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Canopy Family

June 2013

Featured Bird

American Pygmy Kingfisher

American Pygmy Kingfisher
Chloroceryle aenea

Our smallest kingfisher!  The tiny American Pygmy Kingfisher is 13 cm long beak to tail, and weighs only 18 grams, making it the smallest kingfisher in the Americas.   This species can be identified best by its small size, green head and back, buffy collar and rufous breast.  Females have a green bar across their breast.  As their name suggests, they eat small fish and tadpoles in forest streams; they plunge into the streams to grab their prey with their long beak.  They range from Mexico south through the entire Amazon basin.  Like other kingfishers, they nest in burrows excavated in exposed banks.  Due to their small size and quiet nature, they can be difficult to find; however, the American Pygmy Kingfisher can be found perched at low levels alongside shaded streams in the forests surrounding the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge.

Focus on Plants

Jungle Cucumber
Gurania tubulosa

The Jungle Cucumber is a woody vine (liana) found in lowland and premontane wet forests of Costa Rica and Panama.  Clusters of orange tubular flowers are the most distinguishing feature of this plant, and stem right off the corky vine.  The conspicuous flowers are attractive to birds and butterflies, and bloom throughout the year.  On the other hand, the fruits are rarely seen.  Oblong, 4-5 cm in length and resembling pickles, they are known to be eaten by bats and birds.  The flowers can be found in the understory of the forest, whereas the leaves and fruits are often out of sight in the canopy.  The Jungle Cucumber is common throughout the lowland and foothill forests surrounding the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge.

Photo of the Month

This photo of a male Fasciated Antshrike was snapped along Pipeline Road by Canopy B&B guest Julie Jolk early this June.  Click on photo for larger image!  

Recent mammal highlights include Western Night Monkeys, Greater Grison, Tayra, Collared Peccary and Rothschild's Porcupine!  Check out more recent sightings and trip reports for the amazing birds, mammals, reptiles & amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies seen around the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge!

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Greetings from the Canopy...

Dear Friends,

Hello once again from Panama, we hope that everyone is having a great year so far!  As our year progresses, we are looking forward to growing our "Family" with positive changes to make a visit to the eco-lodges of the Canopy Tower Family even better, including itinerary improvements, new features and even a new eco-lodge in one of the most biologically diverse areas of the Americas!  Please check our website as it will be regularly updated.  

Progress is booming at Canopy Camp Darien, and as construction moves along we are getting closer to being able to bring our guests to this special eco-lodge.  I invite you to view recent photos of the camp on our Flickr page, and stay tuned for more updates.  

There is still space in our Green Season Last Minute Deal this month, take advantage of great savings and great birding!

Raul Arias de Para

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


Raúl Arias de Para - President/Founder

Canopy Tower Family News


New Reusable Canteens!

In our efforts to reduce plastics, specifically our consumption of plastic water bottles, we have introduced these snazzy new Klean Kanteen 18-oz stainless-steel water bottles, branded with our logo!  We understand that removing plastics completely from our activities is very difficult, but we are determined to do whatever we can to lower our waste signature, one step at a time.  We encourage all of our guests to use reusable water bottles, or refill their plastic water bottles.  These eco-friendly, durable bottles are now for sale in our gift shop at the Canopy Tower.  Choose from Classic Loop Cap (shown) or Sports Cap.  We hope you can support our endeavor to reduce plastics for the environment of our beautiful country and planet, and practice it in your daily lives.

Many happy birders and guests have stayed at the Canopy Tower, Canopy Lodge and Canopy B&B lately.  Here is a photo of guests Dirk Rimmelspacher and friend, from Germany, who recently spent two nights at the Canopy Lodge.  

Creature Feature

Green-and-black Poison Dart Frog

Green-and-Black Poison Dart Frog
Dendrobates auratus

This small terrestrial frog, rarely over 4 cm in length, is easily recognizable by its bright coloration of black and green.  In Panama, they are predominantly black with rounded spots and curves of mint green.  In other areas of their range, from southern Nicaragua to western Colombia, they may show much more green or even blue!    These warning colorations indicate to potential predators that they are toxic and should not be eaten.  The Poison Dart Frogs have long been used by local people in Central and South America to provide the potent poison, which comes from their skin, for their hunting weapons.  It is believed that these frogs acquire their poison from their diet, and particularly from the alkaloids they obtain when they eat ants.  Although toxic and able to make a person ill, they do not pose a large threat to humans.  This pretty little frog is found on the forest floor in the humid lowland forests surrounding the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge, and is particularly abundant at the Canopy Camp Darien, where this photo was taken.  

Did you know?  Poison Dart Frogs, particularly the males, show a high degree of parental care.  Males tend to the eggs when they are laid on the ground, carry newly hatched tadpoles on their backs into the canopy and deposit them in stagnant water in a bromeliad or tree-hole, sometimes up to 30 meters into the canopy!  Here the tadpoles develop, and during this stage, the male attentively visits until they gain independence, between 6 and 12 weeks of age.  Let's hear it for Poison Dart Frog dads this Father's Day!

© Canopy Family