James's teenage years took him through Europe, North America and ultimately Asia, thinking nothing of skipping college lessons for a long trip to India! Since graduating from (and during!) university he has concentrated his birding activities within the region, studying the birds and building an intimate knowledge of their identification, vocalisations and behaviour. This has resulted in the discovery of, at least, four undescribed species to science in Indonesia, as well as numerous rediscoveries during his visits to over 70 islands within the archipelago.
The culmination of his field-time has resulted in the publication of over 70 manuscripts and articles, primarily on birds but also mammals, in the past 15 years, and lead-author of the recently published field guide, Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago.
James has a PhD in social sciences, having studied taxonomically cryptic avian species of the region and their conservation status. A keen conservationist, with a particular interest in trying to put an end to the illegal bird trade in Asia by surveying and monitering bird markets, and member of several IUCN specialist groups.
Like all our leaders, James has more than a passing interest in the mammals of the region, and is attempting to see all of Asia's megafauna and primates (a very slow, drawn-out and often frustrating process!), and delights in sharing his knowledge of them with others.
Rob began birding almost as soon as he could lift a pair of binoculars and foreign travel soon developed this into a passion for world birding, with a special interest in the birds of the Oriental region. Since graduating with a BSc in genetics he has travelled throughout the region spending several years in the field, visiting many remote areas in search of the regions very rarest birds. Rob is an accomplished photographer and keen sound recordist who has authored many scientific papers on the vocalisations, distribution and taxonomy of the region’s birds including several elevating little-known forms to species rank. His main interested is his adopted country of the Philippines where he has seen most extant species and co-authored A Naturalists guide to the birds of the Philippines, and is passionately involved in the conservation of the islands. His travels across the region have netted more than 2,800 species - likely more than anyone else - and he enjoys sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with others.
Mike Nelson has been a birder since he was six, when he became fascinated with the birds in his English garden. With a father in the oil industry, he grew up in the Middle East and the Caribbean, eventually settling in the United States in 1980. Having lived in and travelled to over 40 countries he is an experienced world birder and as an avid sound recorder, he has logged over 10,000 sound recordings.
Mike developed a particular interest in Asia during his birding travels and having led numerous tours in Asia, working as a full-time guide for Birdtour Asia was a natural progression to share his knowledge and enthusiam on tours throughout our region. He is now a firm favourite on several of our tours where he now spends far more time on tours than he does at home!
Born and raised in Spain, birds have been a passion for Carlos since he was very young, but it wasn’t until just a few years ago he found his true home in Asia, during an extended trip to India. Repeated trips to Asia, for months on end, took him to most countries of the region, from Iran to Laos and from Northern China to Indonesia. Indonesia particularly captured his imagination and he has spent much time learning the language and immersing himself in the rich cultures, amazed by the nature, amazing endemicity of the birdlife, and the Indonesian way of life.
He is a regular contributor of high-quality photographs in a variety of publications and has built a fine reputation as a guide across Europe and North Africa and is reveling in the chance to share his Asian expertise too, especially within Indonesia, and the Middle-east after spending a prolonged period of time discovering the charms of Iran. Since moving to Indonesia he has also developed an obsession with finding and identifying little-known mammals of the region, particularly the Papuan marsupials and photographing bats.
Wilbur is a Malaysian who started birding in his early teens, an obsession which has blossomed into a lifelong love affair with the region’s birds. Having travelled the length and breadth of the country for birding, Wilbur knows intimately the habits and calls of Malaysian birds. He has led numerous trips and field surveys as a member of Malaysian Nature Society, spending hours in the field honing his field skills, before deciding to be a full-time guide.
Birding in other countries like China, Taiwan, India and Indonesia has also helped him to broaden his experience but Malaysia is his specialty, along with West Papua now! Whether in the field or out of it, he is always keen to share his knowledge and passion for the local avifauna. Few birders know Malaysian birds as intimately as Wilbur - there is no better person to share the country's birds with.
Shashank is a researcher, conservationist and entrepreneur from India with more than 20 years of field experience and an immense knowledge of the natural history of the country. His work has led to the discovery of the new bird species, Himalayan Forest Thrush, apart from several rediscoveries and range extensions across almost all vertebrate taxa in India. His research work on birds also includes understanding biogeographic barriers on population genetics and the impact of land use change on bird communities.
Shashank was also instrumental in exposing the mass-scale hunting of Amur Falcons in Nagaland and subsequently designing a conservation action for the species. In 2015, Shashank completed a Big Year in India, with 1128 species seen just within the country. This led to him developing a mobile application called Vannya to get more Indians to actively start watching birds. The application is now used by more than 50,000 people across the world. For 15 years, Shashank has been juggling all his research, conservation and education work with guiding bird tours because he enjoys the challenge and the constant reminder of the reason he fell in love with India's wildlife.
Pete started birding around Britain as a kid, graduated to Western Palaearctic trips in his twenties and world birding in his thirties. He left the UK for good in 2006 on a world trip that took in all seven continents in the first two years. His first trip to Philippines was in 2007 and he returned regularly between tours around Southeast Asia, eventually settling permanently in Davao, Southern Mindanao in 2010.
Pete has been working since with the Philippine Eagle Foundation, Regional Department of Environment on shorebird and raptor migration and with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines to introduce more people to birdwatching. He is undoubtedly the the most active and knowledgeable birder in Mindanao and between guiding tours Pete is busy exploring Mindanao and adjacent area of the Visayas, finding new sites and studying its least-known birds.
On top of the broad range of scheduled tours offered, we offer a range of custom tours, whether it be extensions to the advertised scheduled tours, but also stand-alone tours. Using Birdtour Asia in-house expertise we can tailor the custom tours to suit your requirements. We use a number of locally-based guides for this, including the following:
Majored as an International Tour Guide in China and after graduation from college, he guided numerous cultural tours throughout China for several years before he peered through a birders telescope at Poyang Lake in 2008 and discovered a new passion! This was his life-changing moment and since then has become a top birder, and proficient in leading birding tours throughout China. He has co-led several tours with Birdtour Asia since 2013 and already solo-guided several of our private, custom tours. Steven is able to lead private tours throughout China, including targeted trips for the rarest species.
Sayam has been working in behavioural ecology, research and conservation of globally threatened species in Bangladesh and abroad for the last ten years, especially on Critically Endangered birds including Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Baer’s Pochard, Endangered Masked Finfoot and vanishing riverine birds. His undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, coupled with international training and an MPhil in Biodiversity Conservation from the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, has further cemented his footing in Conservation Science. Working in close quarters with local communities has helped him gather unique experiences as an advocate of nature, inspiring people and being inspired at the same time.
He is Assistant Coordinator of the International Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force. His other notable works include gathering scientific knowledge on the secretive Masked Finfoot, identifying conservation problems and actions to address those, leading forest bird monitoring programme at 15 PAs in Bangladesh and proposing two new protected areas in Bangladesh based on his work on riverine birds. He serves as a member to the IUCN Species Survival Commission. On top of all that, he's a very keen birder!
Mony was born in Siem Reap, and still lives there today, where he is one of the chief guides at the Sam Veasna Centre. The Sam Veasna Centre was set up as a conservation initiative to promote community-based ecotourism projects throughout Cambodia. Highly success, and the winner of many awards, Mony has been central to its success, being the centre's longest service guide. He has been co-leading our scheduled tours for many years now, and regularly guides our custom tours to his beautiful country.
Known for his cheeky smile and personality, he adds an extra dimension to our Cambodia tours. Not only that, he is the leading bird guide in the country, with his initimate knowledge of the culture, communities, wildlife, and of course first-and-foremost, the birds.
Hery is a senior ranger of Bali Barat National Park in Bali, Indonesia.
He has worked tirelessly for the protection of the Critically Endangered Bali Myna conservation program for several years now, empowering locals community around the park. He started birding at an early age and has extensive experience leading custom birding tours for Birdtour Asia for several years now, primarily in East Java and his native Bali.
His patience, passion and keen eye are already well-known, add to that his ever-present smile he’s been a firm favourite with all of our participants. Whether it be an extension to a scheduled tour or a stand-alone tour we are able to offer the best opportunities to see the Java and Bali specialties with Hery.
Born and raised in Aceh, the northernmost provice of Sumatra, Agus has been a birder since 2007. A qualified vet, his first experience of birding in Sumatra was part of a migratory water-birds survey studying Avian Influenza in Sumatra, since which time he has spent many years conducting and organizing exploration within Leuser Ecosystem Forest in Aceh and is currently very active in promoting tourism through a Birds conservation awareness program in Aceh.
He has taken numerous birding trips across Sumatra including several scheduled and custom tours with us. A competent photographer, he enjoys sharing his passion for birds via his blog, tours and workshops and can take people on custom tours throughout Sumatra including clean-up trips for the toughest endemics.
Born and raised in the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo, it was little surprise that Yeo grew up influenced by the natural world. He was involved in numerous expeditions to remote areas of this rich island, and he can include the rediscovery of Black Oriole among his achievements. Although his first love has always been birds he is renowned for his all-round expertise in Borneo’s organisms, including finding a new species of pitcher plant, Nepenthes appendiculata, and was the first person to record the sound of a rare, fossorial frog species - Gastrophrynoides borneensis.
Yeo is a keen conservationist, heavily involved with the Malaysia Nature Society and the Sarawak Forest Department, for whom he surveys the states National Parks. A Sarawak tour with Yeo will not only be productive birdwise, but an all-round nature experience as he enjoys sharing his knowledge with participants.
Born and raised in the metropolis of Jakarta, Khaleb was soon venturing outside of the urban sprawl while still a kid, where he soon gained an appreciation for birds and mammals. Since then he has gained an intimate knowledge of the endemics and specialities of Java, Bali and Sumatra with a particular emphasis on west Java, where he has shared many of his adventures with his brother, Boas.
He has been involved in several bird research monitoring projects, including taking boats off Java for Burung Laut Indonesia as a member of the Seabird Working Group, and avifaunal studies in the Moluccas. Khaleb is the perfect guide for custom tours throughout Java and Sumatra.
Richard hails from the lake district of Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, but has lived in Taiwan for over 20 years. For several years now he has been sharing the amazing birdlife and other wild creatures with visitors from overseas who never fail to be impressed by the natural history and stunning scenery on offer, all of course delivered with a smile and the famous Irish sense of humour! Richard guides all of of scheduled and custom tours to the aptly named ‘Isla Formosa’ or ‘the beautiful island’.