In the Neotropics, crops that are grown in agroforestry systems with shade trees support high levels of bird diversity compared with crops grown without shade (Estrada & Coates-Estrada 2005, Faria et al. 2006). Several experiments in shaded coffee farms have explored how insectivorous birds reduce herbivore numbers and their damage to plants and have simultaneously approached ecological questions that are applied (e.g. biological control) and basic (e.g. tri-trophic interactions) (Borkhataria et al. 2006, Greenberg et al. 2000, Perfecto et al. 2004). Here we used exclosures to test whether birds lower the densities of herbivorous insects and reduce insect damage to cocoa (Theobroma cacaoL.,Sterculiaceae) foliage in shaded farms of western Panama. Although bird predation has been shown to reduce insect damage to crops in other systems (Mols & Visser 2002), we provide the ?rst test for shade-grown cocoa.