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


MACHU PICCHU & ABRA MALAGA, PERU
Status: Open
Oct 8-17, 2021 ($4550) with Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 9
Southern Peru's east-slope, temperate birding at its best featuring several endemics and scenic Andean puna; also Machu Picchu and great subtropical birding on and near lovely hotel grounds.
COLOMBIA'S CLOUDFORESTS: THE WESTERN & CENTRAL ANDES
Status: Waitlisted
Nov 5-14, 2021 ($4325) 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.
BELIZE: TROPICAL BIRDING, SHORT AND SWEET
Status: Open
Nov 21-28, 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.
GULF OF CALIFORNIA: MEXICO'S RICH DESERT COAST
Status: Waitlisted
Dec 5-11, 2021 ($2975) with Micah Riegner & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 12
A week-long get-away to explore the islands, estuaries, and cactus forests near Kino Bay.
COLOMBIA'S EASTERN CORDILLERA
Status: One space available
Jan 23-31, 2022 ($3925) 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 from Jan 19, 2022)
WESTERN PANAMA: CHIRIQUI & BOCAS DEL TORO
Status: Open
Feb 25 - Mar 6, 2022 (Fee TBD / 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
LESSER ANTILLES
Status: Waitlisted
Mar 24 - Apr 9, 2022 (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.
FLORIDA: MANGROVES & MIGRANTS
Status: Open
May 7-16, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$3550) 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: Waitlisted
Jun 18-30, 2022 (Fee TBD / 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: Waitlisted
Jul 2-13, 2022 (Fee TBD / 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: Waitlisted
Jul 23 - Aug 2, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$5525) 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
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Status: Waitlisted
Sep 1-19, 2022 (Fee TBD) 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 Sep 24, 2022)
MOROCCO
Status: Open
Oct 10-25, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$4575) with Jesse Fagan
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.
COLOMBIA'S CLOUDFORESTS: THE WESTERN & CENTRAL ANDES
Status: Waitlisted
Nov 4-13, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$4325) 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.