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Canopy Family

July 2014

Featured Bird

White-tipped Sicklebill

White-tipped Sicklebill
Eutoxeres aquila

With its extraordinarily down-curved bill, the White-tipped Sicklebill is truly a memorable bird!  That unusual, nearly 90° curved bill is perfect for reaching into the curved flowers of Heliconia plants.  This medium-sized hermit has bronzy dark-green upperparts, heavily streaked underparts and white tips on the end of its tail feathers.  They forage low in humid foothills and premontane forest, along forest edges and streams, and are often found near Heliconia patches.  They will often perch on flowers to feed, rather than hover.  When perched, they often hold their head and bill slightly upward.  Like other hermits, males sing in small leks and are polygynous; males take no part in building the nest, incubation or raising the chicks.  Females attach their nests to the underside of Heliconia or banana leaves overhanging streams, and typically raise two chicks per clutch.  White-tipped Sicklebills range from Costa Rica to Peru, and are found regularly in the highlands above the Canopy Lodge and in Cerro Azul. 

Did you know?  Like all hermits, White-tipped Sicklebills are “trap-liners”; rather than defending a territory, they fly long routes in the forest to visit their favorite plants, sometimes up to 1 kilometer!

Focus on Plants

West Indian Tufted Airplant

West Indian Tufted Airplant
Guzmania monostachia

The West Indian Tufted Airplant is a lovely bromeliad (family Bromeliaceae) of the Caribbean, Central and South America.  It grows 15-45 cm (6-18 in.) tall and lives its life as an epiphyte—growing above the ground attached to other plants (particularly tree branches and tree trunks).   It is a “tank bromeliad”, meaning it can store water in a receptacle formed by the bases of their long, rigid bright green leaves.  Its conspicuous, cone-like inflorescence has a bright red tip in which little white flowers emerge from the scales.  It is pollinated by nectar-feeding birds such as hummingbirds and honeycreepers.  The West Indian Tufted Airplant can be found in humid tropical and subtropical forests, and is very common in the gardens and forests surrounding our lodges. 

Cool Fact!  Tank bromeliads are very important in the lives of certain animals—frogs & tadpoles, insects, spiders, worms, salamanders and even crabs have been found in the tanks—creating their own micro-ecosystem.

Photo of the Month

Spectacled Owl by John Bowman

John Bowman took this photo of a fluffy Spectacled Owl fledgling near the Canopy Lodge during our Tamarin Tour with his family in June.  For John's entertaining trip report, click here.  Click on the photo for a larger image. 

Recent Sightings and Trip Reports

In the past month we have had great sightings of Harpy Eagle, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, Speckled Mourner, and Collared Forest-Falcon!  Check out more recent sightings and trip reports for the amazing birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies seen around the Canopy Tower, Canopy Lodge and the new Canopy Camp Darien.

Canopy Tower TripAdvisor

Share Your Experience with Us!

Have you stayed with us lately?  We would love to hear from you! We welcome you to post your comments and experiences on TripAdvisor.  Visit our TripAdvisor pages for the Canopy Tower, Canopy Lodge, Canopy Camp and Canopy B&B.  If you haven't visited us yet, check out what others are saying!

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Greetings from the Canopy...

Dear Friends, 

We soccer fans here in Panama have been mingling our time birding with watching the World Cup!  Now that all that excitement is over, we can look forward to more upcoming special tours and great birding, as always.  With the lazy days of summer upon us, it is a great time to start thinking about holidays for the upcoming months and year to come, so consider Panama in your travel plans. We still have great deals available for 2014!  

To reach out to more of you, we have created a new Twitter page, where we are now posting more sightings, photos and links of interest.  Follow us @canopyfamily!  

Raul Arias de Para

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


Raúl Arias de Para - President/Founder

Canopy Family News

Calling All Butterfly Lovers!

Stoll's Sarota

Many birders and naturalists also draw a keen eye to other wildlife in their path; butterflies have that grace, beauty and present the same attraction to us as birds do.  Identifiable, challenging and enjoyable to watch, butterflies have become very popular!  Hundreds of species have been recorded in Panama alone, from tiny hairstreaks to iridescent morphos.  Our biologists and guides have created a new tour to offer at the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge, Panama's Brilliant Butterflies.

This tour will debut December 14-21, 2014, guided by our resident butterfly expert Tino Sanchez.  Informative talks, visits to many different habitats in foothills cloud forest and lowland rainforest, and the possibility to see hundreds of tropical butterfly species await you!  For more information and a detailed itinerary, click here.  Spaces are limited so contact us now to book your spot.

Featured Tour: Introduction to Tropical Biodiversity

Glass frog eggs

Tropical ecosystems are extremely diverse in comparison to their temperate counterparts.  Introduction to Tropical Biodiversity focuses on the biological diversity—birds, trees, mammals, insects, plants, fungi, amphibians & reptiles—of two tropical forest ecosystems.  Based at the Canopy Camp and the Canopy Lodge, explore lowland forest and cloud forest with our guest scientists, Dr. Howard Topoff and Dr. Carol Simon, formerly of the American Museum of Natural History and the City University of New York, as they share their extensive knowledge about tropical biodiversity.  Their entertaining evening presentations will further complement what is seen in the forest.  Contact us for more information and to book your spot, as spaces are limited.

Rebekah Mayhew and Tom Lawrence, researchers from the University of Stirling in Scotland, conducted a morning of canopy bird surveys from the observation deck of the Canopy Tower on June 25.  While studying birds at ground level is well-defined, methods for studying canopy species are not as efficient.  Tom hopes to test the existing methods as well as new ones for the study of canopy species.  They spent the morning with us to set up their preliminary surveys, taking audio and visual data.

Bird researchers at Canopy Tower

Recent Guests at Our Lodges

Kingsolver Family at Canopy Lodge

Highly-acclaimed author Barbara Kingsolver (second from left) and her family stayed at the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge in late June.  Here they are enjoying the veranda and the bird feeders at the Canopy Lodge.  

Creature Feature

Orion Cecropian

Orion Cecropian
Historis odius

The Orion Cecropian is an eye-catching butterfly and a wonderful mascot to promote our upcoming new butterfly tour!  This captivating, large butterfly has a wingspan of 11 cm (4 in.) and calls attention with its bright orange upperparts when flying.  However, at rest, they fold their wings up, revealing their leaf-like brown underside, even showing a vertical line reminiscent of the vein of a leaf, providing excellent camouflage.  They are very closely associated with cecropia trees—from laying their eggs on its leaves to perching high on its branches.  From the treetops they fly down to the ground to feed on fermenting forest fruits, earning this species the nickname “Stinky Leafwing”.  Males are attracted to rocky overhangs, riverbanks and muddy wallows to pick up dissolved minerals in the water.  Keep an eye out for this common butterfly at eye level from the observation deck of the Canopy Tower, and at the fruit feeders at the Canopy Lodge and Canopy Camp. 

Strange defenses: The larval caterpillars produce frass-chains, which they dangle off the edges of cecropia leaves where they are resting to avoid being eaten by the resident Azteca ants.

Sneak peek at next month's Canopy Family newsletter...

Here's a clue to next month's featured bird... who am I??  

Stumped?  Visit our Canopy Family Flickr Photostream and browse our photos for this upcoming featured bird!

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