Site description El Chorogo is the largest area of intact forest remaining in Pacific western Panama below 1,000 m. The forest extends for approximately 10 km along the ridge forming the Panama-Costa Rica border, 11 km west of Puerto Armuelles, at the headwaters of the San Bartolo and Palo Blanco Rivers. The remaining forest is found mainly from 500 m to the top of the ridge at 689 m, but with a few outlying extensions in valleys down to 300 m, and mostly within 500-1000 m of the Costa Rican border. The IBA includes several smaller isolated fragments lower in the valleys, in particular a patch of c. 200 ha about 2 km east, in a steep-sided canyon (150-400 m) of the Palo Blanco River. The terrain is rugged. Although primitive roads extend to the site, they are not maintained, so access is usually on foot or on horseback.
Key Biodiversity El Chorogo contains the best remaining example of the original avifauna of the western Pacific lowlands of Panama. This is the best site in Panama for the globally near-threatened and nationally critically endangered Baird's Trogon. The globally threatened Turquoise and Yellow-billed Cotingas have been recorded, but are rare, with only a few records each. The globally threatened Three-wattled Bellbird is common at least seasonally on the ridgetops, and the near-threatened Great Curassow occurs. Among nationally endangered species (in addition to Baird's Trogon), this is the best remaining site for White-crested Coquette, Golden-naped Woodpecker, Tawny-winged Woodcreeper, and Spot-crowned Euphonia. El Chorogo is the only site in Panama where most of the species of the South Central American Pacific Slope EBA still occur together. It contains 13 of 16 species (81%) of this EBA, as well as 19 of 42 species (45%) of biome N05. Several nationally threatened subspecies are also found here. The site is ornithologically well known, having been visited at least annually since the first survey in 1995 (Angehr unpublished data).
Non-bird biodiversity: There is little information on fauna at the site other than birds. The globally endangered Red-backed Squirrel Monkey is fairly common. Central American Wooly Opossum, Silky Anteater, Central American Spider Monkey, Neotropical River Otter, Olingo, Ocelot, Margay and Jaguarundi also occur (Rodríguez 2000, A. Rodríguez pers. com.). Underwood's Pocket Gopher has recently been collected on the Burica Peninsula (R. Samudio, pers. com.) and could occur. Reptiles and amphibians include the frogs Colosthetus flotator and Eleutherodactylus noblei,* the salamander Bolitoglossa lignicolor, and the lizards Anolis polylepis and Leposoma southi (ANCON 1997). Several other species known from the Puerto Armuelles area probably occur; see accounts for Quebrada Mellicita-Charco Azul.
Protection status A total of 283 ha have been purchased for private reserves by PAS and its members to date. Creation of a nationally protected area in the area is currently under discussion. On the Costa Rican side, El Chorogo is contiguous with a large block of forest in the Conte Burica Guaymi Indigenous Reserve.
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BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: El Chorogo-Palo Blanco. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 18/12/2014
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