A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Panama's Canopy Lodge: El Valle de Anton 2022

December 30, 2022-January 6, 2023 with Chris Benesh & Tino Sanchez guiding

I can’t think of any better way to welcome in the New Year than spending it birding in central Panama. With the help and expertise of consummate guide Tino Sanchez, we had a wonderful few days exploring the rich natural history found around El Valle de Anton and the surrounding mountains. Formed from a gigantic, ancient volcanic caldera, El Valle’s elevation provides a comfortable climate for enjoying the diverse bird life. Once we arrived at the lodge, we spent the first afternoon taking in the birds on the lodge grounds, many of them actively visiting the feeders. A bit later, a walk up the road produced a few other highlights, including a wonderful male Rufous-crested Coquette. We then hiked into the Canopy Adventure area to see some roosting Mottled Owls and a small mixed flock.

Our second morning found us up on La Mesa birding the Las Minas Trail. It was a great morning of birding with more than 65 species seen! Highlights were many, and included Russet Antshrike, Golden-collared Manakin, Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Rufous-breasted and Song wrens, several warblers and tanagers. That afternoon we went to Cara Iguana, but were eventually run out by the rain.

The following morning, we headed to the higher elevations of Altos del Maria where we saw a lot of good stuff. Right in El Valle, we saw a pair of the colonizing Carib Grackles, then continuing on, we had a great view of Dull-mantled Antbird and Northern Emerald-Toucanet. At Altos we saw some amazing stuff, including Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Ochraceous Wren, Pale-vented and White-throated thrushes, and many more tanagers, including Black-and-yellow. We also saw a couple species of snakes and an amazing, tiny, cryptic mantid.

Finca Candelario was our destination for the fourth morning. This tiny, private reserve backs up to the terrific forest, and we had another productive morning there. White-tipped Sicklebill allowed lengthy scope studies. Some of the many highlights include Chestnut-backed and Spotted antbirds, Black-faced Antthrush, Streak-chested Antpitta, Northern Schiffornis, and more. That afternoon we came across a stealthy pair of Spectacled Owls.

Day five saw us going on a full day outing along the Rio Indio where we had a perched Black Hawk-Eagle early on, and Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Sunbittern, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Barred Puffbird, Spot-crowned Barbet, Masked Tityra, Rosy Thrush-tanager, Flame-rumped, Emerald, and Sulphur-rumped tanagers, among others.

The final day of the trip had us heading down to the Pacific coast, to Juan Hombron, where we had yet another bird-filled morning. After brief stops for Wedge-tailed Grass Finch and Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, we arrived at Juan Hombron. Highlights here included Plain-breasted and Blue ground doves, Greater Anis, Veraguan Mango, Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures, Pearl Kite, Savanna Hawk, Great Black Hawk, Amazon Kingfisher, Aplomado Falcon, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Gray Kingbird, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, and Isthmian Wren. We finished up with lunch at Raul’s beach house in Santa Clara, saying thanks and good-byes to Tino, and heading on to Panama City for our final dinner.

Thanks to all of you for making this such a great experience! It was a terrific start to the new year. I look forward to birding with each of you again in the near future.


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

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)

GRAY-HEADED CHACHALACA (Ortalis cinereiceps)

A regular visitor to the lodge feeders, creating quite a ruckus at times.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

CRESTED BOBWHITE (Colinus cristatus)

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND DOVE (Columbina minuta elaeodes)

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

BLUE GROUND DOVE (Claravis pretiosa)

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

PURPLISH-BACKED QUAIL-DOVE (Zentrygon lawrencii)

We heard and briefly saw it as it crossed a few gaps in the forest foliage. A seldom seen species.

MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major)

The largest of the anis, this one is pale eyed and with the largest bill.

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris)

STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia)

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

Apodidae (Swifts)

WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)

SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura)

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)


Quite an extraordinary hummingbird adapted to feed on heliconia flowers with its strongly decurved bill. We had long scope studies of one.


GREEN HERMIT (Phaethornis guy) [*]

LONG-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis longirostris) [*]

STRIPE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis striigularis)

BROWN VIOLETEAR (Colibri delphinae)

VERAGUAN MANGO (Anthracothorax veraguensis) [E]

Almost a Panama endemic, this Pacific slope species pokes into Costa Rica a bit as well. Seen at Juan Hombron.

GREEN THORNTAIL (Discosura conversii)

Nice views of one feeding on tiny flowers at the lodge.

RUFOUS-CRESTED COQUETTE (Lophornis delattrei)

A cooperative bird seen on the road above the lodge.

GARDEN EMERALD (Chlorostilbon assimilis)


BRONZE-TAILED PLUMELETEER (Chalybura urochrysia)


CROWNED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania colombica)

SNOWCAP (Microchera albocoronata) [*]

SNOWY-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Saucerottia edward collata) [E]


SAPPHIRE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysuronia coeruleogularis coeruleogularis) [E]


Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (HUDSONIAN) (Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus)

SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)

WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)

ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)

Eurypygidae (Sunbittern)

SUNBITTERN (Eurypyga helias)

It took a bit of work to see them but we eventually we able to scope the pair present on the Rio Indio. Sunbittern are in their own family.

Ciconiidae (Storks)

WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)

Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)


Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

FASCIATED TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma fasciatum)

Great views of one hanging out on the Rio Indio.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)

The rice fields at Juan Hombron was great habitat for this savanna species, and we had some terrific views, and direct comparisons with the similar Turkey Vultures.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii)

Another good study at Juan Hombron. This one was eating what looked like a martin.

WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus)

BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus)

ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) [*]

DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus)

A few of these were seen soaring.

NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus hudsonius)

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus)

SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis)

GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga)

A terrific view of one at Juan Hombron that circled closely overhead.

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus blakei)

We had a nice adult bird near the Carib Grackles in El Valle.

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)

Strigidae (Owls)

TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba luctisonus)

SPECTACLED OWL (Pulsatrix perspicillata)

Scope views of one at the edge of El Valle.

FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (FERRUGINOUS) (Glaucidium brasilianum ridgwayi)

MOTTLED OWL (Ciccaba virgata)

Trogonidae (Trogons)

SLATY-TAILED TROGON (MASSENA) (Trogon massena hoffmanni)


A male on the Rio Indio day.

COLLARED TROGON (ORANGE-BELLIED) (Trogon collaris aurantiiventris)

Momotidae (Motmots)

TODY MOTMOT (Hylomanes momotula)

Our best look came on the road to La Mesa above the lodge.

LESSON'S MOTMOT (Momotus lessonii lessonii)

Good views of one perched on a stump near Cara Iguana. This is the southeastern most part of this species range.

RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii)

This big boy was a regular sight around the lodge.

BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum)

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

BARRED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus radiatus)

Capitonidae (New World Barbets)

SPOT-CROWNED BARBET (Capito maculicoronatus maculicoronatus) [E]

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

NORTHERN EMERALD-TOUCANET (BLUE-THROATED) (Aulacorhynchus prasinus caeruleogularis)

COLLARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus torquatus)

These perky mini toucans showed up regularly at the feeding station at the lodge, enticed by bananas.

YELLOW-EARED TOUCANET (Selenidera spectabilis)

KEEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos sulfuratus)

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

BLACK-CHEEKED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes pucherani)

RED-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes rubricapillus)

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara plancus)

YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

MERLIN (Falco columbarius)

APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis)

A close flyover at Juan Hombron was a treat.

BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis)

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

ORANGE-CHINNED PARAKEET (Brotogeris jugularis)

BROWN-HOODED PARROT (Pyrilia haematotis)

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)

RED-LORED PARROT (RED-LORED) (Amazona autumnalis salvini)

YELLOW-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona ochrocephala panamensis)

BROWN-THROATED PARAKEET (VERAGUAS) (Eupsittula pertinax ocularis)

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus)

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)

RUSSET ANTSHRIKE (Thamnistes anabatinus)

PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis)

SPOT-CROWNED ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus puncticeps) [*]

CHECKER-THROATED STIPPLETHROAT (Epinecrophylla fulviventris)

WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula axillaris)

DOT-WINGED ANTWREN (Microrhopias quixensis)

JET ANTBIRD (Cercomacra nigricans)

Mostly heard, and glimpsed by a couple of folks.


DULL-MANTLED ANTBIRD (Sipia laemosticta)

It took a while to spot it, but this one eventually showed well for us on our way to Altos del Maria.

SPOTTED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax naevioides)

Conopophagidae (Gnateaters)

BLACK-CROWNED ANTPITTA (Pittasoma michleri michleri) [*]

Grallariidae (Antpittas)

STREAK-CHESTED ANTPITTA (Hylopezus perspicillatus)

Nice views of this one singing at the Finca Candelario.

Formicariidae (Antthrushes)

BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis)

This one was also a feature of the Finca Candelario.

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus)

COCOA WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus susurrans)

SPOTTED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus erythropygius)

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)

SPOTTED BARBTAIL (Premnoplex brunnescens)

RED-FACED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca erythrops)

PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens)

Pipridae (Manakins)

WHITE-RUFFED MANAKIN (Corapipo altera)

BLUE-CROWNED MANAKIN (VELVETY) (Lepidothrix coronata minuscula)

Now known as Velvety Manakin, this applies to birds north and west of the Andes.

GOLDEN-COLLARED MANAKIN (Manacus vitellinus)

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)

NORTHERN SCHIFFORNIS (NORTHERN) (Schiffornis veraepacis dumicola) [E]

Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill, Royal Flycatcher, and Allies)

SULPHUR-RUMPED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius sulphureipygius)

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

OLIVE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes olivaceus)

OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)

SEPIA-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon amaurocephalus)

RUFOUS-BROWED TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes superciliaris)

Nice views of this species at Altos del Maria. This species occurs over a limited range in Costa Rica and Panama, as well as a disjunct range on the Colombia-Venezuela border.

SCALE-CRESTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus pileatus)

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

OLIVACEOUS FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus olivaceus)

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

YELLOW-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (YELLOW-WINGED) (Tolmomyias assimilis flavotectus)

Now officially known as Yellow-winged Flycatcher.

BROWN-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Ornithion brunneicapillus) [*]


MOUSE-COLORED TYRANNULET (NORTHERN) (Phaeomyias murina eremonoma) [E]

The Northern birds have been split off as Phaeomyias eremonoma.

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)

LESSER ELAENIA (Elaenia chiriquensis)


A relatively recent split of Paltry Tyrannulet into three species.

BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus)

Good views of one on our Rio Indio day. This is yet another Neotropical flycatcher that has been split into several species.

TUFTED FLYCATCHER (COSTA RICAN) (Mitrephanes phaeocercus aurantiiventris)

TROPICAL PEWEE (TROPICAL) (Contopus cinereus bogotensis)

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens) [*]

NORTHERN SCRUB-FLYCATCHER (Sublegatus arenarum arenarum)

RUFOUS MOURNER (Rhytipterna holerythra)

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)

PANAMA FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus panamensis)

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

GRAY KINGBIRD (Tyrannus dominicensis)


Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (NORTHERN) (Cyclarhis gujanensis perrygoi) [E]

SCRUB GREENLET (Hylophilus flavipes)

LESSER GREENLET (Pachysylvia decurtata)

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons)

PHILADELPHIA VIREO (Vireo philadelphicus)

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

BLACK-CHESTED JAY (Cyanocorax affinis)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

WHITE-THIGHED SWALLOW (Atticora tibialis)

Some nice scope views of several perched on wires on the road up to La Mesa.

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

TAWNY-FACED GNATWREN (Microbates cinereiventris)

LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus)

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

SCALY-BREASTED WREN (WHISTLING) (Microcerculus marginatus luscinia)

Tino spotted one for us in the lodge carpark that he was able to scope for us!

HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon inquietus)

OCHRACEOUS WREN (Troglodytes ochraceus ligea) [E]

A really terrific look at this species at eye level! This species is quite often up in the canopy, darting in and out of epiphytes.

RUFOUS-BREASTED WREN (Pheugopedius rutilus)

RUFOUS-AND-WHITE WREN (Thryophilus rufalbus) [*]

ISTHMIAN WREN (Cantorchilus elutus)

BAY WREN (Cantorchilus nigricapillus)

This loud and strikingly patterned species was seen well around the lodge.

WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucosticta)

GRAY-BREASTED WOOD-WREN (Henicorhina leucophrys) [*]

SONG WREN (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus)

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (TROPICAL) (Mimus gilvus tolimensis) [I]

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

PALE-VENTED THRUSH (Turdus obsoletus)

WHITE-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus assimilis)


Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

YELLOW-CROWNED EUPHONIA (Euphonia luteicapilla)

THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris)

FULVOUS-VENTED EUPHONIA (Euphonia fulvicrissa)


LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) [*]

Rhodinocichlidae (Thrush-Tanager)

ROSY THRUSH-TANAGER (Rhodinocichla rosea)

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

COMMON CHLOROSPINGUS (CENTRAL PANAMA) (Chlorospingus flavopectus punctulatus)

BLACK-STRIPED SPARROW (Arremonops conirostris)

ORANGE-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon aurantiirostris)


Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)


BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula)

GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)

GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris)

A recent colonist to El Valle.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla)

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)

GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera)

PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea)

TENNESSEE WARBLER (Leiothlypis peregrina)

MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia)

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea)


YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica)

CHESTNUT-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus delattrii mesochrysus)

BUFF-RUMPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis fulvicauda)

Seen and heard most mornings early, its buff rump glowing bright despite the deep shady conditions.

CANADA WARBLER (Cardellina canadensis)

Mitrospingidae (Mitrospingid Tanagers)

DUSKY-FACED TANAGER (Mitrospingus cassinii)

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

HEPATIC TANAGER (HIGHLAND) (Piranga flava testacea)

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)


Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)


TAWNY-CRESTED TANAGER (Tachyphonus delatrii)

WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus)

FLAME-RUMPED TANAGER (LEMON-RUMPED) (Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus)

CRIMSON-BACKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus dimidiatus)

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)

GOLDEN-HOODED TANAGER (Stilpnia larvata)

PLAIN-COLORED TANAGER (Tangara inornata)

BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola)

EMERALD TANAGER (Tangara florida)

SILVER-THROATED TANAGER (Tangara icterocephala)


BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)

SHINING HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes lucidus) [*]


GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)

SULPHUR-RUMPED TANAGER (Heterospingus rubrifrons)

A really range restricted species found on the Atlantic/Caribbean slope of Costa Rica and Panama. Good views of a pair of birds on the Rio Indio Road.

BLACK-AND-YELLOW TANAGER (Chrysothlypis chrysomelas)

WEDGE-TAILED GRASS-FINCH (Emberizoides herbicola)

BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)

RUDDY-BREASTED SEEDEATER (Sporophila minuta centralis)

VARIABLE SEEDEATER (VARIABLE) (Sporophila corvina hoffmanni)

BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)



STREAKED SALTATOR (Saltator striatipectus)



RED-NAPED TAMARIN (Saguinus geoffroyi)

HOFFMANN'S TWO-TOED SLOTH (Choloepus hoffmanni)


RED-TAILED SQUIRREL (Sciurus granatensis)

CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata)

Totals for the tour: 256 bird taxa and 5 mammal taxa