Take a look at our expert guides
Santi Villa - Director and principal leader
Member of the local environmental association ADENEX (from Extremadura) and co-founder of the SEO-Cáceres group, Santiago runs Spainbirds Nature Tours since the beginning in 1999. He has also led tours for some of the well known UK and American tour companies such as Sunbird, Wings, Heatherlea, The Travelling Naturalist, Celtic Bird Tours (now Oriol Birding), Jaeger Tours (now Wildside Tours) and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours as well as for ABA (American Birding Association) and several RSPB local groups. Santiago has also taken part as an expert in Ecoturism in meetings and conferences in different localities of Spain such as Madrid, Cádiz, Trujillo, Monfragüe and Doñana, as well as in Lisbon (Portugal). He also has a proved experience leading tours into another countries such as Morocco, The Gambia, Costa Rica, Portugal, Scotland and Norway... and he has co-led tours to Uganda, Romania, The Netherlands, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Turkey, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Kazakhstan and India.
John Muddeman - Principal leader
A naturalist at heart, including a particular interest in orchids, dragonflies, butterflies and moths, birds however have been his principal focus from the beginning, having accrued almost 40 years of birdwatching experience. Following post-graduate research work on passerines at Oxford University extensive volunteer work in Armenia lead to almost a year in the United States helping write and giving advice on production of the Field Guide to the Birds of Armenia. A translator and writer too, he published A Birdwatching Guide to Extremadura in 2000 and is working on The Birds of the Balearic Islands too. Apart from specialising as a guide in Spain -from the Canary Islands to the Balearics, the Pyrenees and Picos de Europa-, he has also lead in such classic destinations as Scotland, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Lesvos, as well as further afield in Canada, Galápagos & Ecuador, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa and New Zealand.
Rafa R. Porrino - Local guide in Andalucia
Birds, mammals, dragonflies, amphibians and reptiles, plants…Rafa Porrino was attracted to all of these wild things from the time he was a young boy growing up in the village of Aracena in the province of Huelva, Spain. He loves traveling to new lands, discovering flora and fauna and has been to Ecuador, Turkey, Uruguay, South Aftrica, Morocco, the USA, Poland, The Netherlands and Greece, among others, and of course, has traveled extensively throughout Spain. He currently works as an independent ornithologist and an environmental consultant, taking part in bird studies and censuses as well as guiding tours. Among his main projects he has worked tracking and monitoring the population of Spanish Imperial Eagles in Andalucia, promoted ecotourism in the Sierra Morena, acted as an advisor to bed and breakfast establishments and rural hotels and has been involved in the census of wetland passerine birds in Portugal. He is the author of several guides about birdwatching and wildlife in the Spanish Sierra Morena (4 volumes).
Javi Elorriaga - Local guide in Andalucia & Morocco
Javi Elorriaga has worked as field ornithologist on international projects including the conservation of the Cinereous Vulture in the Balkans (WWF-Greece) and the Bearded Vulture in the Pyrenees and Picos de Europa (FCQ), monitoring of bird migration in the Strait of Gibraltar (Migres), the Osprey in the Basque Country, and the migration geography of the Turkey Vulture (Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, USA). Javi has participated in over 30 scientific papers and has also been a member of the Spanish Committee of Rare Birds (SEO/Birdlife). Wildlife photography is another of his great passions. Since 2012 he is a full time nature guide based in Tarifa and leads tours for international tour operators throughout Spain and Morocco.
Ricardo Montero - Local guide in Extremadura
Ricardo was born in San Sebastian (Basque Country) but spent his early childhood in Barcelona before moving definitively to Exremadura. He now lives near the well-known Monfrague National Park in Extremadura, where he has worked almost exclusively around the southwest corner of Spain and the Extremadura region as a private nature and birdwatching guide for independent travelers for more than 15 years. Currently he is collaborating with the Extremadura Regional Government on several projects such as organizing the first ever Spanish Birdwatching Fair (FIO), the Crane Festival and other promotional activities related to Eco-tourism. The mountains of Gredos, the Caceres steppes, Monfrague National Park and the Arrocampo wetlands are his main birding spots. He also collaborates as a bird guide for Spainbirds, Iberian Nature, ECOTUREX, Norfolk Birding or Ramblers, just to mention a few of the most well-known companies. He is a member of GUIDEX (Extremadura Professional Nature Guides Association).
Oriol Baena - Local guide in Catalonia
Interested in birds since he was just 8, Oriol’s passion began with an innocent gift from his uncle – his first pair of binoculars and a beginner’s guide to Spanish birds. In spite of his youth, Oriol has dedicated several years to the census for the Catalan Breeding and Wintering Bird Atlas (SOCC) and to studying other taxonomic groups such as amphibians and reptiles, opisthobranchs and orchids. He has a degree in Environmental Sciences from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). His special areas of interest are Applied Ecology and Geographical Botanical Analysis, in addition to his other passion, Geographical Information Systems (GIS). He has also been guiding locally in the Ebro Delta and Catalan Pyrenees for several NGO’s such as ADENC or SEO/BirdLife. He has led tours for Spainbirds Nature Tours in Catalonia, Extremadura, Picos de Europa and the Spanish Pyrenees. Oriol is a member of the Catalan Institute of Ornithology (ICO), the Catalan Herpetology Society and Catalan Research Group of Opisthobranchs (GROC).