Panama Canal Area

Visite lugares de observación de aves de renombre mundial como el Camino del Oleoducto, los Parques Nacionales Soberanía y Chagres, el Camino Achiote y las faldas del Cerro Azúl, así como los humedales locales.

Podríamos encontrar Urraca Pechinegra o Quérula Gorguimorada alimentándose, grandes insectívoros como Buco Pechinegro y Jacamar Grande, o incluso bandadas mixtas que podrían contener varias especies de hormigueritos, Batará Coroninegro, Xenops Bayo, Picoplano Oliváceo, y el casí endemico Picotorcido Sureño. El cielo de arriba podría producir aves rapaces como Gavilán Blanco, Halcón Cazamurciélagos, Aguilillo Negro, o incluso un majestuoso Gallinazo Rey.

Day 1: Arrival in Panama City and Gamboa

After arriving at Tocumen International Airport just outside of Panama City, you will be driven to the historic town of Gamboa on the fringes of Gatún Lake along the Panama Canal.

Located within the buffer zone of Soberanía National Park, Soberanía Lodge is a modest bed & breakfast with rooms that have air conditioning and private bathrooms with hot showers.

A great diversity of animals can be seen right on the Lodge property, including dozens of butterfly and moth species, iguanas and other lizards, and a wide range of mammals such as sloths, tamarin monkeys, night monkeys, kinkajous, agoutis, pacas, coatis, and armadillos. The bird diversity is perhaps the most impressive, with around 300 species recorded in the Lodge's backyard!

Day 2: Birding Gamboa & nearby Wetlands

We will have an early start by discovering the many bird species found right around our Lodge while waiting for (and during!) breakfast. We may be lucky enough to see various species of toucans, motmots, trogons, and tanagers, along with the myriad hummingbirds and honeycreepers visiting our nectar and fruit feeding stations. With such an array of birds we will have a hard time pulling ourselves away from the breakfast table to head out birding in the nearby forest!

The various habitats around the town of Gamboa boast a great number of birds: the open fields may contain Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Thick-billed Seedfinch, Blue-black Grassquit, and Variable Seedeater while the nearby wetlands could yield Yellow-tailed Oriole, Rufescent Tiger-heron, Greater Ani, Wattled Jacana, Purple Gallinule and, with some luck, a glimpse of the elusive White-throated Crake.

Day 3: Birding the Pipeline Road

Today we will have the opportunity to explore one of Panama´s most famous and prolific birding hotspots: The Pipeline Road. The Panama Audubon Society´s Christmas Bird Count along the Pipeline Rd. regularly records more than 300 different species in a 24-hr period, so we will have no shortage of targets to search for!

As we explore the vegetation alongside the road, we may discover foraging mixed species flocks containing dozens of birds from various species, including White-flanked, Checker-throated and Dot-winged Antwrens, Western-slaty Antshrike, Plain Xenops, Olivaceous Flatbill, and the nearly endemic Southern Bentbill.

Further searching may reveal other interesting inhabitants of the tropical rainforests, including foraging Black-chested Jays or Purple-throated Fruitcrows, large insectivores like Black-breasted Puffbirds and the Great Jacamar, and many others. In addition, we will also keep our eyes to the skies to spot raptors like White Hawk, Bat Falcon, Black Hawk-eagle, and even a majestic King Vulture.

In the afternoon we may visit the Summit Garden, which contains a Harpy Eagle Aviary where you can get close-up looks at the most powerful bird of prey in the world (which is also the National Bird of the Republic of Panama). The nearby forest may also produce a number of interesting birds, while the Summit Ponds provide habitat for herons, kingfishers, and flycatchers.

Day 4: Birding Soberanía National Park

Following breakfast, we will return to the Soberania National Park (the Pipeline Road lies within the park). You will understand why we are spending so much time here when you learn that most of the 500 species of birds recorded for the Panama Canal Watershed occur in this area!

Here we might be fortunate enough to come across some typical Neotropical bird families like motmots, puffbirds, trogons, and antbirds. Returning to the same park also allows us to both encounter species that we may have missed so far and get better looks at species that we only encountered briefly before.

In addition, however, we may encounter other interesting wildlife like Tamandua anteaters, Two and Three-toed sloths, and some of the five primate species recorded in the park: Howlers, Capuchins, Spiders, Tamarins or, with some luck, a Western Night monkey roosting inside a hollow trunk.

In the afternoon we may opt to visit nearby ponds in search of waterbirds like Rufescent Tiger-heron, Tricolored heron, and Snowy and Little Blue Egrets. It may also be possible to find a few resident kingfishers: Ringed, Amazon, Green, or the tiny American Pygmy Kingfisher. With some luck, we may even find an elusive Least Bittern or a Sungrebe.

Day 5: Cerro Azul

Today we will be birding the foothills of the Chagres National Park. With over 320,000 acres, this is the largest protected area in the Panama Canal Watershed. Here we can find humid forest species like Rufous-crested Coquette, Bronze-tailed Plumeteer, White-tipped Sicklebill, and even the endemic Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker.

At close to 3,000 feet above sea level, in the Cerro Jefe area we might come across some mountain specialties like the Scale-crested Pygmy-tyrant, Tawny-capped Euphonia, Spotted Woodcreeper, White-ruffed Manakin, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Black-and-Yellow, Bay-headed, Rufous-winged, and Olive Tanagers. There's even an opportunity for the nearly endemic Tacarcuna Bush-tanager.

Day 4: Highlands of the Barú Volcano National Park

Early today we will explore the forests along the Los Quetzales Trail within Barú Volcano National Park. Because of its importance in preserving unique elements of the flora and fauna, UNESCO has declared this area a Biosphere Reserve. In the cloud forest we may spot Buffy Tufted-cheek, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Sooty-capped Bush-tanager, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, and Large-footed Finch. Flowering bushes along the trail may yield White-throated Mountain-gem as well as other regional endemics like Stripe-tailed and Volcano Hummingbirds.

Time permitting, we may take a tour of the nearby Dracula Orchid Farm. Here we will we enjoy the sight of more than 2,000 different species of these colorful flowers while keeping our eyes open for Silver-throated Tanager, Black-faced Solitaire, and Slaty Flower-piercer.

Day 3: La Amistad International Park

Breakfast will find us in La Amistad International Park, an area which is jointly protected by Panama and Costa Rica. Endemism is high in this Important Bird Area (IBA) and we will have a good chance to see many birds that are restricted to the Talamanca Range. While some of these birds are relatively drab, such as the Dark Pewee or Yellowish Flycatcher, this area also hosts some of the gaudiest birds in the world, including myriad hummingbirds and brightly colored tanagers, Emerald (Blue-throated) Toucanet, Spangled-cheeked Tanager, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, and the gorgeous Resplendent Quetzal.

We will have lunch at a restaurant operated by a local women’s cooperative within the park, where we will taste some great local flavors while on the lookout for passing mixed species flocks that could contain many of specialties we may have missed at this point or other species like Ruddy Treerunner, Buffy Tufted Cheek, Prong-billed Barbet and more.

Later, we will stop at some nearby hummingbird feeders where more than a dozen species may be present – including White-throated Mountain-gem, Talamanca Hummingbird, Violet Saberwing, Snowy-bellied hummingbird, the tiny Scintillant Hummingbird, and maybe even a Fiery-throated Hummingbird.


Note: Although we will do our best efforts to fulfill all the activities described in this itinerary, there is always chance that activities may have to be changed or conducted in a different order due to unpredictable weather, road closures, or other unforeseen events. Additionaly, our local birding guides may suggest other alternatives to take advantage of a sudden opportunity in order to maximize birding opportunities.