The Team

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João Jara

João was born in Lisbon and studied Biology at the Faculdade de Ciências de Lisboa, from where he developed his professional career in the pharmaceutical industry, as senior manager and director of various multinational companies. With some 40 years of field experience, he has an intimate knowledge of the birds and birding in Portugal. He has travelled extensively in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas with birding as the main objective. João was a member of the national board of SPEA (BirdlLife International partner in Portugal) and was a voting member of the Portuguese Rarities Committee from 2005 until 2011 and chairman of the committee from 2007 until 2011. Author and co-author of articles about birds, João is also co-author of the book Where to Watch Birds in Southern Portugal. In 2008, he launched the first Portuguese company totally dedicated to the organization of birdwatching tours, Birds & Nature Tours Portugal, which he manages and guides many of its tours, as well as presenting bird identification courses. Besides birds, he has an active special interest in amphibians, reptiles and fish.

Bernardo Barreto

Bernardo was born in Lisbon and has been passionate about nature since he was a child. He has a degree in Human Resources Management and developed his work in this area with several national and international companies in the hospitality and tourism industry, taking on different management positions which deepened his appreciation of the issues of training, development and quality of service. Bernardo also teaches at Lisbon’s Hospitality & Tourism School, where he has worked since 2009. Motivated by a passion for all things related to the environment, nature and tourism, he began collaborating with Birds & Nature in the area of business development. In order to deepen his expertise in that discipline, he later obtained a post graduate qualification in Ecotourism. He has more than 20 years’ experience of birding and over the last few years has guided hundreds of birding tours in Portugal, especially in the Lisbon estuaries area. Bernardo is also an enthusiastic and accomplished photographer and is fluent in both English and French. He has guided for Birds & Nature since 2009 and is one of its principal guides.

Helder Cardoso

Helder was born in west Portugal and began birding at the age of 11. Having developed his skills as a bird bander, with special focus on moult in passerines, he was a founding member and is the vice-president of the Portuguese Association of Bird Banders (APAA). His considerable knowledge in the field of ornithology has led him to writing and co-authoring several articles and books on the subject as well as becoming, in 2018, a voting member of the Portuguese Rarities Committee. He has worked all over Portugal in various environmental impact assessment and academic projects, which have enabled him to gain substantial experience of less studied habitats and their associated species. Besides birding, he also dedicates time to other winged groups such as moths, butterflies and dragonflies. Helder is a keen and enthusiastic nature communicator. He has guided for Birds & Nature since 2015 and is one of its principal guides.

António Cotão

António was born in Portalegre, North Alentejo and studied Biology at the University of Algarve. He grew up in a small village where he developed a special connection with nature from a very early age. After his studies, he spent time as a volunteer in wildlife conservation. He eventually started working in a wildlife rescue centre and, some years later, in an environmental organisation focusing on birdlife studies and conservation. António has 15 years’ field experience in Southern Portugal and has a great knowledge of its biodiversity and birdlife in particular. He regularly travels abroad to birdwatch and, apart from birds, enjoys hiking and has an interest in butterflies, mammals and flowers. He is active in the preservation of the environment and is committed to wildlife conservation, supporting several projects on biodiversity conservation. António has guided for Birds & Nature since 2022.

Guillaume Réthoré

Guillaume was born in Western France and became interested in nature at a young age. He began birding at the age of 15, going out every Sunday morning with a local group. That lead him to study Biology and specialize in wetland ecology at the University of Angers (Western France). He trained at several nature reserves in France, studying Red Knots and European Pond Turtles. He was involved with the LPO (BirdLife International partner in France) in his region, becoming a member of the local committee and taking part in various bird monitoring and census projects. In 2009, he worked in Texas, studying Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler at Texas A&M University. Guillaume moved to Portugal in 2010 where he trained as a bird ringer and is a member of the National Directorate of the Portuguese Association of Bird Banders (APAA). He regularly collaborates with SPEA (BirdLife International partner in Portugal). He is a regional coordinator for the common bird census and an eBird reviewer. He works regularly with environmental consultancy companies, focusing mostly on raptor migration but also on environmental impact assessment in North Africa. Guillaume has birdwatched in more than 10 countries and has guided for Birds & Nature since 2022.

João Tiago Tavares

João Tiago fell in love with birds while studying Biology in Évora (Southern Portugal). He has been an ornithologist since 1999, having studied, counted and monitored birds via radio and satellite, varying from steppe birds to passerines and North Atlantic seabirds to birds of prey (including fieldwork in Turkey and Egypt). Some of his work has focused on the ecology of such charismatic species as Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Spectacled Warbler, Little Bustard and Bonelli's Eagle. He has been a regional volunteer coordinator for two different national atlas projects, was a voting member of the Portuguese Rarities Committee from 2012 until 2019, and since 2015 has been a local reviewer for eBird in the Algarve. Outside Portugal, he has watched birds in 16 countries mostly in Europe, Africa and South America. He is also dedicated to science communication, especially as an illustrator, having illustrated birds in several Portuguese publications. João Tiago has guided birdwatching tours for Birds & Nature since 2014 and is one of its principal guides.

Ray Tipper

Ray is a life-long birdwatcher who left his native Britain in 1973 and spent most of the next 22 years in Hong Kong where he was a trustee of WWF and became intimately involved with its renowned Mai Po Nature Reserve. He has wide-ranging field experience in both the Palearctic and Nearctic regions and is especially familiar with birdwatching in Portugal, a fact that was recognized in 2007 with his appointment as a member, and in 2017 the chairman, of the Portuguese Rarities Committee. He led his first birdwatching tours in 1997, since when he has guided more than 100 bird and bird photography tours in Europe, North, Central and South America, Asia and Africa (including Madagascar). He has authored some 20 papers and articles and is the author/co-author of three books – A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Hong Kong, Algarve Wildlife – the Natural Year and Where to Watch Birds in Southern Portugal, but is best known as a bird photographer whose work is published all over the world. He has guided for Birds & Nature since 2014.

Ricardo Tomé

Ricardo is an ornithologist and ecology expert with a huge passion for owls, which led him to a Ph.D. on the ecology of Barn and Little Owls in Mediterranean habitats. A birdwatcher since he was 10, Ricardo has been working professionally in ornithology for the past 30 years. Apart from owls, the main subjects of interest are bird migration, raptors and the use of radar in the study of bird movements. He has been involved both as a coordinator and field worker in the main national bird monitoring schemes, such as breeding birds atlas, common bird census and migratory soaring birds monitoring. He is the scientific director of an international environmental consultancy, mostly dealing with the impact of wind energy on wildlife and how to mitigate adverse effects. In this context he has conducted extensive ornithological work in different regions of Africa and the Middle East. Ricardo is also very solidly committed to nature conservation. He maintains an enduring relationship with SPEA (BirdLife International partner in Portugal), a body he helped to found and was a member of its national board and the steering committee of the general assembly between 1995 and 2006. He was then president of the national board from 2006 to 2010. Ricardo has guided birdwatching tours for Birds & Nature since 2009.

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Photos by Pedro Marques