Bret Whitney

Field Guides Leader

Bret Whitney grew up birding in the wild Midwest, mostly in Indiana, where he graduated from Earlham College. He is known for his ability to identify birds by their calls and songs, which has led to his stumbling onto multiple species new to science during research expeditions and even on Field Guides tours!

Bret is one of the founders of Field Guides, a Research Associate of the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University, an Associate of the Lab of Ornithology at Cornell, 2004 recipient of the ABA's Ludlow Griscom award, and an eternal optimist about almost everything. Bret guides many of our Brazil tours and, with Brazilian colleagues, he is producing a series of regional field guides to the birds of Brazil.

Scroll down to see Bret's current schedule of tours.

Have you checked out our new OutBirding with FieldGuides video series? It features episodes covering not just guided tours of great birds and habitats but also interviews with fascinating bird-folks, field techniques, tools of the trade, field recipes, and much more. This is a long-term venture that will share much of what our guides love about birds and birding, both their own experiences and their tips for enjoyable, enriching field time. Why not subscribe for a modest annual or monthly fee?

Client comment
"Bret has such amazing hearing and knowledge. He is like a bird maestro! His knowledge is deep and he shares so much as the tour unfolds. I loved this tour, wouldn't change a thing. I've done three tours with Bret and will definitely travel with him again." D.F., Nowhere but Northeast Brazil!

"As always with Field Guides, a great experience. Bret Whitney and Marcelo Barreiros are excellent guides, always making sure we see the birds well. They are incredibly patient about this, in fact! Office service was very helpful and timely, as always. In this regard, Field Guides buries the competition! A Field Guides trip is the gold standard for me. I have traveled with other good companies, but you are the best. Best guides, best support. The birds will show up for any good guide, but Field Guides makes it a great experience." P.P., BRAZIL: MINAS GERAIS & TOCANTINS -- BLUE-EYED GROUND-DOVE & MORE


Bret's Upcoming Tours


BRAZIL'S RIO ROOSEVELT: BIRDING THE RIVER OF DOUBT
Status: Waitlisted
Jun 5-20, 2021 (Fee TBD / 2020=$8975) with Bret Whitney
Tour Limit: 8
A birding adventure on the remote Rio Roosevelt in the spirit of Teddy himself, as we search for bushbirds, ant swarms, up to 10 species described to science only in 2013, and, of course, the unknown.
May be combined with Brazil -- Minas Gerais & Tocantins or Rainforest & Savanna
BRAZIL'S MADEIRA & TAPAJOS: BETWEEN TWO GREAT RIVERS
Status: Open
Jul 16-31, 2021 (Fee TBD) with Bret Whitney & Micah Riegner
Tour Limit: 10
Live-aboard luxury on an adventurous birding tour through the lower Madeira-Tapajos interfluvium of central Amazonian Brazil; be ready for the unexpected!
SPECTACULAR SOUTHEAST BRAZIL
Status: Waitlisted
Oct 22 - Nov 8, 2021 - Part One (Fee TBD / 2020=$6275) with Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros
Tour Limit: 12
The fantastic center of avian endemism in eastern Brazil, particularly well endowed with hummingbirds, cotingas, antbirds, and beautiful scenery. Part I: North of the Tropic; Part II: South of the Capricorn, plus an optional Iguazu Falls Extension.
SPECTACULAR SOUTHEAST BRAZIL
Status: Waitlisted
Nov 6-22, 2021 - Part Two (Fee TBD / 2020=$6275) with Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros
Tour Limit: 12
The fantastic center of avian endemism in eastern Brazil, particularly well endowed with hummingbirds, cotingas, antbirds, and beautiful scenery. Part I: North of the Tropic; Part II: South of the Capricorn, plus an optional Iguazu Falls Extension.
(Iguassu Falls Extension to Nov 26, 2021)
NOWHERE BUT NORTHEAST BRAZIL!
Status: Open
Jan 21 - Feb 7, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$7375) with Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros
Tour Limit: 12
From beautiful beaches to barren badlands, our tour is a quest for specialties of the endangered caatinga, chapada, and Atlantic Forest habitats.
(Fernando de Noronha pre-tour extension from Jan 19, 2022)
May be combined with Brazil: Bahia Birding Bonanza
BRAZIL: BAHIA BIRDING BONANZA
Status: Open
Feb 5-19, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$5175) with Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros
Tour Limit: 12
Beautiful Bahia, linking Northeast and Southeast Brazil, is chock-full of rare birds, from Giant Snipe and Hook-billed Hermit to Pink-legged Graveteiro and Banded Cotinga!
May be combined with Nowhere but Northeast Brazil!
BRAZIL'S RIO ROOSEVELT: BIRDING THE RIVER OF DOUBT
Status: Open
Jun 4-19, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2020=$8975) with Bret Whitney
Tour Limit: 8
A birding adventure on the remote Rio Roosevelt in the spirit of Teddy himself, as we search for bushbirds, ant swarms, up to 10 species described to science only in 2013, and, of course, the unknown.
May be combined with Brazil -- Minas Gerais & Tocantins or Rainforest & Savanna
BRAZIL'S JAPURA & TEFE RIVERS: MAMIRAUA, AMANA & THE UNKNOWN
Status: Open
Jul 1-15, 2022 (Fee TBD) with Bret Whitney & Micah Riegner
Tour Limit: 10
A third itinerary in our series of fantastic wilderness tours to Brazil aboard a delightful river vessel. We'll explore little-known sites for a rich diversity of Amazonian birds, with some exciting discoveries no doubt in store.
IQUITOS, PERU: CANOPY WALKWAYS & ANCIENT FORESTS
Status: Waitlisted
Jul 31 - Aug 13, 2022 (Fee TBD) with Bret Whitney & Micah Riegner
Tour Limit: 10
Two-week immersion in one of the most species-rich regions of Amazonia, including the white-sand forests near Iquitos.
SPECTACULAR SOUTHEAST BRAZIL
Status: Open
Oct 21 - Nov 7, 2022 - Part One (Fee TBD / 2020=$6275) with Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros
Tour Limit: 12
The fantastic center of avian endemism in eastern Brazil, particularly well endowed with hummingbirds, cotingas, antbirds, and beautiful scenery. Part I: North of the Tropic; Part II: South of the Capricorn, plus an optional Iguazu Falls Extension.
SPECTACULAR SOUTHEAST BRAZIL
Status: Open
Nov 5-21, 2022 - Part Two (Fee TBD / 2020=$6275) with Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros
Tour Limit: 12
The fantastic center of avian endemism in eastern Brazil, particularly well endowed with hummingbirds, cotingas, antbirds, and beautiful scenery. Part I: North of the Tropic; Part II: South of the Capricorn, plus an optional Iguazu Falls Extension.
(Iguassu Falls Extension to Nov 25, 2022)