email a friend
printable version
Location Panama, Colón
Central coordinates 79o 36.77' West  9o 31.33' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 35,929 ha
Altitude 0 - 979m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Sociedad Audubon de Panamá

Site description Portobelo National Park extends from the coast between Buenaventura and San Cristobal Bays inland to the mountains forming the northern rim of the Chagres River watershed. It includes the headwaters of the Boquerón, Gatún, and Piedras Rivers on its southern side and the Cascajal on the north. The highest pont is Cerro Bruja (979 m). The park is contiguous with Chagres National Park on its inland side. The coastal area is easily accessible by road, but higher elevations are more difficult to reach and poorly known ornithologically. The impressive Spanish colonial forts and other ruins surrounding Portobelo town are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Key Biodiversity The globally threatened endemic Speckled Antshrike occurs on Cerro Bruja, and the globally near-threatened Great Curassow, Harpy Eagle and Blue-and-gold Tanager are also found. The globally near threatened Plumbeous Hawk and Crested Eagle also certainly occur although specific records are lacking. The site contains 6 of 15 species (40%) of the Darién Lowlands EBA, plus a few species of the Darién Highlands EBA and several nationally threatened species.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals recorded or probably present include Central American Wooly Opossum, Giant Anteater, Silky Anteater, Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo, Geoffroy's Tamarin, Western Night Monkey, Central American Spider Monkey, Capybara, Crab-eating Raccoon, Bush Dog, Olingo, Neotropical River Otter, Ocelot, Margay, Jaguarundi, Jaguar and Baird's Tapir. Slaty Mouse Opossum is likely to occur. Reptiles and amphibians include the frogs Atelopus limosus, Colosthetus flotator, Minyobates minutus, Eleutherodactylus raniformis and E. puntariolus, the salamander Bolitoglossa schizodactyla, the lizards Sphaerodactylus lineolatus, Leposoma southi and Anolis poecilopus, and the snake Rhadinaea sargenti (Ibáñez 1997).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Great Curassow Crax rubra breeding  2006  250-999 individuals  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
Purplish-backed Quail-dove Zentrygon lawrencii unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker Piculus callopterus unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Spiny-faced Antshrike Xenornis setifrons breeding  2006  250-999 individuals  poor  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Black-crowned Antpitta Pittasoma michleri unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera winter  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
Blue-and-gold Tanager Bangsia arcaei breeding  2006  250-999 individuals  poor  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Sulphur-rumped Tanager Heterospingus rubrifrons unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Portobelo National Park 35,835 is identical to site 35,929  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   major
Forest Mangrove  major
Coastline   major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
nature conservation and research major
tourism/recreation major
urban/industrial/transport minor
Notes: The town of Portobelo is within the park.
water management major
Notes: Part of Panama Canal watershed.

Protection status Portobelo National Park, established in 1976, was one of Panama's first national parks. Five park guards are assigned to it.

References Angehr, George R. 2003. Directorio de areas importantes para aves en Panama. Directory of important bird areas in Panama. Panama: Sociedad Audubon de Panama. Ibáñez, Roberto (ed.). 1997a. Informe Final de Inventario del Vertebrados Terrestres. Cerro Bruja. USAID/ANAM/STRI, Panama. Ridgely, Robert S., and John A. Gwynne. 1989. A Guide to the Birds of Panama (Second Edition). Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. Wetmore, Alexander. 1965. The Birds of the Republic of Panama. Part 1. Tinamidae (Tinamous) to Rhynchopidae (Skimmers). Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Wetmore, Alexander. 1968. The Birds of the Republic of Panama. Part 2. Columbidae (Pigeons) to Picidae (Woodpeckers). Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Wetmore, Alexander. 1973. The Birds of the Republic of Panama. Part 3. Passeriformes: Dendrocolaptidae (Woodcreepers) to Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill). Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Wetmore, Alexander, Roger F. Pasquier, and Storrs L. Olson. 1984. The Birds of the Republic of Panama. Part 4. Passeriformes: Hirundinidae (Swallows) to Fringillidae (Finches). Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Portobelo National Park. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife