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Canopy Family

November 2015

Featured Bird

Snowy-bellied Hummingbird Carlos Bethancourt Canopy Tower Panama

Snowy-bellied Hummingbird
Amazilia edward

At only 10 cm in length, this small hummer is a stunner!  It is similar to the very common Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, but has a striking contrast between its bright metallic green breast and snow-white belly.  It has a coppery lower back, rump and tail through most of its restricted range; however, individuals in Costa Rica and western Panama have a dark blue rump and tail.  This species is a near endemic to Panama, found only in southwestern Costa Rica through eastern Panama, and is one of the most numerous hummingbirds in Panama.  It can be found in open habitat, scrub and gardens and forest edges of the lowlands and foothills.  It is especially common around the gardens of the Canopy Lodge, and also at the Canopy Tower, Canopy Camp and Canopy Bed & Breakfast.

Focus on Plants

Piper auritum Jerry Harrison Panama

Piper auritum

This species of Piper is best distinguished by its large size!  It grows to be a small tree, 1.5 to 8 meters tall with a trunk diameter of up to 10 cm.  It has huge, heart-shaped leaves up to 55 cm long by 30 cm wide, with an abruptly tapered tip and alternately arranged.  The leaves have a distinct anise-like odor when crushed.  Like other species of Piper, it produces a distinct spike where the flowers and fruits form.  In Cowfoot, the spike is unbranched, up to 30 cm long, and often arches and droops.  Tiny white flowers form on the spike and are pollinated by small bees and beetles.  Fruits are fleshy and are eaten by bats.  Anise Piper can be found in wet forest, secondary growth and edges, as well as open areas in lowlands and foothills throughout its range.  It ranges from Mexico to Ecuador, and can be found in the West Indies.  It is one of the most common species of Piper in its range, and is easily identified by its large leaves and tree-like appearance.

Photo of the Month

Blue-throated Toucanet David Phillips Panama

One of the foothills specialties, David Phillips captured this beautiful Blue-throated Toucanet through his lens during his recent trip to the Canopy Lodge.  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 Blue Cotinga, Green Shrike-Vireo, Short-tailed Nighthawk, Streak-chested Antpitta, and many migrating species including Blackburnian Warbler, Summer Tanager and Common Nighthawk!  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!

Green Shrike-Vireo Panama Rafael Lau

Green Shrike-Vireo at the Canopy Tower, photo by Rafael Lau

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!

A recent review of the Canopy Tower: 

"If you are a birder you MUST come here. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, ditto. It you want piece and quiet with a beautiful view this is your place. Experienced and professional guides that make everyone feel included and at home. Sloths, night monkeys, wooly possums, anteaters, too many birds to count, right outside the window...

- LI, Alabama

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Dear friends, 

It has been a wonderful migration season—we are so fortunate to be located in a place where a majority of North America’s songbirds and raptors pass through to their wintering grounds.  The best part of all is that we get to share it with our guests.  As the weather gets cooler up North, we are gearing up for our high season down here in Panama.  Soon we will be welcoming the breezy days of the dry season, our “summer”.  Overwintering birds from the North along with our year-round residents boost our bird lists during this time of the year.  Join us in Panama for an unforgettable tropical experience!

To entice you even more, we are offering a Christmas special at the Canopy Camp!  Save 20% off our all-inclusive Birds of Canopy Camp Darien birding package, a savings of $668 per person, and celebrate this festive holiday season with us in Panama!

I would like to wish all of our American friends a very happy Thanksgiving, full of good food and great company.

Raul Arias de Para Canopy Family

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

Raul Arias de Para Canopy Family

Raúl Arias de Para - President/Founder

Upcoming Deals

Christmas Canopy Camp DarienPanama Butterfly Tour

Canopy Family News

2015 Raptor Migration Season Wraps Up in Panama

Over 300,000 migrating hawks and vultures have been counted at the Semaphore Hill Hawkwatch.  From October 1 to November 13, Domi, Jenn, Michael and Danilo spent each day on the observation deck of the Canopy Tower counting migrating raptors, a part of a larger migration-monitoring program organized by Panama Audubon and the Hawk Migration Association of North America.  Not only did we enjoy this amazing natural spectacle of seeing sometimes tens of thousands of raptors passing by the Canopy Tower in a day, but also our guests were able to enjoy it as well during their stay this past month.  Panama is one of the largest hawk migration sites in the world, recording over 3 million migrating raptors passing over the Isthmus each fall.  Check out our raptor count summaries for the season here, and consider joining us next year for our Panama’s Hawk Migration Spectacular! tour.

Raptor migration Canopy Tower Panama


Another Great Year at the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival

We love attending festivals, not only for the great opportunity to reach out to all of you but especially we get to see many friends who have visited our lodges in the past and meet those to come in the near future.  Carlos and Evelyn Bethancourt recently attended the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in Harlingen, Texas.  During the 5-day festival, Carlos led three birding walks, presented a talk about Panama’s wonderful birds and wildlife, gave a "Birding in Spanish: presentation to students at Harlingen High School, was part of a panel of bird experts during the festival's "Harlingen Squares" game show, and talked to hundreds of friends who visited our booth during the trade show.  Thank you to all who stopped by, we hope to see you in Panama soon!

RGVBF 2015RGVBF 2015

Recent Guests at Our Lodges

VENT Canopy Camp October 2015VENT Barry Zimmer Canopy Tower PanamaVENT Canopy Lodge November 2015

Barry Zimmer led three VENT tours recently at all three Canopy Family lodges.  First at the Canopy Camp with Domiciano Alveo, then at the Canopy Tower with Carlos Bethancourt in October, and just last week at the Canopy Lodge with Moyo Rodriguez.  All three tours were a blast and a cumulative total of 429 species were seen!  Read the trip reports here: 

Canopy Camp Darien | Canopy Tower

Tropical Biodiversity tour 2015 Panama

The Canopy Family's third annual Introduction to Tropical Biodiversity Tour, with guest scientists Howard Topoff and Carol Simon, was fantastic—so much amazing wildlife was seen during the week at the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge in October.  Read the full trip report here.  Thank you to all who joined us!

Creature Feature

Hourglass Treefrog Jenn Sinasac Panama

Hourglass Treefrog
Dendropsophus ebraccatus

A cute and boldly marked treefrog of the Neotropics, the Hourglass Treefrog gets its name from the hourglass shape on its back.  In fact, this species has four known dorsal patterns: hourglass, triangle, spotted or plain, so the hourglass may not always be a distinguishing feature for this tiny frog.  Reaching only 3.7 cm in length (females being larger than males), this frog of the humid tropical forests from Mexico to northwest Colombia and Ecuador is very adaptable and has some unique behaviors.  It is the only known vertebrate capable of laying its eggs terrestrially or aquatically, depending on the environmental conditions.  The female may lay eggs in clusters on leaves overhanging temporary pools of water, or directly in the water itself.  This behavior is called reproductive mode plasticity.  Eggs will hatch in approximately 3½ days, and tadpoles develop in ponds.  Hourglass Treefrog tadpoles have a unique adaptation to avoid predation.  They have large pigmented areas on their tail and develop bright red coloration when there is an aquatic predator nearby.  Hourglass Treefrogs are arboreal and nocturnal, spending their days in the forest canopy and around ponds during their breeding season, May to November.  They can be found in primary and secondary forest and edges, and in heavily degraded areas as well, as this species is very adaptable.  Hourglass Treefrogs can be found around all of the Canopy Family lodges.

Did you know?  Frogs are disappearing all over the world from a deadly fungus called Chitridomycosis.  Watch this video to find out how Panama is helping to save the world’s frogs.

© Canopy Family