Coiba Island and National Park wildlife photography (pt. 2)

Frijoles islets

As explained before we went to this group of rocky islets on the first day but we returned to get more pictures of the same birds since the first time light was bad due to the rainstorm that was approaching.

On both occasions we were able to photograph two species of boobies, medium-large sized coastal seabirds. These birds are spectacular divers, plunging into the ocean at high speed. They mainly eat small fish or squid which gather in groups near the surface and may catch leaping fish while skimming the surface. Although they are powerful and agile fliers, they are particularly clumsy in takeoffs and landings; therefore they use strong winds and high perches (e.g. high on the islets) to assist their takeoffs.


Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) breeds on islands and coasts in tropical areas of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The juvenile form is gray-brown with darkening on the head, wings and tail. Adults are covered in dark brown or black on the head and upper body, with the belly being a white. Traditionally have been the most common booby in Panama and breeds locally on islands on both coasts.


Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) is easily recognizable by its distinctive bright blue feet (duller on non-breeders and immatures). Males display their feet in an elaborate mating ritual by lifting their feet up and down while strutting before the female. The natural breeding habitats of the blue-footed booby are the tropical and subtropical islands of the Pacific Ocean. It can be found from the Gulf of California down along the western coasts of Central and South America down to Peru, with approximately one half of all breeding pairs nesting on the Galápagos Islands. In Panama it's common around nesting islands in Bahía de Panamá, near Archipiélago de las Perlas, less common near Coiba.



Bridled Tern (Onychoprion anaethetus) is a medium-sized tern with long wings and long forked tail. It has dark grey upperparts and white underparts. The forehead and eyebrows are white, as is a striking collar on the hindneck. It has black legs and bill. This bird is migratory and dispersive, wintering more widely through the tropical oceans. It has markedly marine habits compared to most terns. Different subspecies occur in Mexico, the Caribbean, west Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Southeast Asia and Australasia. This species breeds in colonies on rocky islands. In Panama it is mainly pelagic and rare, found far offshore in Golfo de Panamá and Golfo de Chiriquí, and breeds on small islets off south coast of Los Santos.


The second day in Coiba starts

I started the second day photographing the endemic agouti, and after that  making some macro shots around the camp while I waited for breakfast. I also was able to photograph both famous individuals: Tito the Crocodile and the Bare-necked Tiger Heron that hangs around the camp.


Coiban Agouti (Dasyprocta coibae) is a species of rodent endemic to the island of Coiba, it resembles the more widespread and mainland inhabitant Central American Agouti. It is listed as vulnerable conservation status due to its restricted habitat.

The famous Bare-throated Tiger Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum) hangs around the beach in front of the biological station, the following day I discovered it is not only one. Two were in the same place at the same time.


Fence to protect Tito from tourists

Tito and a fellow vulture

Tito the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)

Eventually we left aboard the boat to enter the San Juan river in search of one of our main targets of the trip: the Scarlet Macaw.


To be continued...