In mid-January, Marie and I flew to Panama where we will be staying for 10 weeks. We’ve been here for 10 days now and it’s great! The house we have rented has a swimming pool and 5 acres of bird-rich grounds. We have made several trips to nearby birding locations, but have also spent quite a bit of time exploring the grounds and the road in front of the house. Panama is a relatively small country, about one-fifth the area of BC. Despite its size, it has a bird list of close to 1000 species! (BC has a bird list of about 500). So far, we have seen 67 species of birds within 500 m of the house. Some of the species are from families familiar to us in BC, for example the Red-crowned Woodpecker. Others however, like the Collared Aracari, are from families quite unknown to us in BC.
The Red-crowned Woodpecker is a tropical species restricted to Costa Rica, Panama, northern Venezuela and northern Columbia. Its range is quite small but it is very common in this area. We see two or three every time we go birding. Its closest relative in BC is the Lewis’s Woodpecker.
The Collared Aracari has a similar range to the Red-crowned Woodpecker but it extends a little further north up into southern Mexico. Aracaris are in the toucan family and have no close relatives in BC. There are seven members of the toucan family in Costa Rica. One of the more obvious features of the toucans is their large, brightly coloured bills.
I hope that in the next few instalments I can show you a few of Panama’s more interesting birds.