Jesse Fagan

Field Guides Leader

Jesse Fagan (a.k.a. the Motmot or just "Mot") has been passionate about birds since his teens, when he had an encounter with a flying Pileated Woodpecker. He has birded extensively throughout North America and in 2016 published the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Northern Central America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) with co-author Oliver Komar and illustrators Robert Dean and Peter Burke. In addition, Mot has experience in many other areas of Central and South America, Europe, and Africa. He likes to think he can bird anywhere at any time and still show you the birds, but most importantly, a good time.

Jesse holds a B.S. and an M.S. in mathematics from Texas Tech University. He is currently living in Lima, Peru with his wife, Rocio.

Scroll down to see Jesse'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
"Jesse is a top-notch birder; his spotting skills are incredible--and almost as importantly, he's excellent at getting people in the group on the birds he's spotted. He's also well-organized, good at handling group logistics, and has a flaming sense of humor, all of which combine to make the tour both rewarding and a lot of fun." S. G., MACHU PICCHU & ABRA MALAGA, PERU

"I'd travel with guide Jesse Fagan again in a heartbeat. He has it all when it comes to guiding. He has excellent birding skills and knowledge...Jesse is a leader and does a great job organizing the trip itinerary, getting us birders from place to place, and seeing to our accommodations. He works well with people at the lodgings, with local bird guides, and the trip participants. Your office service was excellent -- complete, thorough, polite, helpful." C.B., GUATEMALA: SHADE-GROWN BIRDING

"Jesse Fagan is a first-rate guide, combining a great ear and eyes with a congenial personality. He manages the group well while being fun to be with. His organization skills matched his birding skills. We are already signed up for another tour with Jesse. Field Guides is always the best." C.B., PERUVIAN RAINFORESTS OF THE TAMBOPATA

Video from Jesse's tours
Enjoy a video from our 2020 "Central Mexico & Baja: Birds, Butterflies & Whales" tour — great fun!


Jesse's Upcoming Tours


CENTRAL MEXICO & BAJA: BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES & WHALES
Status: Open
Feb 12-23, 2023 ($5450) with Jesse Fagan & Doug Gochfeld
Tour Limit: 12
Specialty birds, wintering Monarchs, and up-close whale encounters on this exciting tour!
BAHAMAS: ENDEMICS & KIRTLAND'S WARBLER
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Mar 18-23, 2023 ($4075) with Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 6
Small-group tour for four Bahamian endemics, several Caribbean endemics, a few early migrants, Kirtland's Warbler, and a sampling of West Indian butterflies; fun, exciting birding at a relaxed pace.
GUATEMALA: SHADE-GROWN BIRDING
Status: Open
Mar 30 - Apr 8, 2023 ($4325) with Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 8
Birding tour for Resplendent Quetzal, a host of hummingbirds, and Azure-rumped Tanager set against a dramatic volcanic landscape and colorful Mayan culture.
(Tikal & Guacamayas Pre-tour Extension from Mar 25, 2023)
FLORIDA: MANGROVES & MIGRANTS
Status: Open
Apr 29 - May 8, 2023 ($4325) with Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 14
A tour for numerous specialties from Central Florida south to the Keys and Dry Tortugas.
PERU'S MAGNETIC NORTH: SPATULETAILS, OWLET LODGE & MORE
Status: Open
Jun 17-29, 2023 ($6275) with Dan Lane & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 12
A 12-day taste of northern Peru's east-slope Andes, including six nights at Owlet Lodge.
May be combined with Machu Picchu & Abra Malaga, Peru
PERUVIAN RAINFORESTS OF THE TAMBOPATA: MACAW LICK EXTRAORDINAIRE
Status: Open
Jul 22 - Aug 1, 2023 ($5950) with Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 8
Three-site tour to the most species-rich rainforest on Earth. Largest known macaw lick, canopy walkway and towers, eagles, and monkeys.
May be combined with Mountains of Manu, Peru
SOUTH AFRICA
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Sep 30 - Oct 22, 2023 (Fee TBD / 2022=$10350) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 10
Endemic-rich birding, spectacular landscapes, and a unique flora are the highlights of our energetic survey tour of this beautiful country.
COLOMBIA'S CLOUDFORESTS: THE WESTERN & CENTRAL ANDES
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Nov 2-12, 2023 (Fee TBD / 2022=$4575) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
Cloud forests of two Colombian cordilleras and their rich assortment of hummingbirds and tanagers are highlights of this escape across the Caribbean to tropical Colombia. Starting in Cali and exiting through Manizales and Bogota, we will use several good city hotels and one simple ecotourism lodge primarily to access Andean forests, but also dry woodland, marshes, and the paramo.
ANTARCTICA, SOUTH GEORGIA & THE FALKLANDS
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Dec 15, 2023 - Jan 5, 2024 (Fee TBD / 2022=$15800) with Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 10
The ultimate seabird and wildlife cruise, including fabulous South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Variable fee depending on cabin choice.
COLOMBIA'S EASTERN CORDILLERA
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Jan 13-21, 2024 (Fee TBD / 2023=$4075) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 7
An endemic-filled week-plus of exciting highland birding, with a pre-tour option to visit the eastern llanos.
(Llanos Pre-trip Extension from Jan 9, 2024)
May be combined with Colombia's Marvelous Magdalena Valley
COLOMBIA'S MARVELOUS MAGDALENA VALLEY
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Jan 21 - Feb 3, 2024 (Fee TBD / 2023=$5975) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 7
A fun, energetic journey through a fabulous birding region, with rare regional and Colombian endemics aplenty and the great spectacle of Oilbirds at Rio Claro!
May be combined with Colombia's Eastern Cordillera or Colombia's Santa Marta Mountains & Caribbean Coast
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Feb 15-23, 2024 (Fee TBD) with Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 6
Short birding tour for many specialties and endemics including the unusual Palmchat.
BAHAMAS: ENDEMICS & KIRTLAND'S WARBLER
Status: Open
Mar 16-21, 2024 (Fee TBD / 2023=$4075) with Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 6
Small-group tour for four Bahamian endemics, several Caribbean endemics, a few early migrants, Kirtland's Warbler, and a sampling of West Indian butterflies; fun, exciting birding at a relaxed pace.
LESSER ANTILLES
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Apr 4-20, 2024 (Fee TBD) with Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 6
Comprehensive tour searching for all the accessible endemics (many highly endangered) of the southern Caribbean on 10 attractive islands.
PERU'S MAGNETIC NORTH: SPATULETAILS, OWLET LODGE & MORE
Status: One space available
Jun 15-27, 2024 (Fee TBD / 2023=$6275) with Dan Lane & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 12
A 12-day taste of northern Peru's east-slope Andes, including six nights at Owlet Lodge.
May be combined with Machu Picchu & Abra Malaga, Peru
COLOMBIA'S CENTRAL ANDES: THE WILD, WONDERFUL NORTH
Status: Open
Jun 29 - Jul 10, 2024 (Fee TBD) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
Rich forests from the foothills to treeline are accessed from good country hotels and comfortable ecotourism lodges at some of Colombia's best private reserves. Many Colombian endemics expected, but the tour is primarily an opportunity to gorge on the birds of the Andes after a short flight across the Caribbean.
PERUVIAN RAINFORESTS OF THE TAMBOPATA: MACAW LICK EXTRAORDINAIRE
Status: Open
Jul 22 - Aug 1, 2024 (Fee TBD / 2023=$5950) with Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 8
Three-site tour to the most species-rich rainforest on Earth. Largest known macaw lick, canopy walkway and towers, eagles, and monkeys.
May be combined with Mountains of Manu, Peru
AUSTRALIA
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Sep 27 - Oct 17, 2024 - Part One (Fee TBD / 2022=$9850) with Chris Benesh & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 12
In two parts for those with limited time. Part I covers the environs of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, southwest Australia, and Alice Springs. Part II begins in Darwin and continues to Queensland (Cairns, Atherton Tableland, Outback Queensland, and O'Reilly's Guest House). Both parts combine for a complete birding tour of Australia. An optional endemic-rich extension to Tasmania follows Part II.
COLOMBIA'S CLOUDFORESTS: THE WESTERN & CENTRAL ANDES
Status: Open
Oct 31 - Nov 10, 2024 (Fee TBD / 2022=$4575) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
Cloud forests of two Colombian cordilleras and their rich assortment of hummingbirds and tanagers are highlights of this escape across the Caribbean to tropical Colombia. Starting in Cali and exiting through Manizales and Bogota, we will use several good city hotels and one simple ecotourism lodge primarily to access Andean forests, but also dry woodland, marshes, and the paramo.
HOLLAND -- BIRDS & ART: WATERFOWL SPECTACLE & DUTCH MASTERS
Status: Open
Dec 1-10, 2024 (Fee TBD / 2022=$5125) with Godfried Schreur & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 12
A tour for some exciting winter birding, in particular waterfowl, combined with an exploration of great Dutch art masters.
MEXICO: OAXACA VALLEY
Status: Open
Dec 21-28, 2024 (Fee TBD / 2023=$3125) with Tom Johnson & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 14
Superb birding with two dozen Mexican endemics and fascinating ruins while based in lovely Oaxaca City.