PANAMA: WORLD-CLASS BIRDWATCHING

The birds of Panama make up approximately 10% of the world’s known birds.

Most are permanent residents, observable throughout the year.

Some notable birds of Panama include:

  • Golden-headed Quetzals (Pharomachrus auriceps)
  • Resplendent Quetzals (Pharomachrus mocinno)
  • 3 Species of Albatross
  • 8 Species of Toucan
A black yellow and crimson Toucan with a huge yellow and red beak, spotted in a tree while Birding in Panama's Pico Bonito
  • 5 Species of Macaw
Two red, colorful birds (scarlet Macaws) flying side-by-side in Panama's Coiba National Park
  • 59 species of Hummingbird
A green and yellow Canivets Emerald bird perched on a branch, spotted on a birdwatching expedition in Roatan Honduras

We wrote this free guide to the birds of Panama to help you plan your next birding expedition.

Gray Aracari toucan with neon green, red, yellow and orange accents on its belly, spotted on a birdwatching tour in Panama

Birding Paradise

World-class birding locations lie within easy reach of Panama City.

Among these are Pipeline Road, the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, Soberania National Park, and Chagres National Park.

Away from Panama’s capital, other prime birdwatching locations include:

  • La Amistad International Park
  • Sendero de los Quetzales
  • Darien National Park

Each of these destinations is home to a wide variety of the Birds of Panama, along with many other species of observable wildlife.

La Amistad International Park

 

Located on the border of Panama and Costa Rica, La Amistad protects 850 square miles of cloud forest, rainforest, and lowland habitat. La Amistad is home to many birds, tapirs, monkeys, and brilliantly colored frogs. Privately guided day hikes can be arranged to the La Cascada waterfall and panoramic lookout points.

Bright blue red-legged honeycreeper bird with black mask and wings, one of the many Birds of Panama
Red-legged Honeycreeper

La Amistad Heritage Park is home to 219 of the birds of Panama. Located in the Chiriqui Province of Western Panama, many birders head to La Amistad in search of the Resplendent Quetzal.

Beyond the Resplendent Quetzal, birders in La Amistad can encounter a number of the other birds of Panama, including the:

  • Flame-throated Warbler
  • Sooty-capped Chlorospingus
  • Red-headed Barbet
  • Tufted and Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher
  • Chiriqui Quail-Dove
  • Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch
  • White-fronted Tyrannulet
  • Black-faced Solitaire
  • Yellow-thighed Finch
  • Golden-browed Chlorophonia

Getting to La Amistad typically requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle. The terrain here can be rough and guides are recommended.

Bright green hummingbird with orange chest spotted birding in Panama

Birding in Sendero de los Quetzales

The Sendero de los Quetzales—a six-mile trail from Boquete to Cerro Punta—is also located in the Chiriqui Province, on the northern slopes of the Baru Volcano.

Over 225 birds of Panama have been identified on this trail.

Some of the species found along this popular Panama birdwatching destination include:

  • Prong-billed Barbet
  • Scintillant Hummingbird
  • Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush
  • Black and Yellow Silky-Flycatcher
  • Yellow Flycatcher
  • Slaty Spinetail

True to its name, Sendero de los Quetzales represents yet another region of Panama where lucky birders can spot the Resplendent Quetzal.

Waterfall surrounded by dense green forest in Darien National Park in Panama

Birdwatching in Darien

In Panama’s far east, Darien National Park is both the largest national park in Central America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Its territory covers over 2,200 square miles, protecting mangrove swamps, mountains, lowland rainforests and Pacific beaches. More than 450 of Panama’s avian species have been observed at Darien.

Birdwatchers visiting Darien can encounter a wide array of the birds of Panama there, including the:

  • Golden-green Woodpecker
  • Rufous-winged Antwren
  • Bare-crowned Antbird
  • Plumbeous Hawk
  • Spectacled Owl
  • Tody Motmot
  • Crested Eagle
  • Barred Puffbird
  • Rufescent Tiger-heron
  • Tawny-breasted Flycatcher

Darien can be accessed by air and river. Experienced guides are a necessity.

Lush green coast and caribbean blue water on the edge of Darien national park in Panama

Want information on other great birding destinations? With 20 Islands and over 50 islets, the Galapagos Archipelago is home to 45 endemic bird species!

Find out more in our free Galapagos Islands guides here:

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS & SPECIES

GALAPAGOS SAFARI CAMP

GALAPAGOS YACHT CHARTERS

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