Panama a Biodiversity hotspot 9 to 18 May, 2019

Price: US$29508 Places Available Species of Interest
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Species of Interest

    • Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker
    • Yellow-eared Toucanet
    • Blue Cotinga
    • Black-and-yellow Tanager
    • Tawny-capped Euphonia
    • White-ruffed Manakin
    • Rufous-crested Coquette
    • Violet-capped Hummingbird
    • Violet-headed Hummingbird
    • Snowy-bellied Hummingbird
    • Shining Honeycreeper
    • Rufous Motmot
    • Straight-billed Woodcreeper
    • Ruddy-breasted Seedeater
    • Northern Scrub-Flycatcher
    • Common Black Hawk
    • Yellow Warbler
    • Sapphire-throated
    • Scaly-breasted Hummingbirds
    • Rufous-browed Peppershrike
    • Black-necked Stilt
    • Least Sandpiper
    • Cocoi Heron
    • Lance-tailed Manakin
    • Yellow-green Tyrannulet
    • Rosy Thrush-Tanager
    • Crested Caracara
    • Yellow-crowned Parrot
    • Yellow Tyrannulet
    • Red-crowned Ant-Tanager.
    • Pied Puffbird
    • Green Shrike-Vireo
    • Ocellated Antbird
    • Spotted Antbird
    • Bicolored Antbird
    • Chestnut-backed
    • Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo
    • Golden-collared Manakin
    • Blue-crowned Manakin
    • Red-capped Manakin
    • Slaty-tailed Trogon
    • Gartered Trogon
    • Black-tailed Trogon
    • Golden-browed Chlorophonia
    • Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher
    • Spangle-cheeked Tanager
    • Talamanca Hummingbird
    • Scintillant Hummingbird
    • Stripe-tailed Hummingbird
    • Violet Sabrewing
    • Flame-colored Tanager
    • Bronzed Cowbird
    • Slaty Flowerpiercer
    • Crimson-fronted Parakeet.
    • Black Guan
    • Bare-necked Umbrellabird
    • Lattice-tailed Trogon
    • Silvery-fronted Tapaculo
    • Black-and-Yellow Silky-flycatcher
    • Blue-and-gold Tanager
    • Ashy-throated Chlorospingus
    • Azure-hooded Jay
    • Red-headed Barbet
    • Black-bellied Hummingbird
    • White-tailed Emerald
    • White-bellied Mountain-Gem
    • Green-fronted Lancebill
    • Snowcap
    • Resplendent Quetzal
    • Prong-billed Barbet
    • Three-wattled Bellbird
    • Black-faced
    • Wrenthrush
    • Fiery-throated Hummingbird
    • Sooty-capped Chlorospingus
    • Dark Pewee
    • Sooty Thrush
    • Ruddy Treerunner
    • Timberline Wren
    • Volcano Junco
    • Unspotted Saw-whet Owl
    • Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl
    • Bare-shanked Screech-Owl
    • Dusky Nightjar
    • Veraguan Mango
    • Charming Hummingbird
    • Fiery-billed Aracari
    • Black-hooded Antshrike
    • Costa Rican Brushfinch
    • Riverside Wren
    • Spot-crowned Euphonia
    • Plain-capped Starthroat
    • Blue-throated Goldentail
    • Lesson's Motmot
    • Scarlet-rumped Tanager (Cherrie's
    • Olive-crowned Yellowthroat (Chiriqui)
    • Rose-throated Becard
    • Northern Jacana

Pheasant Cuckoo in the biodiversity hotspot of Panama

Panama, a biodiversity hotspot, is home to the largest number of birds of any country in Central America.  Smaller than South Carolina, it has over a thousand recorded bird species. This astonishing diversity is easily accessible, making it possible to attain a very long bird list within a short period of time. What's more, it is possible to see more than a hundred regional endemics. For these reasons, Panama is one of the top birding destinations in the world.

This 10-day adventure explores the Central and Western regions of the country, from the Panama Canal to the border of Costa Rica. Along the way, we will visit several life zones of the tropical forest, including dry forest, lowland rainforest, wet forest, and cloud forest, each with its unique landscapes and inhabitants.

Trip Basics

Guide: Edwin Campbell

Single room supplement: US$520

Length: 10 days

Maximum number of participants: 8*

Lodging: Comfortable and clean hotels and inns

Food: Quality, fresh, local ingredients prepared in Panamanian and International styles.

Weather: Warm and humid in the Central Region.  Cool and humid in the Western highlands, particularly at night.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.  Most days will include a fair amount of walking within undulating terrain.

* With smaller groups, an additional fee will be charged.

Notes and Recommendations for the trip




Upon your arrival to Panama City you will be met at the Tocumen International Airport by your expert birding guide and escorted to your accommodations in Panama City where you will be staying just one night. We will have a short orientation and enjoy our first dinner together.


With our bags packed, we will  depart early this morning as we venture to Cerro Azul - an ideal site to find the Panamanian endemic Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker.  We will also look for Yellow-eared Toucanet, Blue Cotinga, Black-and-yellow Tanager, Tawny-capped Euphonia, White-ruffed Manakin among many others. At backyard bird feeders, we will enjoy the Rufous-crested Coquette, Violet-capped Hummingbird, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird, Shining Honeycreeper, Rufous Motmot and a host of other species that take advantage of the many gardens and feeders throughout the area. This evening we will check into another hotel, where we will be staying for the next few nights.


Despite a population of over one million people, Panama City is a great place to bird. Millions of migratory birds stop to rest and regain strength in the mud flats of the Bay of Panama on their journeys north and south. At low tide, we will visit the Old Panama Mudflats for a chance to see Collared Plover, Short-billed Dowitcher, Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel and others. We will continue birding at the Embarcadero mangroves looking for Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, Northern Scrub-Flycatcher, Common Black Hawk (Mangrove), Yellow Warbler (Mangrove), Sapphire-throated and Scaly-breasted Hummingbirds, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Black-necked Stilt, Least Sandpiper, Cocoi Heron, as well as yellowlegs, night-herons and other waders and shorebirds. Our final stop for the day will be a visit to Metropolitan Nature Park, the only tropical forest in Latin America located within city limits. Here, we will be on the lookout for more Panama City birds such as: Saffron Finch, Lance-tailed Manakin, Yellow-green Tyrannulet, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Crested Caracara, Yellow-crowned Parrot, American Kestrel (South American population), Yellow Tyrannulet, and Red-crowned Ant-Tanager.


Early this morning we climb the 32 m high observation tower at the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center to look for high canopy species such as Blue Cotinga, Pied Puffbird, Green Shrike-Vireo; as well as several species of parrots, toucans and raptors. Here we will also enjoy a picnic lunch at the visitors’ center buzzing with 14 different species of hummingbirds. In this national park we will also explore the famous Pipeline Road with its high diversity of birds attributed to the habitat heterogeneity in the park; secondary, old growth forest, swamps and streams. If army ants are found, several professional ant-followers can be seen - Ocellated Antbird, Spotted Antbird, Bicolored Antbird, Chestnut-backed Antbird and the prized Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, if we are very lucky! Manakins found here include the Golden-collared Manakin, Blue-crowned Manakin and Red-capped Manakin. Pipeline Road is also well-known for its trogons; five of them can be seen on a very lucky day: Slaty-tailed Trogon, Gartered Trogon and Black-throated Trogon are the most common.


After some early birding around the hotel and breakfast we will head to the domestic airport to take our flight to Chiriqui (David). From David, we will transfer by land to Boquete. After we check in to our hotel, we will visit the Culebra Trail to begin looking for the highland endemics such as Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, and Spangle-cheeked Tanager among many others. Then we will visit Finca Lerida and explore its beautiful gardens to find the Talamanca Hummingbird, Scintillant Hummingbird, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird and Violet Sabrewing, all Mesoamerican hummingbirds. But, these lush gardens attract more than  hummingbirds.  Flame-colored Tanager, Bronzed Cowbird, and Slaty Flowerpiercer are a few more birds we hope to see here. We will also search for the enigmatic Maroon-chested Dove. On our way back to town we will visit the roosting site of the regional endemic, Crimson-fronted Parakeet.

Lesser Violetear very common in Finca Lerida


The Fortuna Cloud Forest is perhaps one of the best-preserved cloud forests in all of Central America. Clouds cover the forest over 40% of the day. This coupled with the humidity, low temperatures and high precipitation creates a forest like no other. The heavy humidity released by the Caribbean Sea nearby, and the high mountains of Cordillera Talamanca create the perfect habitat for some of the most sought-after avifauna in Panama. The birds to be found in this area are Black Guan, Bare-necked Umbrellabird, Lattice-tailed Trogon, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Black-and-Yellow Silky-flycatcher, Blue-and-gold Tanager, Ashy-throated Chlorospingus, Azure-hooded Jay, Red-headed Barbet and Black-bellied Hummingbird, White-tailed Emerald, White-bellied Mountain-Gem, Green-fronted Lancebill and Snowcap. We will also have the opportunity to explore a bit of the Caribbean slope as we search for Pale-billed Woodpecker, Crimson-collared Tanager, Montezuma Oropendola, Barred Hawk and many others. 


In Bajo Mono, we will look for the captivating Resplendent Quetzal at the Pipeline and Los Quetzales Trails. We will also look for Prong-billed Barbet, Three-wattled Bellbird, Black-faced Solitaire and the elusive Wrenthrush. In the afternoon, we will look for the regional endemic birds of higher elevation. For that, we will need to climb the highest point in Panama, the Baru Volcano. During the ascent in 4x4 jeeps, we will try to locate Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Sooty-capped Chlorospingus, Dark Pewee, Sooty Thrush, Ruddy Treerunner, and Timberline Wren, among many other mountain birds. Upon reaching the top, we will look for our last diurnal endemic bird, which is restricted to the summits of the Talamanca mountains - the Volcano Junco. After we watch the sunset from the “roof of Panama” we will head down and start looking for the nocturnal regional endemics such as Unspotted Saw-whet Owl, Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl, Bare-shanked Screech-Owl and Dusky Nightjar.

Fiery-throated Hummingbird


Today we will explore the lower elevations (~2,650 ft) of Chiriqui as we search for the regional endemics of the South Central American Pacific slope. Among these it is possible to find Veraguan Mango, Charming Hummingbird, Fiery-billed Aracari, Black-hooded Antshrike, Costa Rican Brushfinch, Riverside Wren and Spot-crowned Euphonia. We will visit Birding Paradise – where a number of species come to partake in the plethora of bird feeders in the gardens. Some of the outstanding birds are Plain-capped Starthroat, Blue-throated Goldentail, Lesson's Motmot, and Scarlet-rumped Tanager (Cherrie's). In the afternoon, we will continue on to the Laguna de Volcan, where we can see Olive-crowned Yellowthroat (Chiriqui), Rose-throated Becard and Northern Jacana.


On our final morning in the Chiriqui Highlands, we will further explore the Quetzal Trail – where we will have a second chance to search for any of those birds we may have missed, or to get better looks at some of the more elusive species. After lunch, we will head to the airport for our return flight to Panama City. We will check in to our hotel and enjoy our final dinner together.


After breakfast, we will transfer you to Tocumen International Airport. Today you will say “hasta luego” to this enchanting country and return home, where you’ll be eager to share your incredible Panama birding experiences that perhaps include a few “lifers”!

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