Scarlet Ibis and Vermilion Flycatcher in Panama

March 2007

Two Scarlet Ibises at Portobelo, Panama on 24 March 2007.

We were a Quest Nature Tours group on a Costa Rica-Panama voyage aboard the Pacific Explorer at Portobelo, Panama. At 4:00 p.m. we took a zodiac ride along a small river among mangroves at the end of Portobelo Bay. Our CruiseWest leader was Giovanni Bello. We spotted White Ibises feeding in an open wet pasture. Then Ruth in our group noticed "red" ibises behind vegetation. We identified them as two Scarlet Ibises among about 12 White Ibises. As we approached they flew to a far corner of a field where we could still see them well. They had long decurved bills and looked similar to the White Ibises, except they were red. When we returned to the ship, some crew reported seeing them early that morning among the White Ibises as they flew past the ship across Portobelo Bay from their night tree roost to the mangroves and pasture at the end of the bay where we saw them. There is a possibility they are hybrids with White Ibis.


First year female Vermilion Flycatcher, San Blas, Panama on 25 March 2007

The next day on the same voyage, we visited "Dog" Island on the San Blas Islands. Five of us went by zodiac to the next island with more vegetation and underbrush. There were many birds. I spotted a small bird flycatching over sparse ground vegetation and returning to the same perch about 1.3 metres high under a palm tree. We studied it in the scope and I digiscoped several photos. Our guide Giovanni Bello identified this as a Vermilion Flycatcher. We noticed brown streaking on its breast, flanks and sides, and yellow on the lower belly and sides to around the vent.