Birds are everywhere and pretty easy to see. This is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why so many people watch them, why we look forward to looking at cardinals, woodpeckers, or other species that visit the backyard. It’s why some folks bring binoculars to local wildlife reserves, and why some people take epic vacations far from home, just to watch birds.
Who wouldn’t want to travel to see a Yellow-throated Toucan?
Although we can see birds from the windows of our homes, not many of us live in a place where hundreds of species are possible. Such places do exist though and such a high species count is one of the factors that converts an average destination to a place with incredible birding. Such a superlative should be reserved for sites with some of the best birding on the planet and Panama most definitely deserves the designation. These are five other reasons why this small tropical country is an incredible destination for birding:
Access to birds
Birds like this Broad-billed Motmot are quite accessible in Panama.
A country can have hundreds of cool birds but if they are tough to see, the birding might be more of a challenge than simply incredible. In Panama, the only challenge associated with seeing toucans, parrots, trogons, antbirds, and so many other species is often a question of leaving the hotel or even looking out the window. For example, there are rainforest parks right within and adjacent to Panama City that harbor hundreds of bird species, sloths, and other forms of tropical wildlife. Many other birding sites in other parts of the country have easy, fantastic birding within walking distance or on hotel grounds. In terms of access and quality birding, the famous Pipeline Road might even have the best lowland forest birding on the planet.
Easy access to different habitats
The number of species in any given area is also determined by the variety of habitats available. In Panama, good roads bring a birder to lowland rainforest, foothill rainforest, open habitats, marshes, and high elevation forests. Each has its own set of birds and many sites are easy to access.
Literally hundreds of bird species
Not just hundreds, Panama now has a bird list with 1,000 species (all of which are included in the Panama Birds Field Guide app). This small country is graced with such a high bird count in large part because it acts as a natural bridge between North and South America. Biodiversity from two directions have met and mingled in Panama for more than two million years. The end result for the birder is a cornucopia of lifers, nothing short of fantastic tropical birding every step of the way.
Red-capped Manakin- one of many fantastic species in Panama.
“Exotic” is the norm
How about glittering tanagers and hummingbirds?
puffbirds and more.
These are just a few of the normal birds in Panama and most are pretty common!
Qualified guides and infrastructure
To top off the incredible birding experience, a number of excellent, very experienced local guides have been showing clients birds in Panama for many years, especially the Canopy Family. Overall, tourism infrastructure is also good and this of course makes it that much easier and comfortable for birding in Panama.
Seeing more than 300 species during a week of birding is always incredible. In Panama, stay a little longer and a birder can expect well over 400, even 500 plus species because in this incredible bastion of biodiversity, the birds just don’t stop! Prepare for the trip and learn about the birds of Panama with the Panama Birds Field Guide, a full featured digital field guide that requires no Internet for use and includes:
-All of the birds on the Panama list, images for 974 species, vocalizations for 860 species.
-Can be customized with target birds, notes, and other features.
Panama will eventually open back up,when it does, be ready for fantastic, world class birding!