If you have not birdied Panama yet, you’ll want to put it on your bucket list. And if Panama is your first experience in tropical birding prepare to be amazed.
At just under half the size of the state of Oklahoma, Panama is home to am amazing diversity of bird, insect, animal and plant life. Approximately 40% of the country is considered to be “jungle” habitat. Almost 1000 species of birds have been recorded in the country. A list of recorded species can be found on Wikipedia.
Despite the relatively small size of the country and the abundance of birds, birding can be a challenge if you do not know when and where to go. Many species are often found high in the canopy while others skulk secretly in the dark undergrowth. If you do visit the area we recommend that you have a quality pair of binoculars that is water proof and with excellent light-gathering ability.
One of the very best ways to see the birds of Panama in a variety of habitats is to make contact with the Canopy Family of birding locations. First made famous by the Canopy Tower, the Canopy group now offers several locations with different levels of accommodations and different habitats.
Male Blue Dacnis. Photograph © Glenn Bartley.
The Canopy Family has two award-winning birding lodges. The Canopy Tower, not far from Panama City in Soberanía National Park, and the Canopy Lodge, in the hills of El Valle de Antón. Both offer world-class, unique birding and natural history experiences. Local friendly, and knowledgeable bilingual guides are available at both locations.
The Canopy Tower features rooms and an observation deck mere feet from the canopy of the rainforest, virtually at eye-level with such avian treats as toucans, tanagers, honeycreepers and hawks. Birders are also treated to amazing looks at two- and three-toed sloths and Geoffroy’s Tamarins and Mantled Howlers, two monkey species otherwise nearly impossible to see without a view from the tower. From the Canopy Tower you can visit the legendary Pipeline Road, arguably the best birding location in Mesoamerica.
The Canopy Lodge features a veranda that overlooks the garden feeders and rooms nestled among gardens by a creek. From the lodge birders can venture out to Cerro Gaital, La Mesa, Las Minas or other sites famous for Caribbean-slope specialties.
The newest location is Canopy Camp which features safari-style tents. Located in the heart of Darién, Panama’s most biologically-diverse region, birders can find macaws, curassows, harpy eagles and perhaps even a jaguar.
Birders can also select the beautifully restored Canal Zone-era house that is now a Canopy Bed & Breakfast. It is walking within walking distance of the world famous Pipeline Road and just 10 minutes from the Canopy Tower itself.
Visit the Canopy Web site for detailed information.