Blue Cotinga

ITINERARY: PANAMA – EAST TO WEST

Day 1: January 19 2023 Arrival in Panama

Day 2: January 20 Drive to Torti, birding along Pan-American Highway

Day 3: January 21 Full day Darien lowlands birding

Day 4: January 22 San Francisco Reserve & return to Panama City

Day 5: January 23Pipeline Road & Summit Ponds

Day 6: January 24 Cerro Azul & Bay of Panama

Day 7: January 25 Panama Rainforest Discovery Center & Gamboa Reserve

Day 8: January 26 Flight to Chiriqui, afternoon in Las Nubes area (Cerro Punta)

Day 9: January 28 Los Quetzales Trail & Volcan Lakes

Day 10: January 28 Las Nubes (La Amistad International Park) & flexible birding in afternoon

Day 11: January 29 Birding Paradise & flight back to Panama City

Day 12: January 30 Departure Day with shuttle to airport

Map of Panama you’ll bird from the southern Darien district to the north the Bocas del Toro

Map of Panama

DETAILED ITINERARY Day 1 – January 19, 2023: Arrival in Panama Welcome to Panama! After arriving at Tocumen International Airport you will transfer to your hotel where you can prepare for the upcoming days of birding. Around the gardens you can find Blue-gray, Palm, and Crimson backed tanagers, Clay-colored Thrush, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Ruddy Ground Dove, Tropical Mockingbird, and other common Neotropical birds. Overnight at Riande Aeropuerto Hotel.

Northern Potoo

Day2 : Drive to Torti, birding along Pan-American Highway After an early breakfast at the hotel, we will begin our journey towards Darien, one of the most biodiverse areas of Panama. Our first stop will be in the Bayano Lake and Rio Mono area of eastern Panama Province, where we will look for Black Antshrike, Jet Antbird, Orange-crowned Oriole, One-colored Becard, Rusty-winged Antwren, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Barred Puffbird, Pied Water-Tyrant, and other eastern Panama species. We will carry on to the town of Torti for lunch, where we will watch the hummingbird feeders as we enjoy a local meal. In the afternoon, we will explore the banks of the Torti River to seek out Little Cuckoo, Red-billed Scythebill, Double-banded Graytail, White-eared Conebill, Pacific Antwren, Carib Grackle, Green Ibis, among many others. Overnight at Avicar Hotel in Torti.

Day 3 – Full day Darien lowlands birding We will get an early start and today’s journey will take us to the end of the Pan-American highway in Central America through the fabled Darien province. We will spend the day birding along the far reaches of the highway. El Salto Road is a particularly great spot to find Blue Cotinga, White-necked Puffbird, Red-throated Caracara, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Bare-crowned Antbird, Yellow-breasted Flycatcher and many others. We’ll visit trails to seek out Gray-cheeked Nunlet, Black Oropendola, Olivaceous Piculet, Golden-headed Manakin, Black Antshrike, Pied Puffbird, and Golden-green Woodpecker. At roadside wetlands, we’ll scan the open marshes for Black-capped Donacobius, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, Large-billed Seed-Finch, raptors and waterbirds. We’ll return to Torti in time for dinner. Overnight at Avicar Hotel Torti.

King Vulture

Day 4 – San Francisco Reserve & return to Panama City San Francisco Reserve near Torti offers a wide variety of habitats from open savanna to mature rainforest and is home to a great variety of key species. San Francisco is a great place to find the endemic Yellow-green Tyrannulet, Royal Flycatcher, Barred Puffbird, Golden-collared Manakin, Sulphur-rumped Tanager, Rustywinged Antwren, Great Jacamar, Central American Pygmy-Owl, and even the rare Wing-banded Antbird. This is a great spot to search the skies for soaring raptors: Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle and King Vulture can be spotted soaring overhead. Though very rare, even Harpy Eagle has been seen on occasion. After lunch in Torti, we will drive back to Panama City. Overnight at Summit Rainforest Resort.

Harpy Eagle

Day 5 – Pipeline Road & Summit Ponds Morning birding at the world-famous Pipeline Road. Our first stop will be at the Ammo Dump Ponds to scan the open wetland for Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Purple Gallinule, Wattled Jacana, White-throated Crake, Greater Ani, Yellow-tailed Oriole, and forest edge species. Pipeline Road is a trail through the lowland rainforest of Soberania National Park and is home to hundreds of species, including Red-capped Manakin, Black Hawk-Eagle, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Slaty-tailed Trogon, Spotted Antbird, Cinnamon Woodpecker and some other less common rainforest species, including Ocellated Antbird, Streak-chested Antpitta and Pheasant Cuckoo. After lunch and a rest, we’ll explore the forested wetlands at Summit Ponds. Streaked Saltator, Collared Forest Falcon, Great Black Hawk, Fulvous-vented Euphonia, Golden-collared Manakin, and Blue Dacnis can be seen along the road. At the ponds, we’ll scan the edges for Lesser Kiskadee, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Boat-billed Heron, and Greater Ani. Overnight at Summit Rainforest Resort.

Central America Pygmy Owl

Day 6 – Cerro Azul & Bay of Panama Today we’ll enjoy a day of birding in the cooler foothills of Cerro Azul and Chagres National Park. It is one of the best places to look for Yellow-eared Toucanet, Sulphur-rumped, Emerald, Speckled and Rufous-winged tanagers, Black-eared Wood-Quail, White-ruffed Manakin and the endemic Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker! We’ll scan the open vistas for King Vulture and Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle. But most of all, Cerro Azul is a paradise for hummingbirds and hummingbird photography – White-tipped Sicklebill, Violet-capped Hummingbird, Snowy-bellied Hummingbird, Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer, Green Hermit, Purple-crowned Fairy and Rufous crested Coquette can be found here. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in the field, surrounded by the beautiful nature and climate of Cerro Azul. In the afternoon we’ll stop at Costa del Este or Panama Viejo to scan the mangroves and mudflats for shorebirds and waterbirds. Overnight at Summit Rainforest Resort.

Aracari-Collared Chestnut race

Day 7 – Panama Rainforest Discovery Center & Gamboa Reserve A visit to the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center will bring us up above the canopy of the rainforest on a 100- foot tower, where Blue Cotinga, Black-breasted Puffbird, and Gray-headed Kite are often seen. Along the trails we’ll watch for Blue-crowned Manakin, White-whiskered Puffbird, Little Tinamou, antbirds and more. The covered veranda with buzzing hummingbird feeders brings us up close to White-necked Jacobin, Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Long-billed Hermit and other amazing hummingbirds. In the afternoon we will stroll around the grounds of the Gamboa Rainforest Reserve. This area has trails, forest, open areas, wetlands and is particularly ‘birdy.’ Here we’ll keep an eye out for Gartered Trogon, Golden-hooded Tanager, Yellow-throated Toucan, and Black-striped Sparrow. Overnight at Summit Rainforest Resort.

Gartered Trogon

Day 8 – Flight to David, afternoon birding around Cerro Puna & Las Nubes This morning we will take a short flight to Chiriqui, the gateway to Panama’s western highlands. Upon arrival we will transfer to our lodge in the lush cloud forests of Cerro Punta. After lunch we will head to the Las Nubes area. A quiet trail here is a great place to see Black-and-yellow and Long-tailed silky-flycatchers, Acorn Woodpecker, Large-footed Finch, Slate-throated Redstart, Scintillant and Talamanca hummingbirds, Golden-bellied Flycatcher, Torrent Tyrannulet, Flame-colored Tanager, Prong-billed Barbet, among many others. Overnight at Los Quetzales Lodge.

Whooping Motmot

Day 9 – Los Quetzales Trail & Volcan Lakes the Los Quetzales Trail at the west entrance of Volcan Baru National Park is a great place to find Resplendent Quetzal, Brown-capped Vireo, Yellowish Flycatcher, Yellow-thighed Brushfinch, Ruddy Treerunner, Slatethroated and Collared redstarts, Flame-throated Warbler, Streak-breasted Treehunter, and Dark Pewee. Three-wattled Bellbird, Black Guan, and Volcano Hummingbird can also be found here. This afternoon, we will head to Volcan Lakes, where a trail leads us to a quiet lake where we will scan for Northern Jacana at the water’s edge. The forest is full of great birds here – Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Warbler, Collared Trogon, White-winged Tanager, Spotted Wood-Quail, White-throated Thrush and many more. Overnight at Los Quetzales Lodge. Sooty-capped Chlorospingus

Day 10 – La Amistad International Park Las Nubes Station & hummingbird feeders La Amistad International Park, shared with Costa Rica, is home to dozens of Talamancan regional endemics. The Las Nubes Ranger Station in the park is an excellent place to seek out Wrenthrush, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Sooty-capped Chlorospingus, Buffy Tuftedcheek, Ruddy Treerunner, Barred Becard, and a dozen other hummingbird species. We’ll enjoy the lush forests and refreshing streams and waterfalls along the way. This afternoon we will visit some local feeders in Guadalupe to see and photograph Talamanca Hummingbird, Scintillant Hummingbird, White-throated Mountain-gem, Stripe-tailed Hummingbird, Chestnut-capped Brush finch, and a lovely array of tanagers. Overnight at Los Quetzales Lodge.

Day 11 – Paradise Birding & flight to Panama City We will be up early today to head to Paraiso Birding, in hopes to catch the Fiery-billed Aracaris as they take in their breakfast at the fruit feeders. This morning we will focus our attention to the hummingbirds and the lovely trails this property has to offer. Species include Charming Hummingbird, Long-billed Starthroat, Brown Violetear, and Green Hermit. We will also look for Black-hooded Antshrike, Costa Rican Brushfinch, Orange collared Manakin, and Spot-crowned Euphonia. After lunch we will return to David to catch our flight back to Panama City. We will enjoy a final dinner together. Overnight at Riande Aeropuerto Hotel.

Day 12 – January 29, 2023: Departure is early morning after breakfast we will transfer via hotel shuttle to the international airport for our return flights home. Flights to Houston depart typically by 9:30AM.

A minimum of 4 persons is needed for the trip to go.

Cost $3895.00

For registration:

please contract Rich Cimino cell; 925-353-0266 or email yellowbilledtours@gmail.com

Field Guides for Yellowbilled Tours
Ocellated Antbird