Our Team

Arturo Kirkconnell Sr
Arturo Kirkconnell SrBird guide and Photographer

Arturo Kirkconnell is the bird curator at the National Museum of Natural History of Cuba. His curriculum vitae includes 77 scientific papers and he is the co-author of two books: A Field Guide to the Birds of Cuba, and A Birdwatchers’ Guide to Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and the Caymans. At present he is working in another project: The birds of Cuba that will be published by the BOU Checklist Series. Arturo has been leading birding tours in his native Cuba since 1988. To date he has guided more than 200 birding groups. He designed the present birding itinerary and the main birding strategies in Cuba.

Arturo Kirkconnell Jr
Arturo Kirkconnell JrBird guide and Photographer

Arturo Kirkconnell Jr, born and race in Havana Cuba, he studied Computer Science, but since the age of 12 he has been birding and traveling through all the country with his father Arturo Kirkconnell, participating in many of his expedition and bird research as his field assistant.

The first tour he leads was for British birders at the age of twenty. Since then he has been doing it. At present, he is 30 years old and currently working on several projects on the birds of Cuba, as the Photographic Field Guide To The Birds Of Cuba, an App for the Birds of Cuba as many others.

MS. Xochitl Ayón Güemes
MS. Xochitl Ayón Güemes Bird guide

MSc. Xochitl Ayón Güemes, bird curator at the National Museum of Natural History of Cuba. Graduated of Biology at University of Havana, Cuba and Master degree at International University of Andalucia, Spain. Has several scientific published papers and presentations on scientific events. Is coauthor on chapters of two books: Las Aves de Cuba and Libro Rojo de los Vertebrados de Cuba. Has worked in different environmental educational projects for children of urban and rural places. Has received training in Collection Management at National Museum of Natural History, Smithsoniam Institution and in monitoring bird communities at Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. At the present she is working on scientific project with American Museum of Natural History of NY, to study Cuban birds and collaborate
with Cuba Exhibition in than prestigious institution.

Luis M. Diaz
Luis M. DiazBird & Herps guide

Luis M. Díaz, PhD, has been a curator at the National Museum of Natural History in Havana since 1998. He is an enthusiastic birder and long term naturalist. He has guided natural history tours in Cuba for over seventeen years, and he has been a bird guide since 2003. He has led over sixty birding tours in Cuba, and he is very popular with birders as a guide. He has guided with well-known American birders, including Jon Dunn and David Sibley.

His research is focused on the taxonomy and conservation of Cuban amphibians and reptiles. He has over one hundred published works, including the  Guía Taxonómica de los Anfibios de Cuba. Luis has described twenty new species of herps for Cuba and the Dominican Republic. He has traveled as a researcher or lecturer, including to the Dominican Republic, Germany, Japan, Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras, Guadaloupe, Italy, Canada and the United Sates. Despite his specialized research profile, he loves guiding bird-watchers, as they are interested in birds and other wildlife in Cuba.

Alejandro Llanes
Alejandro LlanesBirds & Plants guide

Alejandro works as an ecologist, naturalist and bird guide. He has worked as a bird guide in Cuba for over twenty-five years, guiding more than a hundred thirty tours there. In the last three years, he has been guiding about a dozen tours each year.

Besides working as a birding guide, Alejandro is as an ecologist at the Institute of Ecology and Systematics of the Ministry of Science Technology and Environment (since 1998).

Alejandro has completed a master’s degree in ecology and applied systematics. He continues his studies with nearly thirty post-graduate courses completed.

Alejandro is also widely published. He has been the first author on twenty publications, and has co-authored thirty additional publications. His publications have appeared in Poeyana, Biological Sciences, Zoological Miscellany, Neotropical Ornithology, The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology, Ecopolis, Journal of Field Ornithology, and American Bird Banding. Some of his works are included in three books, “Aves de Cuba” (published in Finland in 2002), Ecosistema Sabana Camagüey (published in Cuba in 2007) and Areas of Importance for Birds, published by Editorial Academy of Sciences of Cuba in 2010. He has participated in over forty scientific events throughout the Carribean. He has been a member of the Cuban Society of Zoology since 2004, the Society for the Study and Conservation of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB), and BIRDSCARIBBEAN since 1999.

Besides the Partnership for International Birding, he has guided tours for several other major bird tour companies.

Alejandro loves bird-watching. He is currently the number one eBirder for Cuba, with more species recorded than anyone else. His birding clients always comment on his clear love of bird-finding and sharing bird sightings with them.

You will enjoy your bird-watching trip with Alejandro.

Giraldo Alayón García, Ph.D.
Giraldo Alayón García, Ph.D. Birds, Butterflies & Dragonflies Guide

Dr. Giraldo Alayon is a Ph.D. in biological science, a researcher and curator at the Museum of Natural History in Havana, Cuba, and is well-known as the spider expert in all of the West Indies and Central American region. Dr. Alayon has published more than 150 articles about evolution and biogeography of spiders. Dr. Alayon was the president of the Cuban Zoology Society from 1995 to 2001.

Dr. Alayon has presented at conferences and taught international courses about biodiversity and evolution in Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, Canada, US, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Dominican Republic and Cuba.

He has carried out post-doctoral research at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University; the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; the Peabody Museum at Yale University; the American Museum of Natural History in New York; the Field Museum in Chicago; Gainesville University; the Academy of Sciences in Philadelphia; the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; the Instituto de Biologa, UNAM, Mexico DF; INBIO, Costa Rica; Universidad de Costa Rica; Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo; Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Santo Domingo. He has been a visiting professor at several of these institutions. His conferences lately have a main theme: Darwin Evolution, Charles Darwin in XXI Century, impact of Darwinism on Science, Species in the Caribbean from a Darwinian Perspective, etc. are the titles of his most recent conferences.

Giraldo has been birding seriously since 1977 and has published fifteen papers related to avian biology and behavior.

As a hobby, he likes to watch birds, butterflies and dragonflies. In 2005 he started to lead birdwatching tours in Cuba.

In the 1980’s, he was in charge of the search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Cuba, with the participation of the AMNH. He is currently working on a book about the Ivory–billed Woodpecker, which he claims to have seen in eastern Cuba as recently as 1992.

Among his important contributions are four books he has written:

2006. The spiders and their relatives of St. Vincent & the Granadines. MEDO. 129 pp.

(2015) Threatened! Endangered species in Cuba. Ediciones Polimita, 317 pp.

(2017). The History of Scientific Relations between Cuba and the American Museum (AMNH): 160 years of Collecting and Collaborating (1857-2017). Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. Special Publication, 132 pp.

(2017). Diversidad Biológica de Cuba: Métodos de inventario monitoreo y colecciones biológicas. Ama, sello editorial, 501 pp.