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Canopy Family

June 2015

Canopy Tower TripAdvisorCanopy Lodge TripAdvisor

Featured Bird

Purple-throated Fruitcrow Carlos Bethancourt

Purple-throated Fruitcrow
Querula purpurata

Not a true crow, the Purple-throated Fruitcrow is actually an unusual member of the Cotinga family.  It is medium-sized, 29 cm in length, larger than typical cotingas but not as large as the umbrellabirds and other members of the family.  Purple-throated Fruitcrows are glossy black with a wide, pale bill and wide wings.  Males have a large, magenta-colored throat patch that extends to the sides of their necks, which they flare when calling, and into a full ruff when displaying for females.  Females and immatures are similar to males but lack the purple throat.  Purple-throated Fruicrows are unique among the family because they are social.  They are usually found in groups of 3 to 8 individuals. Groups move around the forest in noisy flocks—calling their melodious “whoops” interspersed with a variety of harsh, gurgling and quacking notes. They eat primarily insects, despite their name—another oddity about this species.  They also eat fruit as their name suggests.  They build conspicuous nests that are attended by the social group and are cooperative breeders, the only cotinga to do so.  They are found in the canopy of lowland humid forests from Mexico south through Bolivia and Brazil.  In Panama, Purple-throated Fruitcrows are found in the lowlands surrounding the Canopy Tower and Canopy Camp.

Focus on Plants

Oncidium stipitatum

Yellow Dancing Lady Orchid
Oncidium stipitatum

The genus Oncidium is a large, recognizable group of tropical orchids, containing approximately 330 species.  The Yellow Dancing Lady Orchid is found in the lowlands of Panama and possibly Colombia.  This medium-sized, epiphytic orchid has small cylindrical pseudo bulbs enveloped by 4-6 papery sheaths and a single, longitudinally grooved, fleshy leaf 24-70 cm long and 1 cm wide.  The inflorescence is beautiful, consisting of a single bloom stake extending horizontally from the base and terminating with many yellow and reddish-brown flowers up to 2.5 cm in length, shaped like a dancing woman wearing a fancy flamenco dress.  This orchid blooms in the dry season (January – April) in the shady lowland rainforests around the Canopy Tower and Canopy Camp Darien.

Pollination: Oncidium stipitatum is pollinated by a bee of the genus Centris.

Photo of the Month

Black-striped Sparrow Doug Hanna

A lovely Black-striped Sparrow sings its clear, melodic song at the Ammo Ponds in Gamboa.  This photo was taken by Doug Hanna during his recent stay at the Canopy Tower.  Click on the photo to view a larger image. 

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Recent Sightings and Trip Reports

In the past month we have had great sightings of Pheasant Cuckoo, Crested and Spectacled owls, Black-crowned Antpitta, Western Pygmy Squirrel, and rarities including Solitary Eagle, Sapayoa and Fasciated Tiger-Heron!  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!

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 are delighted that for 5 years in a row, the Canopy Tower has received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, placing us in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame!  The Canopy Lodge, listed at #1 in specialty lodging in El Valle, also received the Certificate of Excellence for 2015.  Canopy Camp Darien, in the short time we have been open, has also risen to first place in specialty lodging in Darien.  Thank you to all of you, who have visited and contributed your reviews to this great resource, we wouldn’t be here without you!  I am pleased to share a recent review of the Canopy Camp from TripAdvisor:

“One of the exciting things about staying at the Tent Camp is the staff is constantly learning new things about the area. We had two bird guides during our stay, Carlos and Domi, who each got a 'life bird' on one of our walks. Our guides were just as excited and enthusiastic about what we were seeing as we were.”

Our enthusiastic guides and staff work very hard to give our guests exceptional experiences, ones they will never forget!

Raul Arias de Para

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

Raul Arias de Para

Raúl Arias de Para - President/Founder

Canopy Family News

2nd Canopy Family Butterfly Tour a Blast!

With the onset of the rains at the beginning of May, the butterflies across the country become very active as the forests became lush with flowers and vegetation.  May is one of our best months for watching butterflies, so what better than to spend a week in Panama searching for these beautiful insects!  We hosted our 2nd butterfly tour, Panama’s Brilliant Butterflies, May 14-21 at the Canopy Lodge and Canopy Tower with 13 guests from the USA and UK.  Our keen-eyed butterfly-loving participants and guides spotted 228 species during the tour while visiting great natural areas such as Cerro Gaital, Pipeline Road and Altos del Maria.  We are learning more and more about Neotropical butterflies in Panama.  Read the full trip report here.  Our next butterfly tour is August 7-14, 2015; join us for this exciting tour!


Embera Students from Darién Visit Panama City

In Darién, the Embera indigenous people live connected to the rivers and forests, often far from towns and especially, Panama City.  The community of Nuevo Vigia, with a population of approximately 600 people, is located along the Turquesa River, a 30-minute boat ride to the nearest small port town.  Many members have not ventured far from the community during their lifetime.  During a trip to Darién with us, our guests have the opportunity to visit this village and learn about their culture and way of life.

Embera students at Miraflores Locks

On May 30, with the brilliant idea and support of one of our guests at the Canopy Camp earlier this year, we planned and assisted 18 students and 3 adults from the school in Nuevo Vigia on a full-day educational adventure to Panama City.  For most of them, it was their first visit to the big city and first time seeing the Pacific Ocean.  The group visited the new BioMuseo and learned about the formation and biodiversity of Panama, the marine exhibits at Punta Culebra along the Pacific Ocean where they could touch starfish and see tropical marine wildlife, and of course, the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal, an iconic Panama landmark.  We were very happy to be able to host this trip for them, and for the students, it was an unforgettable experience!

Click here for more photos from the trip to Panama City!

Upcoming Deals

Canopy Camp Darien

Contact us to book your Darien adventure!

Recent Guests at Our Lodges

Sally Jue and Raul Arias de ParaSally Jue and Raul Arias de Para

Sally Jue from Florida and Raul took the photo on the left on her first visit to the Canopy Tower in 2008.  This year Sally returned for the butterfly tour, 7 years later, and brought the photo taken on the observation deck of the Tower.  We were able to recreate the photo in 2015, can you see any differences?

Creature Feature

Neotropical Green Anole Jerry & Linda Harrison

Neotropical Green Anole
Anolis biporcatus

This diurnal lizard stands out from all other anoles by its larger size and bright green coloration, often with pale blue spots.  It has a white throat and belly, and a ring of yellow scales around its orange eyes.  The Neotropical Green Anole has a long, pointed head, powerful jaws and short limbs.  Its body length is 8-10 cm long, with a long, slender tail that may be twice the length of the body, up to 30 cm total!  In juveniles, the tail is banded.  Some individuals show a small crest on the back of the head.  Anoles have a dewlap—a flap of skin that can be extended beneath the jaw and throat to communicate with other anoles.  In males, the dewlap is small and red with a pale blue center; in females, it is small and light blue with white scales, distinguishing the sexes in this species.  Neotropical Green Anoles live in lowland to foothills forest.  They are solitary and infrequently encountered, in part due to their excellent camouflage.  Individuals are usually encountered fairly close to the ground (1-3 m off the ground) on tree trunks or vegetation, but they are very good climbers and have been seen in the tall canopy as well.  They eat invertebrates including beetles and spiders, and occasionally small fruits.  The Neotropical Green Anole can be found throughout Central America into northwestern South America, and can be seen at all of our Canopy Family lodges. 

Did you know?  Like some other members of the family Dactyloidae, this anole can change the intensity and shades of its color and markings to mottled green-brown based on its mood and aiding in camouflage.

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