Spectacled Parrotlet

Central Panama & the Darién

February 15 - 26, 2021

Leader: Jan Hansen

$3395 from Panama City

Spot-breasted Woodpecker

Spot-breasted Woodpecker

This itinerary to Panama combines two regions of the country that together will give participants a chance to see over 400 species of birds. We begin in the Canal Zone near Panama City where we will spend 3 days visiting some of central Panama's most productive sites including Pipeline Road, Sobernia NP, Metropolitan Park, Summit Gardens and the Ammo Ponds. The central Panama portion of the tour will also include 2 nights in El Valle del Antón with visits to Cerro Gaital and Altos del Maria, a private estate that provides excellent mid-altitude forest birding. Along the way we should see a fantastic assortment of birds including Blue Cotinga, Green Shrike-Vireo, Red-capped and Blue-crowned manakins, Keel-billed and Black-mandibled toucans and a rich variety of other neotropical birds like trogons, puffbirds, and motmots. If we are lucky we may encounter an active army ant swarm with an attendant troop of antbirds, woodcreepers and even a few neotropical migrant warblers. In El Valle del Antón we will visit higher elevation cloud forest with cooler climates and a different subset of birds that might include Tody Motmot, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Black-crowned Antpitta and much more. The tour will conclude with four days in Darién province in eastern Panama where the birds will take on a South American flavor and we may find rarities such as Viridian Dacnis, Dusky-backed Jacamar and Great Currasow. We will also spend an entire day in search of an active Harpy Eagle nest. A known nest site has been very reliable for the past several years and hopefully this will continue giving participants a rare opportunity to see this magnificent raptor. This tour will be an excellent introduction to neotropical birding for people who have never visited the tropics, but also a great opportunity for more experienced tropical birders. The Darién portion of the tour will take us into some very remote areas of eastern Panama, but without some of the arduous rigors generally involved with birding in remote tropical areas. Formerly reachable only by bush plane, the Darién has seen dramatic infrastructure improvements in recent years and it is now possible to drive all the way to Yaviza from Panama City in just 4 hours. From Yaviza we will have access either by 4 x 4 or motorized canoe to some of Panama's most remote and best birding venues.

Tour Map