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.

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: Open
Jun 15-30, 2024 ($10875) 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.
IQUITOS, PERU: CANOPY WALKWAYS & ANCIENT FORESTS
Status: One space available
Jul 26 - Aug 9, 2024 ($7775) 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.
BRAZIL'S JAPURA & TEFE RIVERS: MAMIRAUA, AMANA & THE UNKNOWN
Status: Open
Aug 26 - Sep 10, 2024 ($9975) 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.
RIO NEGRO PARADISE: MANAUS, BRAZIL
Status: Open
Sep 10-25, 2024 ($8575) with Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros
Tour Limit: 10
Bird the rainforests and rivers of the mighty Amazon and Negro in an unforgettable mix of forest hikes and live-aboard luxury.
SPECTACULAR SOUTHEAST BRAZIL
Status: One space available
Oct 11-28, 2024 - Part One ($7875) 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.
SPECTACULAR SOUTHEAST BRAZIL
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Oct 26 - Nov 11, 2024 - Part Two ($7475) 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.
NOWHERE BUT NORTHEAST BRAZIL!
Status: Open
Jan 18 - Feb 4, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$8475) with Bret Whitney & Micah Riegner
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 16, 2025)
May be combined with Brazil: Bahia Birding Bonanza
BRAZIL: MINAS GERAIS & TOCANTINS: BLUE-EYED GROUND DOVE AND BEYOND
Status: Open
May 10-26, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$6375) with Marcelo Barreiros & Bret Whitney
Tour Limit: 10
This itinerary visits a rich region of Brazil not covered on our other tours, one replete with rarely seen endemics and the recently rediscovered Blue-eyed Ground Dove!
BRAZIL'S RIO ROOSEVELT: BIRDING THE RIVER OF DOUBT
Status: One space available
Jun 14-29, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$10875) 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.
BRAZIL'S MADEIRA & TAPAJOS: BETWEEN TWO GREAT RIVERS
Status: Open
Jul 12-26, 2025 (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!
RIO NEGRO PARADISE: MANAUS, BRAZIL
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Sep 13-27, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$8575) with Marcelo Barreiros & Bret Whitney
Tour Limit: 10
Bird the rainforests and rivers of the mighty Amazon and Negro in an unforgettable mix of forest hikes and live-aboard luxury.
SPECTACULAR SOUTHEAST BRAZIL
Status: Open
Oct 17 - Nov 3, 2025 - Part One (Fee TBD / 2024=$7875) 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.
SPECTACULAR SOUTHEAST BRAZIL
Status: Open
Nov 1-17, 2025 - Part Two (Fee TBD / 2024=$7475) 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.