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


WESTERN PANAMA: CHIRIQUI & BOCAS DEL TORO
Status: Open
Feb 25 - Mar 6, 2022 ($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: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Mar 30 - Apr 3, 2022 (Fee TBD / 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.
May be combined with Dominican Republic
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Apr 4-8, 2022 (Fee TBD) with Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 6
Short birding tour for many specialties and endemics including the unusual Palmchat.
May be combined with Bahamas
FLORIDA: MANGROVES & MIGRANTS
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
May 7-16, 2022 ($3875) 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: Provisionally full; waitlist available
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: Provisionally full; waitlist available
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: Provisionally full; waitlist available
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: Provisionally full; waitlist available
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: Provisionally full; waitlist available
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: Provisionally full; waitlist available
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.
COLOMBIA'S EASTERN CORDILLERA
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Jan 14-22, 2023 (Fee TBD / 2022=$3925) with Jesse Fagan & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
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 10, 2023)
May be combined with Colombia's Marvelous Magdalena Valley
COLOMBIA'S MARVELOUS MAGDALENA VALLEY
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Jan 22 - Feb 4, 2023 (Fee TBD / 2022=$5725) 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 12-23, 2023 (Fee TBD / 2022=$5150) with Jesse Fagan & Doug Gochfeld
Tour Limit: 12
Specialty birds, wintering Monarchs, and up-close whale encounters on this exciting tour!
WESTERN PANAMA: CHIRIQUI & BOCAS DEL TORO
Status: One space available
Feb 24 - Mar 5, 2023 (Fee TBD / 2022=$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: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Mar 18-22, 2023 (Fee TBD / 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.
GUATEMALA: SHADE-GROWN BIRDING
Status: Open
Mar 30 - Apr 8, 2023 (Fee TBD) 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 (Fee TBD / 2022=$3875) 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 (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
PERUVIAN RAINFORESTS OF THE TAMBOPATA: MACAW LICK EXTRAORDINAIRE
Status: Open
Jul 22 - Aug 1, 2023 (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
SOUTH AFRICA
Status: Open
Sep 30 - Oct 22, 2023 (Fee TBD / 2021=$9975) 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: One space available
Nov 3-12, 2023 (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.
ANTARCTICA: ANTARCTIC PENINSULA, SOUTH GEORGIA & THE FALKLANDS
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Nov 27 - Dec 18, 2023 (Fee TBD / 2022=$16000) 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.