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CERRO AZUL/JEFE

PANAMA
LOCALE

# Species*:130
# Excl Vagrants*:130
# Endemics*:1
# Near Endemics*:9
*Based on partial or incomplete data.
Habitat: Roadsides, dry forest, scrub

ABOUT THE BIRDING

Cerro Azul and Cerro Jefe are located adjacent to 320,000 acre Chagres National Park. The road up Cerro Azul winds through many private developments, but birding along the road can be good. The road eventually turns into a steeper dirt road leading up to Cerro Jefe. A walk from a parking area along a wide path leads through scrub habitat up to the radio towers on top of Cerro Jefe. Birding on Cerro Azul and Cerro Jefe can be very slow if it's windy or rainy, which is often the case in January and February. Later in the dry season birding tends to improve because the winds die down.

The best birding is on the walk up to the radio towers. The main target species is the endemic Tacarcuna Brush-Finch found near the top of Cerro Jefe and pretty much nowhere else except on Cerro Tacarcuna in the Darien. Other species of special interest include Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, which can often be seen soaring overhead, the quite rare Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, White-tipped Sicklebill, Ruddy Woodcreeper, the quite secretive Tawny-faced Gnatwren, Black-and-yellow Tanager, Olive Tanager, and the quite rare Rufous-winged Tanager.

LOCATION OF SITE

Cerro Azul and Cerro Jefe are reached by driving east from Tocumen International Airport and then taking a side road that winds up into the highlands. The drive from the airport is about 35 minutes. The drive from Panama City is an additional 45-50 minutes.