Steve Howell has been birding for as long as he can remember: of course, this may simply mean that his memory isn’t very good. But the many who have traveled with him over his more than 25 years of leading tours around the world soon learn that birding can be great fun, as well as being a way to enjoy and learn, to see new birds and new worlds.
Steve was born in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, and spent his formative years birding throughout Britain before venturing farther afield. After university he planned a couple of years of travel before settling down, but by a series of coincidences ended up in Mexico. And so began a 14-year venture culminating in the publication of A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America, co-authored with Sophie Webb. Steve recently celebrated 30 years of birding and travel in Mexico, a truly magical country full of amazing birds. Away from land, he is a world-renowned expert on seabirds, and has spent over three years of his life at sea and encountered over 95% of the world’s tubenoses.
Concurrent with researching the Mexico guide, writing became a habit. Steve has authored and co-authored several other books, including A Bird-finding Guide to Mexico (1999), Hummingbirds of North America: the Photographic Guide (2002), the Peterson Reference Guide to Gulls of the Americas (2007, with Jon Dunn), and recently the widely acclaimed Peterson Reference Guide to Molt in North American Birds (2010), which makes the subject of molt fascinating and fun—really! He has also written many scientific and popular articles, ranging from the identification of petrels and frigatebirds to the taxonomy of tapaculos and hummingbirds and molt in woodpeckers and skuas. His “chronic” writing habit was recognized in 2005, when the American Birding Association presented him with the Robert Ridgway Award for publications in field ornithology. Steve serves on the editorial board of Cotinga (the journal of the Neotropical Bird Club) and is a Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences, former book review editor for Western Birds, and a former member of the California Bird Records Committee.
Interests beyond birds include butterflies, tequila, and chocolate (the last two come originally from Mexico, which may be no coincidence).
- Ecuador: The Amazon Lowlands 2 (August 2017)
- Chile: Tierra del Fuego to the Atacama Desert (October 2017)
- Mexico: The Lacandon Rainforest and Maya Ruins (January 2018)
- Mexico: Colima and Jalisco (January 2018)
Updated: March 2008