The Hug that Kills!

Wildlife PanamaThis picture is a common scene in a tropical forest.  It is a beautiful way to show the cycle of life.  Some times the cycle completes as fast as a lizard catching a fly, or other times slowly like this strangler fig (Ficus sp) killing the host, a process that takes years.

The life of this plant starts in the canopy of the forest, and slowly its roots grow down, hugging the host plant, on their way to the forest floor.  Eventually the strangler fig grows enough to kill the host tree.  After the host tree dies it turns into a home for many species of animals and the fruit of the fig trees are also visited by a variety of species of birds and mammals.

At Tranquilo Bay, we have one of these trees in front of the cabins and when it is fruiting, it is constantly visited by several species of birds.  The most common visitors, that also roost on the fig, are the Golden-collared Manakins (Manacus vitellinus), Short-billed Pigeon (Patagioenas nigrirostris) and Plain-colored Tanagers (Tangara inornata).

Birding Panama

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