Jan 1, 2010
One of Panama’s major attractions for the birder is its large number of regional and national endemics. Panama has 107 regional endemics, that is, species with a total world range of less than 50,000 km2 and that qualify as restricted-range species under the definition of BirdLife International. Birdlife International has identified more than 200 “Endemic Bird Areas” throughout the world, in which two or more restricted-range species occur together, as well as “Secondary Areas,” in which only one restricted-range species occurs. Panama includes parts of five such Endemic Bird Areas, plus one Secondary Area:
- Central American Caribbean Slope (Atlantic slope lowlands from Honduras to Panama)
Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, Lattice-tailed Trogon, Rufous-winged Woodpecker, Black-crowned Antpitta, Snowy Cotinga, Gray-headed Piprites, Black-throated Wren, Sulphur-rumped Tanager, Black-and-yellow Tanager, Nicaraguan Seed-Finch.
- Costa Rica and Panama Highlands (Highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama)
Black Guan, Black-breasted Wood-Quail, Chiriqui Quail-Dove, Buff-fronted Quail-Dove, Sulphur-winged Parakeet, Red-fronted Parrotlet, Bare-shanked Screech-Owl, Dusky Nightjar, Black-bellied Hummingbird, White-tailed Emerald, White-bellied Mountain-Gem, Fiery-throated Hummingbird, Magenta-throated Woodstar, Volcano Hummingbird, Glow-throated Hummingbird, Scintillant Hummingbird, Orange-bellied Trogon, Prong-billed Barbet, Ruddy Treerunner, Streak-breasted Treehunter, Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Black-capped Flycatcher, Golden-bellied Flycatcher, Dark Pewee, Ochraceous Pewee, Bare-throated Umbrellabird, Silvery-throated Jay, Ochraceous Wren, Timberline Wren, Black-faced Solitaire, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Sooty Thrush, Black-and-Yellow Silky-Flycatcher, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Yellow-winged Vireo, Flame-throated Warbler, Collared Redstart, Black-cheeked Warbler, Wrenthrush, Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager, Blue-and-gold Tanager, Black-thighed Grosbeak, Sooty-faced Finch, Yellow-thighed Finch, Yellow-green Finch, Large-footed Finch, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Peg-billed Finch, Volcano Junco.
- South Central American Pacific Slope (Pacific slope lowlands of Costa Rica and Panama)
Brown-backed Dove, Azuero Parakeet, Purplish-backe Quail-Dove, White-crested Coquette, Garden Emerald, Charming Hummingbird, Veraguan Mango, Baird’s Trogon, Fiery-billed Aracari, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Coiba Spinetail, Black-hooded Antshrike, Orange-collared Manakin, Turquoise Cotinga, Yellow-billed Cotinga, Riverside Wren, Spot-crowned Euphonia.
- Darién Lowlands (Lowlands of eastern Panama and western Colombia)
Chocó Tinamou, Garden Emerald, Dusky-backed Jacamar, Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker, Speckled Antshrike, Black-crowned Antpitta, Yellow-green Tyrannulet, Black-billed Flycatcher, Viridian Dacnis, Sulphur-rumped Tanager, Black-and-yellow Tanager, Black Oropendola.
- Darién Highlands (Highlands of eastern Panama and extreme western Colombia)
Tacarcuna Wood-Quail, Russet-crowned Quail-Dove, Bare-shanked Screech-Owl, Violet-capped Hummingbird, Rufous-cheeked Hummingbird, Beautiful Treerunner, Tacarcuna Tapaculo, Choco Tapaculo, Varied Solitaire, Pirre Warbler, Green-naped Tanager, Yellow-collared Chlorophonia, Blue-and-gold Tanager, Tacarcuna Bush-Tanager, Pirre Bush-Tanager, Sooty-faced Finch.
- Isla Escudo de Veraguas Secondary Area
Panama also has an additional 12 national endemics, species that have so far been found only within Panama’s borders. Some of these probably occur in Colombia as well, but definite records are lacking.
Like all members of its genus, the Brown-backed is a terrestrial dove of forest and woodland. It is closely related to the Gray-headed Dove (L. plumbiceps), and it has been treated as geographic race of that species. The Brown-backed Dove has an overall brighter coloration: chestnut back, more pinkish breast and brownish gray cheeks. The Brown-backed is found in the forested areas on the southern part of the Azuero peninsula, and has two races: L.b. battyi found only in Coiba Island and L. b. malae on the mainland. They live and feed on the ground, usually alone, but sometimes in pairs or in small flocks. When flushed they often fly to a low perch in the undergrowth. Often they stand motionless, which makes them difficult to see in the shadowed forest floor.
The Azuero Parakeet was discovered in 1979 by Francisco Delgado and named after Panama’s most distinguished native ornithologist, Eugene Eisenmann of the American Museum of Natural History. It was originally believed to be a subspecies of the South American Painted Parakeet (P. picta), and until recently its specific status remained uncertain. It is more common on the humid forests of the Southwestern Azuero Peninsula, like Cerro Hoya National Park, but it’s also been reported from the potreros around Cañas, Los Santos.
This hummingbird prefers pastures and stream edges in open areas, where it can get cover in the low trees, and has been found on the Pacific slope from Chiriqui to Cocle, with two specimens and recent sightings in the Canal Area. The male is metallic green above with a bright green breast turning blue on the throat. The female is similar above but has a snowy white breast with a broad greenish-blue stripe on its center. Both have purplish-brown tails, the female’s tipped with white. The Veraguan Mango was previously treated as a subspecies of the widely distributed Green-breasted Mango (A. prevostii), but is treated as a different species in the sixth supplement to the sixth edition of the A.O.U. Check-list of North American Birds.
This species, restricted to tiny Escudo de Veraguas Island off the Caribbean coast of Veraguas,has one of the smallest ranges of any species. Until recently, it was considered as a subspecies of the more widely distributed Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (A. tzacatl). Escudo Hummingbirds are larger, and generally darker, than Rufous-taileds, which are not found on the island.
This small hummingbird resembles other members of its genus in its straight, short bill. The male is greenish above, the chest is white and the vent is grayish speckled with green. Its gorget varies from bright reddish-pink to violet-red. The female’s throat is light buff speckled with brown and the vent is whitish, buffy on the flanks and vent. The Glow-throated Hummingbird is found on clearings and forest edges on the highlands of Veraguas and Eastern Chiriqui.
This ovenbird closely resembles the Rusty-backed Spinetail (C. vulpina) of South America. It is russet-brown on the back with a white troat and grayish vent.The sides of the head are brownish and it has narrow buff superciliaries. The Coiba Spinetail is found only on Coiba Island, where it is fairly common inside the forest. They are mainly arboreal and prefer dense tangles of vines and leaves where it forages singly or in pairs, climbing through the denser cover rather than over the more open branches.
This very rare furnariid is found on the forested highlands of Darién. Its back is plain brown, with rufous on the wings and tail. It has cream-colored superciliaries, eye-ring and stripes on the cheeks. The throat is whitish and the brown breast is speckled with pale-yellow spots edged with black. The Beautiful Treerunner resembles the Pearled Treerunner (M. squamiger) of the Northern Andes, but is a duller redish-brown above and has smaller spots on the breast. It forages at all levels, climbing the trunks and branches like a Woodcreeper. It is found alone or with mixed flocks with other furnariids or warblers.
Along with the Rufous-winged Woodpecker (P. simplex) of western Panama, the Stripe-cheeked used to be treated as a subspecies of the South American White-throated Woodpecker (P. leucolaemus), but the sixth supplement to the sixth edition of the AOU Checklist of North American Birds treats them as three different species. The Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker is similar to the Rufous-winged, but its throat is barred and has a white streak on the side of the head. The crown, nape and malar stripe are bright red in the male, and the breast is speckled with white. It is usually found alone or in pairs, working quietly over the trunks of trees in dense forest in the foothills of Eastern Panama.
This small flycatcher is found only in the forest canopy on the central and eastern parts of the isthmus. It is olive above and yellowish below, with broad white eye-rings. It is found singly or with mixed flocks of warblers and other small flycatchers. It perches very horizontally with its tail cocked, and sometimes flicks up one wing at a time, or droops both of them.
This tanager is found on on forest and forest edges in the higlands of Darien. It resembles the Spangle-cheeked Tanager (T. dowii) of the western highlands but the spot on the nape is green, and the spangles on the cheeks and breast are edged in blue. Like other Tanagers, the Green-naped is mainly frugivorous and often forages with mixed flocks.
Like other Bush-Tanagers, this is a bird of the highland forests, and is found only in eastern Darien. It is quite small, its head is dark gray and the rest of the upperparts are dark olive. It is greenish yellow below, brighter on the breast. The color of the iris ranges from cream white to pale yellow, and are very conspicuous. The Pirre Bush-Tanager is a very active bird of the canopy, and often forages with mixed flocks with other fruit-eating species.
This finch is found on forest edges in the highlands of Eastern Chiriqui and Veraguas. It is olive overall, more yellowish on the breast, with black head, wings and tail. The bright yellow thighs are very conspicuous. It closely resembles the Yellow-thighed Finch (P. tibialis) found on the highlands of Western Chiriqui.