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


COLOMBIA: THE LLANOS & MORE
Status: Open
Nov 7-17, 2020 ($4875) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
A short but bird-rich small-group tour to the llanos of eastern Colombia for Pale-headed Jacamar, and White-bearded Flycatcher, among others, plus several sites near the capital city of Bogota for a fine variety of endemics and specialties.
LESSER ANTILLES
Status: Open
Dec 3-19, 2020 ($10575) 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.
COLOMBIA: BOGOTA, THE MAGDALENA VALLEY & SANTA MARTA
Status: Open
Jan 9-24, 2021 ($7975) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 6
Energetic, endemic-oriented (30+) tour connecting reserves up the Magdalena Valley from Bogota to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
CENTRAL MEXICO & BAJA: BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES & WHALES
Status: Open
Feb 6-17, 2021 ($4925) with Micah Riegner & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 12
Specialty birds, wintering Monarchs, and up-close whale encounters on this exciting tour!
WESTERN PANAMA: CHIRIQUI & BOCAS DEL TORO
Status: Open
Feb 26 - Mar 7, 2021 ($4175) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
A tour to two Panamanian destinations located in the Chiriqui highlands and Caribbean lowlands at Bocas del Toro.
May be combined with Panama's Canopy Tower & Lodge
BAHAMAS: ENDEMICS & KIRTLAND'S WARBLER
Status: One space available
Mar 13-17, 2021 ($3475) 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.
BELIZE: TROPICAL BIRDING, SHORT AND SWEET
Status: Open
Mar 20-27, 2021 ($3975) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
Two wonderful lodges for a rewarding tropical birding experience in this English-speaking country, including some regional specialties. Great as an intro to or continuation of your Neotropical birding.
GUATEMALA: SHADE-GROWN BIRDING
Status: Open
Apr 1-10, 2021 ($3975) 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 27, 2021)
SPAIN: LA MANCHA, COTO DONANA & EXTREMADURA
Status: Open
May 1-13, 2021 ($4675) with Godfried Schreur & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 12
To La Mancha, famous Coto Donana, Extremadura, and the Gredos Mountains for some of Europe's best birding.
CENTRAL PERUVIAN ENDEMICS: THE HIGH ANDES
Status: Open
May 28 - Jun 13, 2021 (Fee TBD) with Dan Lane & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 12
High Andean endemics of central Peru on our birding tour to extraordinarily scenic settings, including Huascaran National Park, Lake Junin, and the Carpish Mountains.
PERU'S MAGNETIC NORTH: SPATULETAILS, OWLET LODGE & MORE
Status: One space available
Jun 19 - Jul 1, 2021 ($5825) 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
Jul 5-16, 2021 ($4850) 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 20-30, 2021 (Fee TBD / 2020=$6350) 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
MOROCCO
Status: Open
Sep 6-21, 2021 (Fee TBD / 2020=$4575) with Jesse Fagan & Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 10
Endemic, rare, and specialty birds from coastal wetlands and towering cliffs to the Atlas Mountains and the northwest corner of the Sahara.
(Canary Island Extension to Sep 26, 2021)
May be combined with France: Camargue & Pyrenees
COLOMBIA'S CLOUDFORESTS: THE WESTERN & CENTRAL ANDES
Status: Waitlisted
Nov 5-14, 2021 (Fee TBD / 2020=$4225) 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.
GULF OF CALIFORNIA: MEXICO'S RICH DESERT COAST
Status: Open
Dec 5-11, 2021 (Fee TBD) with Micah Riegner & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 12
A week-long get-away to explore the islands, estuaries, and cactus forests near Kino Bay.