Panama Birding Tours

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Together with Costa Rica Panama offers probably the best birding experience in Central America, without doubt being one of the top destinations in Latin America. Panama’s history reaches from indigenous natives who occupied the isthmus to Spanish colonial occupation, later to integration into the State of Gran Colombia, and finally to the country’s independence from Colombia in 1903. Later the world marveled at the creation of the Panama Canal, connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific and considered one of the greatest works of engineering of the 20th century. Today Panama City is a modern metropolis where modern and bizarre giant skyscrapers stand next to the nostalgic old downtown at the banks of the canal. Friendly people, a dollarized economy, and daily flights to and from all over the world make Panama an easy country in which to travel.

Starting a birding trip in Panama City includes a quick visit to the famous Metropolitan Park; with its 265 hectares it is the largest protected park in Panama. The area hosts the endemic Panamanian (Yellow-green) Tyrannulet as well as many other easy-to-find birds, such as Orange-chinned Parakeet, Lance-tailed Manakin, White-bellied Antbird, Spotted Antbird, Trilling Gnatwren, Dot-winged Antwren, Red-lored Amazon, Southern Mealy Amazon, and the monotypic Rosy Thrush-tanager.

The famous birding areas in Central Panama include the Pipeline Road in the Gamboa region, and the Canopy Tower and Panama Rainforest Discovery Center which will provide you with outstanding species such as Golden-hooded Tanager, Ocellated Antbird, Brown-hooded Parrot, Blue Cotinga, the skulking Green Shrike-Vireo, Song Wren, Slaty-tailed, Gartered, and Black-throated Trogons, Broad-billed Motmot, Red-capped Manakin, Golden-collared Manakin, Yellow-throated Toucan, Keel-billed Toucan, Streak-chested Antpitta, and, with luck, the most-wanted Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo.

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Hummingbirds are not uncommon in Panama, and you will keep yourself busy studying or twitching these feathered jewels, including White-necked Jacobin, White-vented Plumeleteer, Long-billed Hermit, Blue-chested Hummingbird, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Stripe-throated Hermit, and Snowy-bellied Hummingbird. The highlands of the Anton Valley near the famous Canopy Lodge will provide good opportunities for some cracker species including Tody Motmot, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Snowcap, and another chance for Rufous-vented Ground Cuckoo.

Perhaps Panama’s most hidden secrets are the famous Pirre endemics, which are confined to the Pirre Mountains on the border with Colombia within the Darién National Park.  When in the past this completely wild and untouched area was open to visitors many used to travel to the heart of the Darién to hike the Pirre Hills and stay at the Cana Field Station in search of restricted endemics, but sadly visits by the public were canceled several years ago. We hope the future could change for the good of the local communities near the Darién and the conservation of the fabulous national park. However, on our Birding Ecotours Panama tour we include easier trips to the Darién outside the national park (to the amazing Canopy Camp), where you can still see sought-after species such as Black Antshrike, Grey-cheeked Nunlet, Pied Puffbird, Dusky-backed Jacamar, Sapayoa, Black Oropendola, Black-crowned Antpitta, and with luck the majestic Harpy Eagle when nests are active. For wildlife lovers Panama is full of interesting reptiles and amphibians and one of the largest concentrations of White-nosed Coati, Nine-banded Armadillo, Central American Agouti, Brown-throated Sloth, and the unique Lesser Capybara.

After our tour you could take a short helicopter ride above the Panama Canal, and the city would give you a great final farewell, or you could enjoy a magnificent dinner in the city. Any excuse will be good to visit Panama, but the birds will be first! Please join our 12-day Central and Eastern Panama tour.

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