Trip Report: Panama The Best of Tropical America (Feb. 2019)

Guided by Andrés Vásquez. This was a set departure tour.

Panamá is a beautiful small country that is home to nearly 1000 species of birds thanks to its location, varied topography, and tropical climate. On this tour, we tried to see as much as possible in only 13 birding days. We basically crossed from one end of the country to the other both in latitude and longitude, being close to the border with Costa Rica while birding in Chiriqui, and not too far from Colombia while birding in the East, plus scanning the Pacific Ocean one day and being a few miles away from the Atlantic Ocean on the next one. The good road infrastructure and internal airline routes also made it easy to get around as needed.

In terms of birding and wildlife watching, Panama does not take second place to any country in Central America. With various encounters with sloths, tamanduas, Tayras, Lesser Capybaras, coatis, howlers, tamarins, and capuchins, the “mammaling” was also superb! In regards to the birds we finished with a list of 428 species recorded of which highlights were the magnificent Resplendent Quetzal, the bizarre Black-crowned Antpitta, 6 species of puffbirds, 21 antbirds, 30 hummingbirds, 5 toucans including the cartoonish Keel-billed Toucan, and many superb tanagers from which Black-and-yellow, Speckled, and Rufous-winged were stand outs, along with many more other birds and mammals.

Some participants had joined the tour specifically for chasing several bird families like the cryptic Wrenthrush (AKA Zeledonia), the unique Rosy Thrush-Tanager, the enigmatic Sapayoa, the dullish “Mitrospingid” Dusky-faced Tanager and the hulking Prong-billed Barbet. Other special birds that were mentioned by the group members as memorable, included Pheasant Cuckoo, Golden-headed, Lance-tailed, Red-capped, Golden-collared, Orange-collared, and White-ruffed Manakins, the endemic Yellow-green Tyrannulet, Whooping, Rufous, Broad-billed and Lesson’s Motmots, Blue Cotinga, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Flame-throated Warbler, Speckled Mourner, Streak-chested Antpitta, and tons more.

Full TROPICAL BIRDING Panama Feb. 2019 Trip Report here
(pdf format; 5.8 MB size file)