email a friend
printable version
Location Panama, Comarca Emberá-Wounaan,Darién
Central coordinates 77o 44.00' West  7o 49.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 579,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 1,875m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Sociedad Audubon de Panamá



Site description Darién National Park is one of the largest wilderness areas remaining in Central America. It extends along most of the Colombian border, and includes several isolated mountain ranges. The eastern part of the Serranía de Darién, culminating in Cerro Tacarcuna (1,875 m), the highest peak in eastern Panama, runs along the Caribbean coast and forms the continental divide. The Serranía de Pirre (high point on Alturas de Nique, c. 1,500 m) and the associated lower ridges of Cerro Setetule and the Altos de Quía are near the center of the isth-mus. A complex of ranges extends along the Pacific coast, including the Serranía de Sapo (1,145 m), the Serranía de Jungurudó (c. 1,200 m), the Altos de Aspave (c. 800 m), and the Cordillera de Juradó. The Pacific coast of the park is steep and precipitous. The park includes the headwaters of the Tuira (with its tributaries the Chico, Yape, Capetí, Clarita, Pucuro, Tapalisa, Paya, and Paca), Balsas, Sambú, and Jaqué Rivers. The park is contiguous with the Punta Garachiné-Cerro Sapo IBA in the northwest. The small towns of El Real, on the Tuira River, and Jaqué, at the mouth of the Jaqué River, are adjacent to the park, and within the park there are small villages, mostly indigenous, on the major rivers. Most of the people living within the park are Emberá-Wounaan, with some Kuna, mostly on the upper Tuira, and afrocolonials (darienitas).

Key Biodiversity Darién National Park contains more threatened and endemic species than any other IBA in Panama except La Amistad International Park and the Palo Seco Protection Forest. These include the globally threatened Choco Tinamou, Tacarcuna Wood-Quail, Great Green Macaw, Saffron-headed Parrot, Speckled Antshrike, Tacarcuna Tapaculo, and Pirre Warbler, and the globally near-threatened Plumbeous Hawk, Crested and Harpy Eagles, Great Curassow, Russet-crowned Quail-Dove, Rufous-cheeked Hummingbird, Beautiful Treerunner, Black-billed Flycatcher, Green-naped Tanager, and Viridian Dacnis. The park also contains many nationally threatened species, being a stronghold for three other macaws besides Great Green, Crested Guan, and several raptors, among others. The park contains 14 of 15 species (93%) of the Darién Lowlands EBA, and 16 of 17 species (94%) of the Darién Highlands EBA. It includes most of the global ranges of Tacarcuna Wood-Quail, Rufous-cheeked Hummingbird, Beautiful Treerunner, Tacarcuna Tapaculo, Varied Solitaire, Pirre Warbler, Green-naped Tanager, and Pirre Bush-Tanager. Some of these species, such as the Tacarcuna Wood-Quail and Tacarcuna Tapaculo, are only known from the Tacarcuna range, while others such as Rufous-cheeked Hummingbird, Pirre Warbler, and Pirre Bush-Tanager are restricted to the Pirre, Sapo, and Jungurudó ranges. The area is also high in endemism at the subspecific level, with 27 endemic subspecies being found.

Non-bird biodiversity: Darién National Park is extremely rich in wildlife and shelters a host of endemic species. Mammals include Water Opossum, Central American Woolly Opossum, Highland Mouse Opossum, Slaty Mouse Opossum, Darien Small-eared Shrew, Bartica Bat, Spix’s Disc-winged Bat, Tacarcuna Bat, Geoffroy’s Tamarin, Western Night-Monkey, Brown-headed Spider Monkey, Central American Spider Monkey, Darien Pocket Gopher, Painted Bristly Mouse, Mount Pirre Climbing Mouse, Goldman’s Water Mouse, Panama Climbing Rat, Fulvous-bellied Climbing Rat, Darien Harvest Mouse, Mount Pirre Deer Mouse, Capybara, Bush Dog, Crab-eating Raccoon, Olingo, Neotropical River Otter, Ocelot, Margay, Puma, Jaguar, and Baird’s Tapir. Reptiles and amphibians include the frogs and toads Atelopus certus, A. glyphus, Rhamphophryne acrolopha, Agalychnis litodryas, Gastrotheca nicefori, Hyla subocularis, H. thysanota, Phyllomedusa lemur, P. venusta, Eleutherodactylus achatinus, and E. laticorpus, the salamanders Bolitoglossa biseriata, B. medemi, B. phalarosoma, and B. taylori, the lizards Diploglossus montisilvestris, Lepidoblepharis sanctamartae, Sphaerodactylus lineolatus, Bachia pallidiceps, Ptychoglossus festae, P. myersi, Anolis chloris, and A. latifrons, and the snakes Clelia equatoriana, Coniophanes joanae, Imantodes phantasma, Micrurus ancoralis, and Bothriopsis punctata.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Choco Tinamou Crypturellus kerriae breeding  2006  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Great Curassow Crax rubra breeding  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
Tacarcuna Wood-quail Odontophorus dialeucos breeding  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Plumbeous Hawk Cryptoleucopteryx plumbea breeding  2006  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
Harpy Eagle Harpia harpyja breeding  2006  50-249 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
Crested Eagle Morphnus guianensis breeding  2006  50-249 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
Dusky Pigeon Patagioenas goodsoni unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Purplish-backed Quail-dove Zentrygon lawrencii unknown  2006  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Russet-crowned Quail-dove Zentrygon goldmani breeding  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Great Green Macaw Ara ambiguus breeding  2006  250-999 individuals  poor  A1  Endangered 
Saffron-headed Parrot Pyrilia pyrilia breeding  2006  250-999 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
Bare-shanked Screech-owl Megascops clarkii unknown  2006  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Pirre Hummingbird Goethalsia bella breeding  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Violet-capped Hummingbird Goldmania violiceps unknown  2006  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Choco Toucan Ramphastos brevis unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker Piculus callopterus unknown  2006  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Dusky-backed Jacamar Brachygalba salmoni unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Yellow-green Tyrannulet Phylloscartes flavovirens unknown  2006  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Black-billed Flycatcher Aphanotriccus audax breeding  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi winter  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
Spiny-faced Antshrike Xenornis setifrons breeding  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Tacarcuna Tapaculo Scytalopus panamensis breeding  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Choco Tapaculo Scytalopus chocoensis unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Black-crowned Antpitta Pittasoma michleri unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Beautiful Treerunner Margarornis bellulus breeding  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Ochraceous Wren Troglodytes ochraceus unknown  2006  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Varied Solitaire Myadestes coloratus unknown  2006  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera winter  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea passage  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
Pirre Warbler Basileuterus ignotus breeding  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Black Oropendola Psarocolius guatimozinus unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Sooty-faced Finch Arremon crassirostris unknown  2006  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Green-naped Tanager Tangara fucosa breeding  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Viridian Dacnis Dacnis viguieri breeding  2006  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Black-and-yellow Tanager Chrysothlypis chrysomelas unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Tacarcuna Bush-tanager Chlorospingus tacarcunae unknown  2006  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Pirre Bush-tanager Chlorospingus inornatus unknown  2006  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Tawny-capped Euphonia Euphonia anneae unknown  2006  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-collared Chlorophonia Chlorophonia flavirostris unknown  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Darién National Park 569,430 protected area contained by site 569,430  
Darien National Park World Heritage Site 597,000 is identical to site 579,000  

Habitats

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

Land use

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

Protection status Darién National Park was created in 1980, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1981 and a Biosphere Reserve in 1983. It is adjacent to the Chepigana Forest Reserve (212,950 ha) and the Alto Darién Protection Forest (298,950 ha). It also borders Los Katios National Park (72,000 ha) in Colombia.

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. Navarro, Juan Carlos. 1998. Parques Nacionales de Panamá/Panama National Parks. Ediciones Balboa, Panamá. 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 (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Darien-Cerro Sapo National Park (Darién National Park IBA). Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/11/2014

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