Camino del Oleoducto, Pipeline Road

April 10, 2018

Today was the day we where going to bird one of the most famous birding locations in Central America. Some say this is the best birding location in all of Central and South America. This is Pipeline Road.

Welcome to the Jungle. The entrance to Camino del Oleoducto.

Pipeline has a species list that exceeds 400. It is a point in Panama where bird species of the Caribbean and Pacific Coast come together in one location. The road allows access deep into the rainforest.

The road was built during World War II as a service road that paralleled an oil pipeline that was a Plan B if the Panama Canal was attacked. The Canal was never attacked and the pipeline was never used. The road is now a hotspot for tropical birding in the Canal Zone.

The Canopy Tower Mobile on Camino del Oleoducto.

At the end of the day we ended with 58 species including spotted antbird, black-breasted puffbird, and white-tailed trogon (birds featured in the Pipeline Road triptych).

A male white-tailed trogon.

Birds of the Neotropics have an eclectic collection of English common names. It’s as if the European and American ornithologist didn’t quite know how to name each odd and strange new species they discovered in the Neotropics and you get such Frankenstein names such as the red-throated ant-tanager. These scientists had been hording up their hyphens and they used them with abandonment when naming these species. A few highlights from a day’s birding on Camino del Oleoducto included: pheasant and squirrel cuckoo, purple-crowned fairy, black-crowned antshrike, checkered-throated and dot-winged antwren, the stunning ocellated antbird, a singing streak-chested antpitta, southern bentbill, brownish twistwing, black-capped pygmy-tryant, olivaceous flatbill, rufous piha, blue-crowned, golden-collared, and red-capped manakin, speckled mourner, green shrike-vireo, and chestnut-headed oropendola.

A very small bird with a very long name. The black-capped pygmy-tyrant is one of the smallest passerines in the world.

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