Located between the North and South hemispheres, the Panama isthmus is characterized by its impressive landscapes and variety of ecosystems, where new species of flora and fauna are discovered every year.
With almost a thousand species of birds and a variety of mammal species, Panama is an ideal place for bird watching and wildlife photography. Despite its compact size, the country offers a great deal of opportunities in completely different environments.
In Panama, one can see and photograph up to 57 species of hummingbirds, 3 species of sloths and 8 species of primates. It is also possible to spot the northern tamandua. And some lucky ones manage to observe the jaguar, puma or tapir.
But in addition, Panama has an incredible underwater world. With large stretches of coral reefs, and with the presence of turtles, dolphins, whales, manta rays and sharks.
On my journey through the country, I focused on exploring the Soberanía National Park, the Cerro Gaital Natural Monument, the Volcan Barú National Park, the La Amistad International Park, the Mount Totumas Reserve, the Coiba National Park and the Isla Bastimentos National Park.
A Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis) perched on a tree near the Pipeline Road, one of the world’s most famous birdwatching trails. Soberanía National Park.
A Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) high up on a Cecropia tree on a misty morning in the Soberanía National Park.
The cloud forest covering the Cerro Gaital Natural Monument, in Valle Anton.
In the forest of Cerro Gaital, most of the colorful birds are males. On the other hand, females usually have a very similar chocolate color. This makes identifying the species really difficult.
An Scarlet-rumped tanager (Ramphocelus passerinii) in the highlands of Panama, Chiriqui province.
A Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris) in Valle Anton, a town settled in the crater of an extinct volcano.
Colombian white-headed capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus) are not easily seen within the Soberanía National Park. They are not used to people. That’s why when they see us, they start to scream, move branches and show us their teeth. They do not like our presence.
One of the most famous birds of Panama: the red-capped manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis). This small bird, measuring about 10 centimeters in length, is famous for the courtship dance that males perform during the breeding period.
La Amistad International Park, in the highlands of Panama.
Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus coeruliceps) in the surroundings of the town of Paraiso, in the province of Chiriqui.
A Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) nesting on the Malena beach. Sea turtle nesting occurs between June and November. The protection of eggs is crucial to ensure the survival of this species, which is critically endangered. The population of these turtles has decreased by more than 80%, due to accidental capture during fishing and loss of habitat. Local associations such as the Malena Beach Conservation Association are essential in the fight for their survival.
Fifty-five days after the nesting, the first turtles begin to hatch. A moment full of hope.
Two Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles swimming in the Coiba National Park.
The Panamanian Pacific coast receives a large number of humpback whales from Antarctica and Alaska between July and October. Panama is one of the few countries that hosts humpback whales from both hemispheres. The whales travel to Panama to mate, reproduce, and raise their young in the warm waters of this country.
Geoffroy’s Tamarin (Saguinus geoffroyi) in the Soberanía National Park.
Soberanía National Park.
A green-crowned brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) in the Mount Totumas Reserve.
The Epidendrum exasperatum orchids are epiphytes, meaning they grow on other plants, which they use as support. Volcán Barú National Park.
The silhouette of a three-fingered sloth at sunset in Soberanía National Park.
A butterfly of the Morpho genus standing near a river in the surroundings of Valle Anton. The blue color of these butterflies is not actually a chemical pigment, but rather a projection of light through the scales on the wings.
A three-fingered sloth in the Soberanía National Park.
Northern tufted flycatcher (Mitrephanes phaeocercus) in the La Amistad International Park.
La Amistad International Park covers 401,000 hectares of tropical forest and is the largest nature reserve in Central America.
A spot-crowned antvireo (Dysithamnus puncticeps) in the Cerro Gaital Natural Monument, Valle Anton.
Los monos aulladores acostumbran a formar parte de la banda sonora de las selvas de Panamá. Sus gritos resuenan a lo lejos. Parque Nacional Soberanía.
Nieblas entre las colinas de la Reserva de Mount Totumas. Esta reserva privada, construida en la periferia del Parque Internacional La Amistad, facilita el movimiento de especies de aves migrantes y también de los grandes depredadores de Panamá, como el jaguar o el puma.
A volcano hummingbird (Selasphorus flammula) at Mount Totumas Reserve. This species of hummingbird is one of the smallest in the country. It measures only 7.5 centimeters long and weighs less than 3 grams.
The sun had not yet risen and a thin fog refused to leave the jungle of Soberanía National Park. We couldn’t see the distant trees, so we focused on examining the closest trunks. Quickly and surprisingly agile, a northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) climbed the trunk of a cecropia. After stripping the bark from a part of the trunk, it found what it was looking for: ants.
A strawberry poison frog (Oophaga pumilio) on Bastimentos Island, in Bocas del Toro. These frogs are one of the most common venomous frogs in Latin America. However, in Bocas del Toro, they have the particularity that on each island, one color of the frog predominates. On Bastimentos Island, most are red colored.
A green heron (Butorides virescens) near the indigenous village of Salt Creek, on Bastimentos Island.
A howler monkey (Alouatta palliata) at the Mount Totumas Reserve.
Scaly-breasted hummingbird (Phaeochroa cuvierii) in the province of Chiriquí.
Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus) in a small lagoon in the interior of Bastimentos Island.
Yellow-bellied Trogon (Trogon rufus) in Soberanía National Park.