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Ecuador: Premier Birding Guide Biographical Sketch

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 Colombia 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, Colombia, 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.


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