Birdwatching Apps

Escrito em 15 de julho de 2021

Birdwatching Apps

Smartphones now offer can help birders identify the species they have just seen. You can consider this option an alternative to the bird guide while in the field, as it can be more practical and doesn’t add weight to your backpack. 

Yet, we suggest that you don’t replace the guidebook entirely with this alternative. Why? Because phones are not completely trustworthy, as a book is. Plus, most applications require lots of energy from your phone leading to a quick loss of battery. They may also need an internet connection, which sometimes isn’t easy to get outside. Finally, we consider the phone a more distracting tool, especially if you have mobile data.

Either way, here are some of the possible applications you can use on your smartphone.


  • Free Options:

Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab – Cornell Lab of Ornithology

This app can help you ID up to 7000 species of birds all over the world. You can download bird packs according to your location. It gives you two identification options, by main characteristics, using filters, or by uploading photography. Then, it will be suggested to you the best matches for those characteristics you updated. 

Plus, you have the option of exploring the birds available in the app. There you get information about distribution and songs, besides the ID information supported by photos of the species. 

Pros: Easy to use, very complete information. 

Cons: It requires some storage space in your phone.

Smart Bird ID Europe - Yellow Cardinal Inc. 

This app offers you four different alternatives to bird identification: photo, sound, question (filter), and bird guide. Plus, you can see a list of birds observed nearby and search for them through a map. Finally, you have some quizzes available according to three different levels of experience: beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Even though you can use this app for free for most of the things it offers, some features are locked, and you will need to pay for them.

Pros: Offers four different ID alternatives. It shows you a list of species observed near your location. 

Cons: Covers mostly birds from the USA and Canada. It contains Ads, and for full use, you have to pay.  


Bird ID Master - Bird.Art

An app that covers more than 10000 species around the world. You can filter by country and explore the list of birds registered. You can take or update photos to get the identification of a bird. Each species has several photos, audio samples and very detailed information. 

Pros: Easy to use. Information about species is very exhaustive.

Cons: Only allows you to get an ID by using photos.


GoBird - Guide to Nearby Birds – Tony Gentilcore

In this app, you start by choosing your location. Then, a list of birds seen nearby will be presented by groups. Another interesting menu is the hotspots, where you can see the hotspots for bird observation near your location.

This app gives you information about the birds that are near you rather than helping you identify them. It works with eBird, Flickr and xeno-canto, respectively, for bird observations, photos and audio records.

Pros: Easy to use. It shows you which birds and where they were last seen near you. 

Cons: You cannot use filters for characteristics of the birds or update data directly in the app to help you identify species.

BirdNET – bird sound identification – Stefan Kahl

This app uses artificial intelligence to help you identify more than 3000 common species worldwide. You can get to know the birds around you, recording their calls and songs.

This app is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Chemnitz University of Technology. 

Pros: Very accurate sound identification. Easy to use. 

Cons: Only helps you identify the sounds of the birds around you.   


  • Paid Options: 

Collins Bird Guide – NatureGuides Ltd 

It is one of the complete online guides, as it is the digital version of the Collins Guide Book. It costs 13.99 €.

This app provides everything you need to identify a species quickly and learn about it. To help you with that, it has over 3500 illustrations of more than 700 species and +750 songs.

Pros: Very detailed online guide. Species’ names are available in 18 languages, and the app can be used in 5 languages. 

Cons: Paid app. It requires some storage space in your phone. 



Picture Bird – Bird Identifier - Next Vision Limited 

This app offers a trial of 7 days. But, then, the subscription is going to cost you 21.99€/year.

The app works through photo or audio recording. You can either record on time or upload an image or audio.


Pros: Fast and accurate ID. Extensive database with rich information about all kinds of birds.

Cons: Contains Ads in the limited edition. Paid app.  It requires some storage space in your phone.