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.

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


PERU'S MAGNETIC NORTH: SPATULETAILS, OWLET LODGE & MORE
Status: One space available
Jun 15-27, 2024 ($6675) 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, 2024 ($6275) 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: Open
Sep 27 - Oct 17, 2024 - Part One ($10850) 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: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Oct 31 - Nov 10, 2024 ($5495) 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.
MEXICO: OAXACA VALLEY
Status: Open
Dec 21-28, 2024 ($3450) with Jesse Fagan & Alex Sundvall
Tour Limit: 14
Superb birding with two dozen Mexican endemics and fascinating ruins while based in lovely Oaxaca City.
AMAZONIAN ECUADOR: SACHA LODGE
Status: Open
Jan 7-16, 2025 ($5225) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
One-site tour to one of the most comfortable lodges in western Amazonia with some of the birdiest canopy platforms anywhere.
May be combined with Ecuador's Wildsumaco Lodge
COLOMBIA'S MARVELOUS MAGDALENA VALLEY
Status: One space available
Jan 22 - Feb 1, 2025 ($5575) 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
CENTRAL MEXICO & BAJA: BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES & WHALES
Status: Open
Feb 16-27, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$5850) with Jesse Fagan & Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 12
Specialty birds, wintering Monarchs, and up-close whale encounters on this exciting tour!
WESTERN PANAMA: CHIRIQUI & BOCAS DEL TORO
Status: Open
Mar 11-20, 2025 (Fee TBD) 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.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Apr 5-13, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$4375) with Jesse Fagan & Cory Gregory
Tour Limit: 8
Short birding tour for many specialties and endemics including the unusual Palmchat.
PERU'S MAGNETIC NORTH: SPATULETAILS, OWLET LODGE & MORE
Status: Open
Jun 14-26, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$6675) 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
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Jul 17 - Aug 4, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$13225) with Doug Gochfeld & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 10
Birds-of-paradise and bowerbirds are the crown jewels of one of the most remarkable bird faunas, one that exists alongside equally fascinating and varied cultures.
(New Britain Extension to Aug 9, 2025)
SOUTH AFRICA
Status: Open
Oct 4-26, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$11825) with Tarry Butcher & Jesse Fagan
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 INIRIDA: LAND OF MANY WATERS
Status:
Nov 24 - Dec 1, 2025 (Fee TBD) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 7
A short tour to a new Colombian hotspot with several must-see birds, local culture, and regional cuisine.
May be combined with Colombia's Cloudforests: The Western & Central Andes
COLOMBIA'S CLOUDFORESTS: THE WESTERN & CENTRAL ANDES
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Dec 1-11, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$5495) 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.
May be combined with Colombia's Inirida