17 Animals We Spotted in El Valle de Anton Panama

  May 26, 2021 travel posts 🕑 4 minutes read
Keel-billed toucan

Keel-billed toucan

 

(Updated 6/6/2021)

 

Apparently, the keel-billed toucans have a sense of humor here in El Valle de Anton.

 

I finished this blog post, published it, shared it on social media then exhaled, looking out from the living room window for a break. Literally 2 seconds into the break this toucan in the image above alighted on a branch, all but saying:

 

“Hey; include me on your list too!!!”

 

Kelli grabbed the camera and I sprinted into the yard to snap the above shot.

 

He also posed in the backyard a few days later.

 

Keel-billed toucan

Keel-billed toucan

 

He was being dogged by small songbirds; toucans can and do predate the young of smaller birds.

 

Collared aracari

Collared aracari

 

His cousin stopped by too; a small toucan species called the collared aracari.

 

Turkey vulture

Turkey vulture

 

El Valle de Anton is a cloud forest located a few thousand meters above sea level.

 

This town is one of the few human habitations sitting entirely within the crater of an extinct volcano.

 

Wildlife is abundant. Kelli and I snapped each of these images within a 5 day stretch of limited time spent outdoors. We see 10 to 15 different species of bird anytime we walk into town. Birders flock to El Valle de Anton from around the globe to record the 300 plus species in the valley.

 

I snapped a few photos of these dazzling creatures.

 

Enjoy.

 

Turkey vulture

Turkey vulture

 

Turkey vultures are a fixture all throughout Panama. I’ve seen them in Panama City, Pedasi and driving all around the central part of the country. He landed the moment I began toying around with the zoom on our new camera. What a handsome subject!

 

Oropendola

Oropendola

 

A flock of oropendola flew through the property. Each proved to be a difficult subject, rapidly hopping to and fro from branch to branch.

 

Oropendola

Oropendola

 

Another snap of this handsome guy. Note the blue eyes.

 

Gray-neck wood-rail

Gray-neck wood-rail

 

I simply call him hot legs for those hot pink, long sticks. But ornithologists call him a Gray-necked wood-rail, a terrestrial bird often spied foraging in the yard.

 

Red-legged honeycreeper, scaly-breasted hummingbird and a crimson-backed tanager

Red-legged honeycreeper, scaly-breasted hummingbird and a crimson-backed tanager

 

The 3 Amigos de Anton sat on the branch 10 feet from me, all but goading me to snap the shot, waiting for the picture perfect photograph.

 

Green iguana

Green iguana

 

I spotted this green iguana high in the forest canopy.

 

Blue-gray tanager

Blue-gray tanager

 

Blue-gray tanagers seem to be a semi-dominant species here. I see them all over town quite frequently. He alighted on the tree beside me for the snap. A pair also dive-bombed the ripe bananas I place in the backyard.

 

Blue and gold grasshopper

Blue and gold grasshopper

 

This blue and gold grasshopper greeted us on our first hike through the forest. Note how his wings perfectly mimic leaves. The moment he flew he appeared to have a set of leaves by his sides. Mimicry allows prey species to evade or avoid predators intent on downing a tasty morsel.

 

Violet-capped hummingbird

Violet-capped hummingbird

 

Hummingbirds are a dime a dozen in El Valle de Anton. This chap took a swig from one of the hundreds of flowers on the property. Note the long proboscis. Hummingbirds mine nectar to energize their tiny bodies and seemingly supernatural level of metabolism.

 

I heard a few buzz by my head during hikes through the forest, the wings sounding like a small helicopter. We also saw oodles of these guys during our house sit in the jungles of Costa Rica.

 

Euphonia

Euphonia

 

Euphonia seem to be another dominant species; I spy these guys all over town. He and his mate seemed to take an interest in the fruit I placed on the grate. Bold and curious, he alighted not 5 feet from me as I snapped this shot.

 

Jesus Christ lizard

Jesus Christ lizard aka basilisk

 

The Jesus Christ lizard – also known as the basilisk – is a primitive-looking lizard able to run on water. I have seen one do this in person during one of our trips to Costa Rica. The lizard generates enough speed and weighs light enough to literally skim the water to evade predators.

 

Flycatcher

Flycatcher

 

Flycatchers are common aves in El Valle de Anton. These guys enjoy sitting on power lines before engaging in an aerial display to catch insects. One cannot miss the bright shade of yellow radiating from the breast.

 

Gray-headed chachalaca

Gray-headed chachalaca

 

This bird alighted on a dead tree in the backyard. Scrambling for the birding guide, I took him for a Central American turkey in some regards. The gray-headed chachalaca has a cool name and even cooler demeanor, sticking around for a few minutes before flying into the forest.

 

Hawk

Hawk

 

I did not attempt to identify this species of hawk because too many potential species look similar. We did locate his territory however because we have seen him in the same spot right before we enter the jungle on our Cerra Gaital hikes.

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