top of page

Colombia: Key Bird Guides


Lelis Navarrete  

More details about this Trip:

Lelis Navarrete

Lelis Navarrete has nearly twenty years of experience as a birding guide. Lelis has vast experience as tour leader in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Peru, and now Columbia and Panama.  

  • Lelis is regarded as one of the finest birding guides in South America and is often consulted for his knowledge of the birds and their vocalizations.  Lelis is familiar and able to recognize the calls and sounds of some 2,400 South American species, and nearly 8,000 bird vocalizations.  You will find Lelis can find bird species by ear from 200 yards away and help you see the bird species you most desire whether you are in Ecuador or whether you are in Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, or most any part of South America. By my estimates and experience, Lelis' skills will allow you the opportunity to see another 10 to 30 species more per day than other bird guides in South America.

  • His skills and time in the field often support a number of scientific contributions.  The most famous is working with Robert Ridgely in discovering of the Jocotoco Antpitta (a new bird to science), and also with Ridgely on first records of Crested Becard and Spot-throated Hummingbird.  He has contributed to the work of John Moore, including several CDs of Ecuadorian birds songs and calls and including the rediscovery of Striated Antbird.  In solo, he has reported new species for the Ecuador bird list: Andean Tyrant, White-backed Stilt, and Peruvian Antpitta.  When in the field in any country, Lelis can find new species where not found before, extending the known range of several other species in many parts of South America.  

  • When Ridgley returns to South America, he often hires Lelis as a guide in most parts of South America.  

  • Lelis has a degree in biology from the Universidad Catolica in Quito. 

  • Besides being a fantastic bird guide, Lelis supports a number of conservation efforts.  He has been, and continues to serve, on the Board of the Jocotoco Foundation (since its conception).   

  • Lelis has always received the highest rankings from client comments.  His tour participants use him as a benchmark for all birding guides worldwide. In addition to his strong background as a field naturalist birder, Lelis is unparalleled for his people skills, attentiveness, humor and organizational skills.

  • Lelis, along with Xavier Munoz and Mercedes Rivadeneira, is one of the owners of Neblina International.

Bill Murphy

 A lifelong, passionate birder originally from northern New York state, Bill Murphy's interest in birds began at age five, when his birding father pointed out a very close Least Bittern and then started taking little Billy with him on birding trips. The family moved to Maryland in 1964, he became friends with expert naturalists throughout the National Capitol area. He spent summers working with endangered species of birds at a nearby federal research center. After earning his degree in biology, Bill started guiding tours, mostly east of the Mississippi, from Maine to Florida and from Ontario to Texas. Birding quickly took him to many other corners of the world as well. He wrote The Birder’s Guide to Trinidad & Tobago and has led 93 tours to that destination so far, more than anyone else in history, and he recently helped produce a mobile app for identifying the birds of T&T. His passion for education has led him to serve on the Trinidad & Tobago, Ohio, and Indiana rare bird committees.  Many of his 100+ publications have focused on the status and distributions of birds, while other papers have focused on insects, including descriptions of new species. His major interests are field identification, especially vocalizations, and bird distribution and migratory routes. He stepped down this year after 15 years of serving as newsletter editor for the largest Audubon society in the state to allow more time for travel. Bill lives near Indianapolis with his partner, April, who he met—no surprise—while birding. When not guiding tours or birding in some remote area, he serves as research collaborator with the Smithsonian Institution, investigating the taxonomy of snail-killing flies.

bottom of page