|Central coordinates||83o 1.00' West 8o 18.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3|
|Altitude||150 - 689m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
Ornithological information 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 The site is ornithologically well known, having been visited at least annually since the first survey in 1995 (Angehr unpublished data).
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.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Great Curassow Crax rubra||breeding||2006||-||poor||A1||Vulnerable|
|Costa Rican Swift Chaetura fumosa||unknown||2006||-||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|White-crested Coquette Lophornis adorabilis||unknown||2006||-||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Garden Emerald Chlorostilbon assimilis||unknown||2006||-||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Charming Hummingbird Amazilia decora||unknown||2006||-||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Baird's Trogon Trogon bairdii||breeding||2006||-||poor||A1, A2, A3||Near Threatened|
|Fiery-billed Aracari Pteroglossus frantzii||unknown||2006||-||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Golden-naped Woodpecker Melanerpes chrysauchen||unknown||2006||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Rufous-winged Woodpecker Piculus simplex||unknown||2006||-||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Orange-collared Manakin Manacus aurantiacus||unknown||2006||-||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Turquoise Cotinga Cotinga ridgwayi||unknown||2006||-||-||A1, A2, A3||Vulnerable|
|Three-wattled Bellbird Procnias tricarunculatus||unknown||2006||20 individuals||poor||Vulnerable|
|Yellow-billed Cotinga Carpodectes antoniae||unknown||2006||1-10 individuals||unknown||A1, A2, A3||Endangered|
|Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet Ornithion semiflavum||unknown||2006||-||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi||winter||2006||-||poor||A1||Near Threatened|
|Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi||breeding||2006||-||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Tawny-winged Woodcreeper Dendrocincla anabatina||unknown||2006||-||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Green Shrike-vireo Vireolanius pulchellus||unknown||2006||-||-||Least Concern|
|Riverside Wren Thryothorus semibadius||unknown||2006||-||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera||winter||2006||common individuals||poor||A1||Near Threatened|
|White-throated Shrike-tanager Lanio leucothorax||unknown||2006||-||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Cherrie's Tanager Ramphocelus costaricensis||unknown||2006||-||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Yellow-crowned Euphonia Euphonia luteicapilla||unknown||2006||-||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Spot-crowned Euphonia Euphonia imitans||unknown||2006||-||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||minor|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||minor|
Other 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.
Management considerations The site was designated a watershed protection forest by the municipality of Puerto Armuelles in 1995, but that status was withdrawn by a new administration in 1999, which has also advocated clearing the forest to forestall its possible designation as a protected area. Property rights are held by several local farmers. The San Bartolo and Palo Blanco watersheds provide 15% of the water for the large banana plantations around Puerto Armuelles, operated by Chiquita Brands International (R. Johnson pers. com.). Part of El Chorogo was logged recently, and given the local deforestation rate, it is likely to be gone entirely within 10-15 years. The site has been proposed for Wildlife Reserve status by AFFABA (a local conservation organization), the Panama Audubon Society and ANCON, but no action has been taken by ANAM.
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.
Conservation response Because it is the best remaining site in Panama for the endangered and endemic birds of the Pacific lowlands, and is also essentially unprotected and critically endangered by ongoing deforestation, PAS has designated El Chorogo as one of its two highest priority IBA for conservation. PAS and its members have to date purchased 283 ha as private reserves in the area, in part with funding provided by the Amos W. Butler Audubon Society through the American Bird Conservancy. PAS is currently discussing the creation of a nationally protected area in the area with ANAM and other government organizations.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: El Chorogo-Palo Blanco. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013
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