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Canopy Family

September 2013

Featured Bird

Gartered Trogon
Trogon caligatus

Trogons are small to medium-sized birds found in tropical regions around the globe.  They are brightly-colored birds with plump bodies, large heads, short stout bills and long, squared-off tails.  The male Gartered Trogon has a dark blue head, neck and breast, and green back; the female has a gray head, wings and back.  Both male and female have a bright yellow underside, a bold yellow eye-ring, and black and white barring on the underside of the tail.  They feed on insects and fruit, which they snatch and swallow with their broad bills.  They nest in termite mounds, and during the breeding season, trogons can be found excavating and nesting in these protective homes.  Despite their bright plumage and conspicuous call, they sit rather motionless in the understory and forest edges surrounding the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge.

Where is this bird in my book?  The Gartered Trogon was formerly known as the Violaceous Trogon, and recently split from the Violaceous Trogon of the Amazon Basin.  Our bird books are not yet up-to-date with their new name!

Focus on Plants

Palicourea guianensis

Known as “Recaito” in Spanish and “Showy Cappel” in English, Palicourea guianensis is a flowering shrub in the family Rubiaceae, the coffee family.  It has glossy, dark green leaves that are conspicuously veined.  Odorless flowers, 12-18 cm long, form at the terminal ends of the stems, have red stalks and many orange-yellow tubular buds, which open at the tips.  Recaito flowers from May to July, and are pollinated by hummingbirds.  Fruits are small and round, deep purple to black in color, and are present from June to October.  Their seeds are dispersed by fruit-eating birds such as tanagers.  This shrub grows tall, from 2-4 meters in height.  This species is common in lowland and premontane tropical wet forests across Panama, and is common in the vicinities of the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge.

Photo of the Month

This Black Hawk-Eagle was released from the Observation Deck of the Canopy Tower on August 31, after 2 months of care at Summit Park.  Read more about the release here.  Photo by Canopy Tower guide Michael Castro.  Click on photo for larger image.  

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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 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, 

For years now I have had a dream to open a special place in Darién, the far eastern reaches of my country, the most biologically diverse area of Central America.  After many visits and much planning, the new Canopy Camp Darien is well into its construction and coming along nicely.  I am excited to announce that we have launched our website for Canopy Camp Darien, and are ready to start taking bookings for 2014!  We have put together a very special 7-night all-inclusive "The Birds of Canopy Camp Darien" birding package that offers the best of the best for eastern Panama.

Canopy Camp Darien

Check out this new section of our website for information about Darién, the Camp, history of the Canopy Camp, rates, FAQs, photos and more, and we hope you can join us at Canopy Camp Darien!

With the addition of the Canopy Camp and as we continue to grow, we have made the decision to change our name to "Canopy Family".  This was not an easy decision to make, as the Canopy Tower itself is a large part of our identity, but we feel we now have built a "family" of ecolodges, all unique in their own ways, and have much more to offer.  Thanks to God we are blessed with loyal, dedicated employees and valued guests over the years, or else this dream would not have been possible.  Thank-you and we hope you all enjoy the change!

Carlos Bethancourt will be at the 2013 Midwest Birding Symposium in Lakeside, Ohio, September 19-22; if you're in the area, stop in and say hello!  


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


Raúl Arias de Para - President/Founder

Canopy Family News

Featured Tour: Introduction to Tropical Biodiversity
November 6-14, 2013

Red-eyed Treefrog

Looking for a great opportunity to learn about tropical biodiversity where tropical nature surrounds you?  Featuring guest scientists, Dr. Howard Topoff and Dr. Carol Simon, formerly of the American Museum of Natural History and the City University of New York, this special tour offers a unique experience in the forests surrounding the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge.  During the day, we will explore the various habitats in search for plants and animals of all kinds; each evening, we will be entertained by interesting multimedia presentations by our guest scientists to complement what was observed in the forest, everything from birds to butterflies, from monkeys to frogs.  Click here for more information, and join us for this special, one-time-only, all-inclusive nature package in Panama!

Recent Guests at our Lodges

James Currie at the Canopy B&BVictor Emanuel at Canopy Lodge

James Currie at the Canopy B&B; Victor Emanuel, Raul & Denise during the "hard-hat tour" at Panama's new Bio-Museo.

This green season we have welcomed some well-known guests to our lodges.  James Currie, host of Nikon's Birding Adventures TV recently stayed at the Canopy B&B in Gamboa, and Victor Emanuel, founder of Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT) visited the Canopy Tower and Lodge on his "busman's holiday", where of course, he went birding!  

Creature Feature

Yellow-edged Giant Owl Butterfly

Yellow-edged Giant Owl Butterfly
Caligo atreus

The Yellow-edged Giant Owl Butterfly is a large, striking butterfly common to the forests of Central and South America, from Mexico to Peru.  They have wide wings, with a wingspan of 14-16 cm.  They are the most boldly marked of the owl butterflies; on their dorsal side, they are dark gray or brown, with a beautiful dark blue wash on their forewings, and a wide line of mustard yellow on the hindwings.  On the underside, they are dark brown and heavily marked with thin black lines and a bold buff stripe extending from forewing to hindwing.  On the underside of each hindwing, a conspicuous dark “eye spot” rimmed with yellow and black resembles owl’s eyes, giving this group their name.  During the day, owl butterflies rest vertically on narrow tree trunks and vines, with their wings closed, showing off their large eye-spots, in order to deter predators.  Caterpillars feed on several host plants including Calathea latifolia, Heliconia latispatha and Musa spp.  When the caterpillars are in their final stage of growth before pupating, they are large (15 cm or more in length) and develop hairs resembling spines on their back and a crown made of four horns at the back of their head.  Adults feed on the fermenting fruits and nectar from a wide variety of plants, and can live up to 2 months.  This beautiful butterfly can be found in the foothill forests surrounding the Canopy Lodge.

Did you know?  “Caligo” means darkness, which may refer to their daily time of activity – this species is crepuscular, meaning it is most active at dawn and dusk.

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

Here is a clue to next month's featured bird... who am I??  Here's a hint, I am one of the tiniest yet most best-dressed of all the birds!

© Canopy Family