Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)


We saw one near Laguna Arusa soaring above us.

Anhingidae (Anhingas)

ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga anhinga)

Our first was at Lake Bayano and we had a few more during the week.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

A few were along the Rio Chucunaque and at Lake Bayano.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)

We saw a flock of 103 individuals in a single flock flying over the Canopy Camp.

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This spectacular Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird, a quite rare bird in Panama, was a frequent visitor to the feeders and flowers at the Canopy Camp. It brought oohs and aahs with each appearance (photo by Linda Rudolph).
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

RUFESCENT TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma lineatum)

We flushed one from the marsh at the Yaviza Wetlands and it landed in the open for us.

BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius)

We saw one of these unusual herons at the laguna near Nuevo Vigia and we had it in the scope briefly before it flew into dense cover.

CAPPED HERON (Pilherodius pileatus)

One of the boats spotted one flying on our way to Nuevo Vigia.

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

A few were along the riverbanks.

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

We saw one along the river bank as we were coming and going to Nuevo Vigia,

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)

We saw a couple or three with our first at Lake Bayano.


We saw these daily. This is the new name for this common bird. This species is the one found in the New World, Africa, and Europe, while Eastern Cattle Egret is found in southern Asia and Australasia.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi)

Our first was regally perched in a tree overlooking us at Lake Bayano.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa)

After seeing a few soaring high in the sky, we had wonderful views of an adult and an immature at the feeding station at the Canopy Camp. This is a pretty spectacular looking species when seen up close.

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)

One gave us a good view at the Yaviza Wetlands.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

Our first ones were perched at Lake Bayano.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii)

We stopped along the highway and found this small raptor perched on a power pole.

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This was one of the pair of White-whiskered Puffbirds we saw at San Francisco Reserve on our final day (photo by Richard Kaskan).

WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus)

GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis)

We had a nice view of one in a tree right along the Rio Turquesa on our way to Nuevo Vigia.

CRESTED EAGLE (Morphnus guianensis)

As we walked along the El Salto Road, we saw this large raptor fly out of the forest, across the road and disappear over the treetops. About 15 seconds later another followed. We could have used longer views but this is one of the rarely seen large birds of prey in the New World. This pair is likely nesting or preparing to nest nearby.

HARPY EAGLE (Harpia harpyja)

Certainly one of the highlights of the trip. We enjoyed great views of a large female tending to a few week old chick at a nest in a huge Cuipo tree after our drive, boat trip on the Rio Chucunaque, and a three mile walk from the village of Alto Playon. Just after we arrived at the nest, the female hopped out and stood on the large limbs next to the nest for a spell, giving us wonderful looks at this massive bird. The all-white chick bobbed its head back and forth, and appeared ready to eat its next meal. It was really a great experience.

BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus)

Along Nando's Trail at the Camp, we got scope views through the leaves of one perched. About 95% of my sightings of this bird have been flying so it is great to see one perched.

LONG-WINGED HARRIER (Circus buffoni)

This is a South American species that has become a somewhat regular rarity in Darien. We had nice looks at one flying back and forth over the Yaviza Wetlands.

CRANE HAWK (Geranospiza caerulescens)

Surprisingly, we saw a few of these interesting raptors, including one right in the Camp.

COMMON BLACK HAWK (MANGROVE) (Buteogallus anthracinus bangsi)

We saw a couple, with one on a nest along the Pan-American Highway.

SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis)

We enjoyed a quite close view of one of the two we saw at Laguna Arusa as it sat on a fence post and didn't want to leave.

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

We saw several, including one at a nest.

WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis)

Eliecer spotted one flying above the Camp during an afternoon break and several of us got looks at this beauty.

GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus)

A few were encountered during the week.

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

A few were encountered soaring, with one perched along the El Salto Road.

SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)

We saw a flying bird on our first day.

SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)

We had nice looks at one soaring closely overhead. This was unusual in that almost all of the population should be in southern South America in early January.

ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus)

Strigidae (Owls)

CRESTED OWL (Lophostrix cristata) [*]

This species was heard most days at the Camp but we could not lure it into view.

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Along the El Salto Road we had a group of four male Blue Cotingas fly in. Linda Rudolph captured this spectacular species in the top of a roadside tree.

SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata) [*]

Eliecer heard one just before dawn one morning at the Camp but we got nothing from it during our night attempts.

MOTTLED OWL (Strix virgata)

We heard this a few times and Bart and I saw it at the Camp with Eliecer on our first night after others had turned in.

BLACK-AND-WHITE OWL (Strix nigrolineata)

Eliecer spotted an adult with a young bird neatly tucked into a tree in the cemetery at Yaviza during the day, then we found another adult, certainly the male, perched above us watching.

Trogonidae (Trogons)

BLACK-TAILED TROGON (Trogon melanurus)

We enjoyed several good views and heard many others during our week.

WHITE-TAILED TROGON (Trogon chionurus)

We enjoyed nice views of one along Nando's Trail at the Canopy Camp.

GARTERED TROGON (Trogon caligatus)

We saw two right at the Camp.


A male, one of the prettiest of the trogons, was seen well on our last day at San Francisco Reserve.

Momotidae (Motmots)

WHOOPING MOTMOT (Momotus subrufescens)

We saw a few of these popular forest birds showing off their long tails.

BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum)

We called in a distant individual at San Francisco Reserve.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

Several were seen along the rivers we traversed but our first were at Lake Bayano.

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)

There were a handful seen along the Rio Chucunaque.


One landed quite close to us at the laguna near Nuevo Vigia but it didn't stay long and only a couple of us got to see it.

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus)

We saw a few, including two together on a limb along the El Salto Road.

BLACK-BREASTED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus pectoralis) [*]

PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus)

This small puffbird gave us a couple of nice views.

BARRED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus radiatus)

We saw two along the river outside of Tortí on our first morning.

RUSSET-THROATED PUFFBIRD (Hypnelus ruficollis)

We had great looks at this extreme rarity along the trail leading to the laguna at Nuevo Vigia. Eliecer heard it give a brief song while we were tending to Bill and we walked down the side track and spotted it. This is only the second record of this species for Panama, with the first one found by our group with Eliecer in December 2017. Yip! Yip! Yip!

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We got great views of this Russet-throated Puffbird along a trail near the village of Nuevo Vigia, only the second time this bird has been recorded north of South America (photo by Linda Rudolph).

WHITE-WHISKERED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila panamensis)

Unlike the other puffbirds we saw, this species is more of a forest understory dweller. We had scope views of two along the steep trail at San Francisco Reserve.

GRAY-CHEEKED NUNLET (Nonnula frontalis stulta)

This tiny puffbird was seen at the edge of the second growth along the El Salto Road.

WHITE-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa morphoeus)

A group of 4-5 individuals ended up showing well along the Pan-American Highway near Yaviza.

Galbulidae (Jacamars)

DUSKY-BACKED JACAMAR (Brachygalba salmoni)

This local specialty has a very restricted range. We had nice looks at two birds in a coffee plantation along the Rio Turquesa.

RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda)

It took some looking, but we spotted one along the road below the Canopy Camp.

Capitonidae (New World Barbets)

SPOT-CROWNED BARBET (Capito maculicoronatus rubrilateralis)

This was our first bird of the day as we arrived at the El Salto Road in the early morning.

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus)

These were seen daily including at the banana feeder at the Camp.

YELLOW-THROATED TOUCAN (CHESTNUT-MANDIBLED) (Ramphastos ambiguus swainsonii)

Mostly heard, we saw a couple perched in treetops during the week.

KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus)

This was the more commonly seen of the big toucans.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

OLIVACEOUS PICULET (Picumnus olivaceus)

We saw one of these tiny woodpeckers in Camp on January 1st, a nice way to start the new year.

BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pucherani)

RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus)

RED-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Dryobates kirkii)

Another area specialty, we had a couple of these at the Camp.

CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos)

Our first gave us good views along Nando's Trail. Near the laguna at Nuevo Vigia we had good view of this bird and the next at the same spot.

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

We saw and heard a few during the week.

CINNAMON WOODPECKER (Celeus loricatus)

A quite pretty woodpecker; we had a few good views.

GOLDEN-GREEN WOODPECKER (Piculus chrysochloros)

A male showed very well along the El Salto Road. This is another great looking woodpecker.

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A species that is generally uncommon throughout its range, we saw a few Scaly-breasted Hummingbirds at the lunch restaurant where Richard Kaskan scored this nice image.

SPOT-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Colaptes punctigula)

This species specializes in gallery forests of open country. We saw a few including one at a nest home in a palm along the Pan-American Highway.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans)

Driving back from Puerto Limon, we had a nice view of one perched in an open tree in a pasture.

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara plancus)

We saw a handful during the week.

RED-THROATED CARACARA (Ibycter americanus)

Our first two were along the Pan-American Highway then we saw them again as we were walking back to Alto Playon after visiting the Harpy Eagle nest.

YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Daptrius chimachima)

This species was commonly seen in the open country.

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

Linda spotted our first then we had a couple more sightings during the week.

BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis)

Two individuals were perched on the large bridge over Lake Bayano on our first morning in the field.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis)

Seen daily.

BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis) [*]

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)

We ended up seeing a few perched, but most were fly-overs.

RED-LORED PARROT (Amazona autumnalis)

This was the most commonly seen of the larger parrots and they frequented the banana feeders at the Camp.

MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa)

SPECTACLED PARROTLET (Forpus conspicillatus)

Another very local species; we got scope views of three birds near the village of San Jose Obrero, then Eliecer spotted one perched in the top of a distant tree at the Canopy Camp. This is usually a tough bird to see well, if at all.

BLUE-AND-YELLOW MACAW (Ara ararauna) [*]

A pair were calling in the forest near the Harpy Eagle nest but they flew off in the wrong direction.


We saw two individuals along the El Salto Road but they were quite jumpy.

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)

We saw a male and female along the shore of Lake Bayano.

BLACK-CROWNED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus atrinucha)

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We made a special trip up river past Nuevo Vigia to see Dusky-backed Jacamar, a species with a quite limited range in Panama (photo by Linda Rudolph).

BLACK ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus nigriceps)

Another specialty of Darien. We saw a male and female along the El Salto Road.

CHECKER-THROATED STIPPLETHROAT (Epinecrophylla fulviventris)

We had nice views of one in a flock along the trail to the Harpy Eagle nest, then we saw at least three individuals at San Francisco Reserve on our last day.

MOUSTACHED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula ignota) [*]

WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula axillaris)

There were 4-5 individuals with the mixed flock at San Francisco Reserve.

RUSTY-WINGED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus frater)

It took some looking but we ended up with nice views of this treetop dweller at Lake Bayano on our first morning.

JET ANTBIRD (Cercomacra nigricans) [*]

BARE-CROWNED ANTBIRD (Gymnocichla nudiceps) [*]

We only got a few glimpses in the thick vegetation of this skulker.

WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza longipes) [*]


We had nice views a couple of times.

BICOLORED ANTBIRD (Gymnopithys bicolor)

We had good views of an individual along the trail at Alto Playon on the way back from the Harpy Eagle nest.

SPOTTED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax naevioides)

This small antbird showed well a couple of times for us.

Formicariidae (Antthrushes)

BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis)

We had pretty good views along the El Salto Road of this ground dweller.

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa)

One was seen along the El Salto Road.

NORTHERN BARRED-WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae)

A quite cooperative bird showed well to us at the edge of the El Salto Road.

COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans)

We saw a few with our first at Lake Bayano.

RED-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris) [*]

STREAK-HEADED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii)

This is more of a second growth species, and we saw our first near the river at Tortí.

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We had nice views of two Black-capped Donacobius, a quite unusual species and the only member of its family, at the edge of the lagoon we visited (photo by Richard Kaskan).

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)

Amazingly, we saw one perched for well over a minute and got it in the scopes for a great view.

DOUBLE-BANDED GRAYTAIL (Xenerpestes minlosi)

We heard several calling high overhead but Linda may have been the only one who saw it.

Pipridae (Manakins)

GOLDEN-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus vitellinus)

One at the camp on our first day was well seen with a couple more during the week.

GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala)

During our first lunch at the Camp a male was gleaning tiny berries off of one of the shrubs.

Cotingidae (Cotingas)


These large cotingas were seen a few times, with a male and female perched next to each other on a branch.

BLUE COTINGA (Cotinga nattererii)

Our first was a male that flew past and landed briefly, then three days later we saw four different males in one area along the El Salto Road. Another great one!

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor)

We scoped one along the El Salto Road on our second visit.

MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)

We saw one along the road just below the Camp.

RUSSET-WINGED SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis stenorhyncha panamensis)

A quite interesting species with a very nice song. We saw it at the San Francisco Reserve on our final day.

SPECKLED MOURNER (Laniocera rufescens)

Eliecer spotted this uncommon bird along the trail to the Harpy Eagle nest.

CINNAMON BECARD (Pachyramphus cinnamomeus)

We saw a few during the week.

WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)

All of our sightings were of females with our first near the river at Tortí.

Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill, Royal Flycatcher, and Allies)

RUDDY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Terenotriccus erythrurus)

This erect-perching flycatcher gave us nice looks along Nando's Trail at the Camp.

SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius)

This aptly named forest flycatcher perched downslope for us at San Francisco Reserve.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

GOLDEN-CROWNED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus coronatus)

Often a difficult species to spot in the forest, we saw one along Nando's Trail at the Camp.

OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)

YELLOW-GREEN TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes flavovirens)

This species, endemic to Panama, was seen with a mixed flock at San Francisco Reserve.

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Our search for Bicolored Wren in the cemetery in Yaviza didn’t pan out, but Eliecer spotted three Black-and-white Owls tucked into the trees. This one appeared to be the male (photo by Linda Rudolph).

BLACK-CAPPED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis atricapillus)

Tied for being the smallest passerine; we saw this treetop bird along the Harpy Eagle Trail.

SOUTHERN BENTBILL (Oncostoma olivaceum)

We heard a few before seeing this species a couple of times.

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

I believe our only sighting of this second growth species was at Lake Bayano on our first morning.

BLACK-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum nigriceps)

This forest version of the above species was seen a couple of times around the Camp.

WESTERN OLIVACEOUS FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus aequinoctialis)

Another forest species; we had scope views of one that sat still for quite awhile along Nando's Trail at the Camp.

YELLOW-OLIVE FLATBILL (YELLOW-OLIVE) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens flavoolivaceus)

Our only one was near the river at Tortí.

YELLOW-WINGED FLATBILL (Tolmomyias flavotectus)

Formerly called Yellow-margined Flycatcher; we saw a couple of these early on in the week.

OCHRE-LORED FLATBILL (Tolmomyias flaviventris)

Formerly called Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, this South American species is quite local in Panama. We saw a few and heard more with a scope view of one at the Camp.

BROWN-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Ornithion brunneicapillus)

This tiny, mostly treetop dweller was a common voice in the forest edges around the camp. We saw a couple of these with close views of one near the Camp.



This bird showed well for us at the boat landing at Peñitas.

FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii)

Another common voice of the forest, we saw a few.

GRAY-HEADED ELAENIA (Myiopagis caniceps)

Once called Gray Elaenia, then Choco Elaenia, we had a scope view of one that Eli heard singing along the Pan-American Highway near Yaviza.

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)

This species is fairly common in clearings and second growth areas.

SOOTY-HEADED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseiceps)

This is another local species in Panama that we saw right at the Camp.

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens)

We saw a few of these wintering birds in the forest. Panama is the winter stronghold for this mostly eastern US breeder.

WILLOW FLYCATCHER (Empidonax traillii)

A singing bird, another wintering species, sat up well for us at the Yaviza Wetlands.

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Long-billed Starthroat was one of the fancier hummingbirds that was coming to the feeders and flowers at the Canopy Camp (photo by Richard Kaskan).

PIED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola pica)

Linda spotted our first at the edge of Lake Bayano.

LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus)

A rather fancy flycatcher; we watched a few sallying out for prey and returning.

BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus)

We had nice views of two of these angry looking flycatchers in the Camp, and we heard them belting out their loud song several other times.

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) [*]


One of Richard's favorites, we saw several and heard more.

CATTLE TYRANT (Machetornis rixosa)

Three of these were seen near each other in the pasture near Laguna Arusa.

LESSER KISKADEE (Philohydor lictor)

Good views of these in the branches just above the river edges.

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

Seen daily.

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

A few were seen here and there.

RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)

Several were seen well.

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)

GRAY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes granadensis)

A pair were in the coffee plantation where we birded along the Rio Turquesa.

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)

The pair in the Camp were conspicuous in the mornings.

PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) [*]

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)


Kathe spotted our first along the rio near Tortí.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

SCRUB GREENLET (Hylophilus flavipes)

At Lake Bayano we had great views of a pair of these plain looking birds that were feeding a young one.

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Both this male Crimson-crested Woodpecker and a Lineated Woodpecker were feeding in the same tree near Nuevo Vigia. There must have been an insect hatch that we couldn’t see that attracted them to the site (photo by Linda Rudolph).

LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata)

We finally connected on our last day at San Francisco Reserve.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

BLACK-CHESTED JAY (Cyanocorax affinis)

We saw a few groups of these loud jays, mostly along the Pan-American Highway.

Donacobiidae (Donacobius)

BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla)

After trying for this unusual species in a couple of wetland sites, we had nice views of at least two at Laguna Arusa.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

MANGROVE SWALLOW (Tachycineta albilinea)

Several were flying about the Rio Turquesa and Rio Chucunaque.

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Only a few were seen.

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus)

Linda spotted one at Lake Bayano but this species was mostly heard.

WHITE-BROWED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila bilineata)

Our sighting along the Pan-American Highway was our only encounter. This bird was formerly known as Tropical Gnatcatcher.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

SCALY-BREASTED WREN (Microcerculus marginatus)

This species is really a skulker so getting pretty good views of it at San Francisco Reserve was unusual.

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

Many more were heard singing their familiar song than seen.

WHITE-HEADED WREN (Campylorhynchus albobrunneus harterti)

We scoped one that we heard calling along the Pan-American Highway.

BICOLORED WREN (Campylorhynchus griseus) [*]

We heard one call twice in the town of Yaviza but the loud music was a lot of competition in trying to see it.

BLACK-BELLIED WREN (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris)

We had a couple of encounters with a group of these forest edge wrens.

BAY WREN (CENTRAL AMERICAN) (Cantorchilus nigricapillus schottii)

Two individuals showed pretty well along the trail at San Francisco Reserve.

BUFF-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus leucotis)

Many were heard, with our only sighting at Lake Bayano on our first morning.

WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta) [*]

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Eliecer’s ability to spot sloths like this Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth is amazing. We saw several during the week (photo by Richard Kaskan).
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)


An introduced species in Panama; we saw a few along the roadsides and at least one or two in Yaviza, where this species might be a natural immigrant from South America.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)


A couple were seen daily at the Camp.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla)

Our first was seen at the hotel near the Panama City airport before we headed out. Then we had a few more during the week.

THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris)

We had nice views of our first at the restaurant in Tortí.

FULVOUS-VENTED EUPHONIA (Euphonia fulvicrissa) [*]

LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)

Two were at the Panama City hotel the morning we departed.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)


A handful were at Laguna Arusa.

CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)

We saw these displaying with their gurgling call.


These were nearly constantly at the banana feeders at the Camp.

BLACK OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius guatimozinus)

On the walk back from the Harpy Eagle nest, Eliecer somehow spotted one of these specialties ducked into the vegetation, and we got great scope views of it.


We had a few along the Pan-American Highway.

ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius)

There were at least 100 individuals flying past us with some perching in the bushes at Laguna Arusa.

YELLOW-BACKED ORIOLE (Icterus chrysater)

A quite handsome oriole; we saw a few on a couple of the days.

ORANGE-CROWNED ORIOLE (Icterus auricapillus)

Two of these were spotted working about in the trees right next to the Harpy Eagle that was at the nest.

YELLOW-TAILED ORIOLE (Icterus mesomelas)

We had wonderful views of one near the river at Tortí.

BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula)

One showed up at lunch at the restaurant in Tortí to see what all the excitement was at the banana feeders.

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A couple of these handsome Black-cheeked Woodpeckers were in the trees around the Canopy Camp and seen most days (photo by Richard Kaskan).

SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)

A few here and there.

GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)

Two were perched up with a pair of Scaled Pigeons along the El Salto Road.

GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris)

This species is a recent invader to Panama from South America. It is becoming more widespread each year and we found them in a few places.

YELLOW-HOODED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus icterocephalus)

We had a nice male at Laguna Arusa.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)

We saw our only one along the river near Tortí.

PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea)

Kathe spotted our only one at a roadside stop near Santa Librada.

TENNESSEE WARBLER (Leiothlypis peregrina)

Only one or two were encountered.

MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia)

A calling bird along the road in the Yaviza Wetlands showed pretty well for us.

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

We saw a female on our first morning. We should have encountered more of these wintering birds.

BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea)

This species was seen daily in the forest.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda) [*]

We heard the loud ringing song of this stream side species at San Francisco Reserve but it was always along a part of the stream we could not see.

Mitrospingidae (Mitrospingid Tanagers)

DUSKY-FACED TANAGER (Mitrospingus cassinii)

A small group was along the edge of the road at San Francisco Reserve as we walked back to the vehicle.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)

One or two were regularly seen around the clearing at the Camp.

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

Surprisingly, our only sighting was a male at San Francisco Reserve that Linda spotted right above where we parked.

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

GRAY-HEADED TANAGER (Eucometis penicillata)

After hearing these along the El Salto Road we had fabulous looks at two birds next to the gravel road at San Francisco Reserve. One sat for quite a while and we got nice scope views.

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On our final day we had a nice morning birding the beautiful forest at San Francisco Reserve.


This was a rather common species with the flocks in the forest.

FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (Ramphocelus flammigerus)

One made a brief appearance while we were watching the Russet-throated Puffbird which was garnering all of the excitement.

CRIMSON-BACKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus dimidiatus)

Several were seen in the second growth early in the trip.

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)

Seen daily.

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)

Also a daily occurrence.

GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Stilpnia larvata)

A rather fancy species of the forest edge and second growth; we saw our first one around Camp.

PLAIN-COLORED TANAGER (Tangara inornata)

An aptly named species until you see the blue spot on the wing. There were daily sightings of this species.

BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)


Nice views at our first at lunch in Tortí.

WHITE-EARED CONEBILL (Conirostrum leucogenys)

Another Darien specialty; we had one moving about above us at the Camp on January 1st.

BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)

We saw a handful in display at the Yaviza Wetlands doing their jump up and down from a branch or fence wire while giving a buzzy call.


A few were seen at the Yaviza Wetlands and at Laguna Arusa.

VARIABLE SEEDEATER (Sporophila corvina)

Seen daily.

BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)

There were several encountered each day.


Only a couple were seen with the first along the river near Tortí.

STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus)

Richard and I saw one along the road near the river at Tortí.

SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) [*]


RED-NAPED TAMARIN (Saguinus geoffroyi)

This small, long-tailed and agile monkey was a daily sighting at the Camp

MANTLED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta palliata)

We ended up seeing several groups and hearing even more with some of the females seen carrying babies.


This species was also a near constant sight near the feeders at Camp. They seem to have every aspect of procuring bananas figured out.


We saw several of these in various locations with many along the El Salto Road. We spotted one right in the top of a bare tree that seemed to be exceptional Harpy Eagle bait.

RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis)

Seen daily at the Camp and a few in other forested areas.

WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica)

I'm not sure we ever saw more than the one at Camp that had his routine of circling Camp to get to his bananas.

Totals for the tour: 273 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa