La Amistad International Park

Country/territory: Panama

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2003)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 207,000 ha

Sociedad Audubon de Panamá

Site description (2003 baseline)
Rising from near sea level to over 3,300 m, the enormous wilderness area of La Amistad International Park contains the highest number of endangered and endemic birds of any IBA in Panama. Extending from the Costa Rican border in the drainage of the Yorkin River, in Bocas del Toro the park includes the headwaters of the Changuinola River and its Teribe, Culubre and Changuena tributaries. On the Pacific slope in Chiriquí, the park boundary follows the 2,000 (above Santa Clara), 2,200 (above Cerro Punta) and 1,800 m contours (above Boquete). The lowest point in the park is at Boca Chica (90 m) in the Changuinola Valley, while Cerro Fabrega (3,335 m), the second highest peak in Panama after Volcán Barú, is the highest. Most people living inside the park belong to the Teribe and Ngöbe indigenous groups, but with some colonization by mestizos on the Chiriquí side. The only areas of the park easily visited are Los Nubes (park headquarters) and the Los Quetzales Cabins, both near Cerro Punta on the Chiriquí side. Access to the Caribbean slope is difficult, and most of its foothill and highland areas, including Cerro Fabrega, has never been ornithologically surveyed.

Key biodiversity
La Amistad is one of the most important strongholds for the globally threatened Bare-necked Umbrellabird and Three-wattled Bellbird. Other globally threatened and near-threatened species include Harpy and Crested Eagle, Black Guan, Great Curassow, Great Green Macaw, Red-fronted Parrotlet, Resplendent Quetzal and Blue-and-gold Tanager. An additional 76 nationally threatened species also occur. The park contains 47 of 54 species (87%) of the Costa Rica and Panama Highlands EBA, as well as 9 of 11 species (82%) of the Central American Caribbean Slope EBA. On the Chiriquí side, however, the boundary is too high to include any endemics of the Southern Central American Pacific Slope EBA. With 56 endemic species, La Amistad may have one of the highest totals of any area in the world. The site also includes 48 of 68 species (71%) of the N06 biome, and 17 of 42 species (40%) of the N05 biome.

Non-bird biodiversity: La Amistad is extremely rich in wildlife. Mammals found or expected in the park include Water Opossum, Slaty Mouse Opossum, Central American Wooly Opossum, Silky Anteater, Blackish Small-eared Shrew, Talamancan Small-eared Shrew, Ender's Small-eared Shrew, Honduran White Bat, Talamancan Yellow-shouldered Bat, Hairy-legged Vampire Bat, Thumbless Bat, Spix's Disc-winged Bat, Brazilian Free-tailed Bat, Central American Spider Monkey, Montane Squirrel, Chiriqui Pocket Gopher, Sprightly Pygmy Rice Rat, Underwood's Water Mouse, Chiriqui Singing Mouse, Chiriqui Harvest Mouse, Naked-footed Deer Mouse, Dice's Rabbit, Mexican Porcupine, Cacomistle, Olingo, Neotropical River Otter, Ocelot, Margay, Jaguarundi, Puma, Jaguar and Baird's Tapir. Reptiles and amphibians found or expected include the frogs and toads Atelopus chiriquiensis, A. varius, Bufo fastidiosus, B. peripatetes, Crepidophyrne epiotica, Dendrobates speciosus, Duellmanohyla lythrodes, Duellmanohyla uranochroa, Hyla debilis, H. graceae, H. lancasteri, H. pseudopuma, H. rivularis, H. tica, H. zeteki, Phyllomedusa lemur, Ptychohyla legleri, Eleutherodactylus emcelae, E. jota, E. melanostictus, E. noblei, E. pardalis, and Rana vibricaria; the salamanders Bolitoglossa compacta, B. marmorea, B. minutula, B. robusta, Oedipina alfaroi and O. grandis; the lizards Anadia ocellata, Anolis aquaticus, A. fungosus, A. kemptoni, A. microtus, A. pandoensis, A. vociferans, and A. woodi, and the snakes Hydromorphus dunni, Rhadinaea calligaster, R. godmani, R. pulveriventris, Urotheca decipiens, Atropoides nummifer, A. picadoi, and Cerrophidion godmani.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: La Amistad International Park. Downloaded from on 25/02/2024.