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Canopy Family

July 2013

Certificate of Excellence 2013

Featured Bird

Spectacled Owl
Pulsatrix perspicillata

The Spectacled Owl is nothing short of impressive!  This large, “earless” owl is up to 50 cm in length and has a wingspan close to 1 meter!  It has chocolate brown plumage with a buff-colored belly and white facial markings surrounding its large yellow eyes, resembling “spectacles”.  Juveniles have conspicuous white downy heads with a heart-shaped black mask.  This owl is largely nocturnal, and feeds on a wide variety of birds and mammals, up to the size of opossums.  Its call is a distinct, pulsating “Pup-pup-pup-pup-pup-pu”.  This wide-ranging resident is found from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, and on Trinidad & Tobago.  It is common in the lowlands and foothills of Panama, and is seen and heard from the Canopy Tower, Canopy Lodge and Canopy Camp Darien.  These beautiful photos of adult and juvenile Spectacled Owls were taken in El Valle by Canopy Tower & Lodge guest Frank Golding in May.  

Did you know?  Spectacled Owls have very few predators, and can live up to 35 years in the wild!

Focus on Plants

Shingle Plant
Monstera dubia

The Shingle Plant is an herbaceous creeping vine in the Arum family, Araceae.  It gets its name from the “shingling” behavior exhibited by its young leaves, in which it lies flat against the surface of a tree.  As it grows, it changes its leaf shape and growth habit.  It starts to develop marge, perforated leaves and no longer shingles.  Mature leaves are dark green, broad and very large, up to 130 cm long and 75 cm wide, hence the name Monstera!  Leaves often have natural holes in the blades.  It uses aerial roots to climb trees and roots that grow into the soil to support the vine, and Monstera dubia can grow up to 20 m in height – it truly is a jungle monster!  Its flowers grow on a special inflorescence called a spadix, characteristic of this family, and can grow up to 45 cm in length.  Its fruit is a cluster of white berries.  Keep an eye out for this ‘monstruous’ plant and its unique young shingles on your walks through the forests around the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge.

Photo of the Month

Bob Bond took this photo of a snoozing Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth and a Collared Aracari from his room window at the Canopy Tower in early July.  Click on the photo for larger image! 

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Greetings from the Canopy...

Dear Friends,

One of the many "tools" we use to reach all of you, our friends, is our website.  We endeavor to keep it up to date with recent sightings, trip reports, comprehensive species lists and much more.  We are very proud of our website and hope that you enjoy all that it has to offer.  

We are excited to annouce that we are offering a SPECIAL 8-night all-inclusive nature package, Introduction to Tropical Biodiversity, November 6-14, 2013.  This special, one-time only tour will feature the wealth of knowledge of two guest scientists, Dr. Howard Topoff and Dr. Carol Simon, from the prestigious American Museum of Natural History in New York, who will be joining us in Panama for this special tour!  Furthermore, they will entertain us each evening of the tour with informative multimedia presentations about tropical environments.  Please join us for this exciting tour!

We have also just heard from TripAdvisor that the Canopy Tower has received the 2013 Certificate of Excellence, for the second year in a row!  Congratulations to our loyal and dedicated staff and to our wonderful guests!  We strive to provide exceptional hospitality and personal attention to each and every one of our guests.  This could not have been achieved without your inspiring reviews – thank you and we love hearing from you all!


   Best wishes, and I hope to see
   you here in Panama soon,


Raúl Arias de Para - President/Founder

Canopy Tower Family News

A "Nose-to-Beak" Experience with a Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle

On July 4th, Canopy Tower guide Carlos Bethancourt and the Cheepers! Birding on a Budget group were invited for a special visit to Summit Municipal Park to meet a young Harpy Eagle that just arrived to the park at the end of June.  The group thoroughly enjoyed the talk by the park's Director, Nestor Correa, and the "behind-the-scenes" tour.  In addition to the Harpy Eagle, the group met a Black Hawk-Eagle, young Gray Foxes, baby sloths and a tamandua, who stole everyone's hearts!  Canopy Tower Family is now building relations with Summit Park to support their rehabilitation and education programs for the protection of animals in Panama.  Read more about this exciting visit here.

Kenn & Kimberly Kaufman visit the Canopy Tower & Lodge!

This month we welcomed special guests Kenn & Kimberly Kaufman, who visited the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge with the Cheepers! tour.  This dynamic duo of the birding world has entertained us through various field guides, books, events and more.  This is their first time in Panama, so we wanted to show them the best of the best!  They thoroughly enjoyed their visit, and wrote these kind words on July 1st: 

"Hello Raul, I'm writing to you from the Canopy Tower, and I would give it a Certificate of World's-Most-Excellent!  This is probably the most wonderful birding lodge that I have ever visited, in all my travels on all seven continents. Congratulations and thank you for your vision!" -- Kenn Kaufman

Kenn and Kimberly will be writing about and posting photos from their trip with us on their facebook page and their blog, Birding with Kenn and Kimberly.  

Creature Feature

Mantled Howler
Alouatta palliata

Our largest (and loudest!) monkey!  Mantled Howlers are large, diurnal arboreal monkeys with a strong prehensile tail.  They are predominantly black in color with a fringe of golden guard hairs along the sides of their body, giving them the name “mantled”.  Mantled Howlers live and travel in family groups, normally of 10-20 members.  Howler monkeys are well-named for their loud, bellowing call, a characteristic sound in the lowland forests of the Americas.  An enlarged hyoid bone in their vocal chamber allows them to produce these amplified calls, and a male howler’s hyoid bone is 25 times larger than that of the similarly-sized Spider Monkey!  Mantled Howlers range from southern Mexico to western Colombia and Ecuador, and are commonly seen along Pipeline Road and throughout the forests surrounding the Canopy Tower.  Their early morning "wake up" roar is one of the Canopy Tower guests' favorite memories!

Howler Monkey

Did you know?  Mantled Howlers are the most folivorous of the Central American monkeys, meaning they eat large quantities of leaves (50-75% of their diet).  Leaves are difficult to digest and do not provide a lot of energy, so Mantled Howlers spend the majority of their time resting, sleeping and howling!

© Canopy Family