Nowadays, there are apps for pretty much everything. You can use apps to find clothes from a picture or even learn about animals. Since pretty much everything has been covered, why should the bird-watching enthusiasts stay behind? In the spirit of learning more, here’s a list of the 5 best bird identification apps available for Android and iOS devices.5 Best Bird Identification Apps for Android and iOS.
Using these apps, you can identify birds with ease. Not just that but certain apps also give you the choice of saving your findings for your area, to create a more comprehensive map regarding bird activity. So, let us dive right in and show you those apps.
1. Merlin Bird ID – Best Overall App to Identify Birds
The Merlin Bird ID app, created by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is probably one of the best apps to identify birds. Simply place your device near the bird for a sound recording or snap a picture. Then, upload it to the app and watch as it identifies the species and gives other related details like food, habitat information, etc. Depending on your region, you might also get suggestions for the local birds in your area and where to find them.
Once you grant the necessary permission, the app is ready to be used. You can download Bird packs to understand more about the birds of a particular region. Additionally, you can also use the search feature to either find a bird using a picture or sound. If neither is available, you can also answer 5 simple questions within the app that can help figure out or give a clue about the species of the bird.
While the Bird packs are a good way to impart knowledge, they can become cumbersome, with some of the Bird packs going upwards of 1.2 GB in size. Additionally, while the app is free to use, you will need to sign in before you can use all the features. And if you want to use any other additional app feature, then ensure all the required permissions have been given, or the app might not work as expected.
- Region-specific Bird packs
- Can identify birds by sound
- Dedicated database
- Local bird recommendations available
- Sign in required
- Additional permissions need to be enabled
2. Audubon Bird Guide – Best App for Beginner Birders
Once you open the Audubon app, the first thing you get is the option to download an offline field guide. One of the best apps for birders, Audubon has detailed information about several local bird species in North America that can be accessed at the tap of a button. On the main page, you also get recommendations like featured birds and the link to the Audubon.org site as well.
Within the app itself, you can also keep track of your sightings and alerts, if any. Although, you might need an active account to add sighting data to the app. On the other hand, if you want to look for a bird, just like the Merlin ID app, you can either identify the bird using sound or image or take a detailed questionnaire within the app and check the results.
You can also access Audubon’s library offline if it has been downloaded to your device. However, if you wish to check your sightseeing data, you will need to sign up on the app. Additionally, bird sounds might not be available for all the bird species present in Audubon’s index. In order to get the full app experience, all the device permissions should be enabled.
- Offline field guide available
- Contains information on local North American bird species
- Detailed questionnaire
- Recommendations on the Home page
- Sign up required for checking sightseeing data
- Offline field guide might consume too much device space
3. eBird – Best to Keep Track of Birds
The eBird app allows you to have location-based, custom check-ins. This way, every time you look up old or new bird species, eBird will automatically collate this data depending on your location and send it across. You can also look up and download local bird packs based on your current location. This way you will be able to access bird-related data even when you’re offline.
An excellent bird-watching app, within the eBird app, you can use different parameters to set up alerts for rare birds, top 100 birds, etc. If you’re looking for any particular species, you can also add it from the map. Once the checklist has been completed, it will then be uploaded to the eBirds database for further checks. You can also use the app to check for different bird species from the checklist panel.
While the information on the eBird app is free, you will need to sign up for a Cornell Lab account before you can use it. Additionally, when switching between the different menu options, we noticed a lag in the app, with instances of the app playing bird sound audio even before the page had finished loading.
- Create custom checklist
- Map-based location
- Location-based bird packs are available
- Ability to create a local pack
- Cornell Lab account required
- The app interface is not smooth
4. BirdNET – AI-Powered Bird ID App
The BirdNET app has a unique audio recording wizard available that allows you to record the bird’s voices, edit them as required, and then analyze this audio using AI for the corresponding species of the bird. You can also submit for ownership and claim any submitted audio from the BirdNET app menu panel.
Apart from its audio tools, you also get a comprehensive list of birds available in your area. Once the list is opened, tap on the individual bird names to get more information on them. However, this list is only limited to the species currently present in BirdNET’s database.
While the BirdNET app has advanced tools available for recording and splicing audio, while testing, we noticed that many times when the audio was taken from a distance, it showed us the bird species that could be considered the closest match to the recording rather than an exact match. However, once a clear audio sample was taken, the app started giving us exact matches.
- AI-based application
- Advanced bird tracking options
- Ownership option for recordings
- Area-based bird suggestions
- Menu options are not as comprehensive
- Bird guesses are not always accurate
5. GoBird – Best Bird-Watching App
The best for bird watching, on the GoBird app you will find all the major spots for bird-watching within the radius of your current location. These hotspots are color-coded and when tapped upon, give more information about the place and how far it is from your current location.
The GoBird interface has been simplified, allowing you to switch between different options right from the menu panel. Here, apart from Hotspots, you also get the option to scroll through all the different species of birds currently present in your locale. For more options, you can also use the filter and switch between the observation within the last how many days and adjust the search radius from your location.
You can also tap on the Rare option from the menu panel to have a look at all the rare species currently residing in your vicinity and again use the filters to toggle location distance and observation days.
However, while testing, the GoBird app had some minor issues while zeroing in on the exact location even with the GPS on. If that happens, try turning the GPS off and then on. This should fix the issue.
- Map view available for hotspots
- Separate view for Rare birds
- In-app filters
- Might not pinpoint the exact location in one go
FAQs for Using Apps to Identify Birds
No, most birding apps are not subscriptions based and might only require you to sign in to access app features.
Yes, certain bird-watching apps like Merlin Bird ID and Audubon Bird Guide are capable of identifying birds by their sounds.
Find That Bird
As more and more people are taking an interest in bird watching, identifying and finding the bird species is a constant uphill battle. And so, we hope that you found our list of the 5 best bird identification apps helpful. For more identifier apps, you can also check our other list of apps that can identify any object.
Last updated on 01 May, 2023
The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.