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Location Panama, Colón,Panamá
Central coordinates 79o 41.00' West  9o 9.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iv
Area 22,104 ha
Altitude 30 - 332m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Sociedad Audubon de Panamá

Site description Soberanía National Park occupies most of the former U.S.-administered Canal Zone east and north of the central section of the Panama Canal and southern Lake Gatún. It is divided into northern and southern sections by the middle Chagres River. The terrain is mostly broken, with some flatter land in the Frijoles River basin in the northern section. The high point (332 m) is in the headwaters of the Frijoles. The Summit Botanical Garden and Zoo is located within the southern end of the park. Adjacent land along the northern and eastern boundary is devoted to cattle and subsistence agriculture, and the town of Chilibre is located near the southeastern corner. Madden Road crosses the southern sector, and the gravel Pipeline Road runs most of the length of the northern sector.

Key Biodiversity The area from the continental divide south is an important bottleneck site for migratory raptors. In 2004 a total of 281,212 Turkey Vultures, 570,829 Broad-winged Hawks, and 138,805 Swainson's Hawks were counted on autumn migration. A significant proportion of these probably use the park as an overnight roost. The globally near-threatened Great Curassow occurs but is rare, and many nationally threatened species including Crested Guan also are found. Endemic species include Black-crowned Antpitta, Yellow-green Tyrannulet, and Sulphur-rumped Tanager of the Central American Caribbean Slope and/or Darien Lowlands EBAs. In 1999 the Peregrine Fund introduced several captive-bred Harpy Eagles (formerly found in the area but now locally extinct) to the park as part of a pilot program.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals include Central American Woolly Opossum, Silky Anteater, Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo, Geoffroy’s Tamarin, Western Night Monkey, Panamanian Spiny Pocket-Mouse, Capybara, Bush Dog, Olingo, Neotropical River Otter, Ocelot, Margay, Jaguarundi, Puma, Jaguar, Baird’s Tapir, and West Indian Manatee. Reptiles and amphibians include the frogs Colosthetus flotator and C. inguinalis, the snakes Dipsas variegata, D. viguieri, and Trimetopon barbouri, and American Crocodile

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Great Curassow Crax rubra breeding  2006  20 individuals  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi winter  2006  50-249 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera winter  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea passage  2006  50-249 individuals  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  2004-2005  500,000-999,999 individuals  good  A4iv   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Barro Colorado Natural Monument 8,191 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Camino de Cruces National Park 4,663 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Soberania National Park 19,544 is identical to site 22,104  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   major
Artificial - terrestrial   minor
Wetlands (inland)   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
tourism/recreation major
water management major

Protection status Soberanía National Park was created in 1980 to protect the largest forested areas of the Canal Zone that reverted to Panama after ratification of the Carter-Torrijos Treaty. There are 10 park guards. In the northwest Soberanía is contiguous with the Barro Colorado Nature Monument, in the southeast with Camino de Cruces National Park, and along its western and southern boundary with forests zoned as Canal Operating Area.

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. 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.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Soberanía National Park. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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