American (born in New Jersey, raised in Connecticut).
Professional bird tour leader for Tropical Birding.
A graduate of Rice University (class of 1995, BA in Physics).
The lead author and photographer of Birds of Western Ecuador: A Photographic Guide, published in June 2016.
While I have always been a nature-lover, my obsession for birds did not come until I had the chance to travel in South America. I was working on a geophysical project in Venezuela, and during some time off I headed off to some remote corners of the country. There's something about Neotropical birds that just grabbed hold of me, and before long I had given up my old career with the oil company and was guiding groups of birders all over South America. Sound recording was an early passion, and armed with digital recorder and small microphone, I amassed several thousand audio recordings. Many of these are available on the terrific website xeno-canto.org. Then I discovered digiscoping, and by using a cheap point-and-shoot camera combined with a top-of-the-line Swarovski scope (which I had to lug around while guiding anyway), I was able to get some surprisingly good photos. It was addictive! Before long, I was getting frustrated with the limitations of digiscoping and finally bought my first DSLR, a Canon 50D, with a 100-400mm lens, in Setpember 2008. This only fed the fire, and I have been steadily upgrading my gear as well as my skills since then. I currently shoot a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon 300mm f/2.8 L II lens, often combined with a teleconverter - this combo is perhaps unbeatable for rainforest bird photography. I like getting birds in their natural enviroments, and prefer to shoot with natural light, only rarely using flash except when absolutely necessary.
antpitta.com went online on 17 April 2007.
All inquiries should be emailed to . Please keep in mind that I am often in the field and could be away from email access for periods of time.
1) I do not grant permission for the photos on this site to be used by tour companies or any other entity to advertise or promote any tour, unless the tour is being operated by Tropical Birding.
2) I grant permission for non-profit organizations to use the photos on this site free of charge on their websites, as long as the copyright notice remains intact, except in cases where usage comes into conflict with term #1.
3) Under most circumstances, I will grant permission for non-profit organizations to print the photos on this site free of charge, as long as they are properly credited, except in cases where usage comes into conflict with term #1. Please email me and tell me how the photo will be used, and I will email back a high resolution copy.
4) I will usually allow my photos to be published in scientific journals free of charge. Please email me to request a high resolution copy.
5) I grant permission for private individuals to use the photos on this site free of charge on personal websites for non-commercial purposes only, as long as the copyright notice remains intact, except in cases where usage comes into conflict with term #1.
6) I do not grant permission for private individuals to print these photos without my prior, written consent.
7) I do not grant permission for any commercial or for-profit use of the photos on this site without prior, written consent. A licensing fee may be assessed in such cases.
Website design and all photos copyright Nick Athanas
For questions, comments, or photograph licensing info, please email