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Best Bird Identification Apps – Making Birding Easier

Bird identification apps

Bird apps have become essential tools for modern life. Nowadays, several birding-related apps are available, all with the goal of making our birding days easier.

Some act as digital field guides, others help identify bird songs, and there are apps that show where certain bird species have been seen. There are a lot of bird identification apps out there. Which ones are easiest to use? Which are free, and how do they help with our birding endeavors?

Find answers in this article that details ten popular and important bird apps!


Best Bird Identification Apps

Merlin ID

Merlin ID

Merlin ID is a free bird app available for both iOS and Android devices. This app can help you identify birds seen in your backyard, in nature preserves, and anywhere else where people use eBird!

The identification process is simple. After picking a location, you choose a main plumage color and a couple of other attributes.

Merlin comes up with several suggestions, and if none of those fit, you can touch another button for further suggestions.

Birders can also upload photos and sounds for Merlin to identify. As long as you are in North America, the app is pretty good at identifying them.


Audubon Bird Guide

Audubon Bird Guide

The Audubon Bird Guide is a digital field guide for the birds of North America with images, sounds, range maps, and more.

It’s free, available for iOS and Android devices, and shows more than 800 species.

Related: A beginner’s guide to bird watching

It’s very easy to use and also has an identification feature that works with location, the size of the bird, its activity, and other factors.

After choosing those, the app will give several suggestions. You can also set up a free Audubon account to keep track of your bird sightings and get alerts on where your target species are seen.


eBird by Cornell Lab

eBird by Cornell Lab

eBird is a free app available for iOS and Android and a popular digital tool that helps birders make lists of their bird sightings. Even better, when you submit bird lists, you also contribute data about bird distributions.

To use this app, you pick your birding location, and a list of potential species will appear. Mark down the birds you identify, choose a couple other factors, and submit the list!

If you have Internet access, you can submit lists in real-time. If not, you can still make a bird list and submit it once you have WIFI access.

Related: What to do if you see a rare bird?

App users can also upload images and sound recordings to their lists.




GoBird is a free app available for both Android and iOS devices. Its main purpose is to show the birds that have been recorded on eBird and eBird hotspots near your location.

That location doesn’t have to just be your backyard, it can be anywhere in the world where eBird is used.

To use this easy app, after choosing a location, it will show all of the nearby eBird hotspots. Pick a hotspot, and you’ll see a list of potential birds.

Each bird species has images and sounds, and information about the bird is shown on its Wikipedia page.


Chirp! Bird Song USA

Chirp! Bird Song USA

This app is a good tool for learning bird vocalizations of common North American bird species.

More than 300 bird species are featured, and app users can show them by state and habitat.

Birds can also be filtered by their song type and other factors that help you learn them.

It doesn’t have songs for every bird in North America, but it is a great starting point for learning bird songs. App users can also listen to and study birds as a quiz or as a slideshow.

This bird song app is available for Android and iOS, but costs $3.99.


BirdsEye Bird Finding Guide

BirdsEye Bird Finding Guide

BirdsEye is a bird-finding guide that uses eBird data combined with your phone’s GPS. Available for iOS and Android devices, this app is easy to use and good for knowing which birds have been seen in your area.

If looking for certain species, the app can also show where they have been seen. Since this app also shows images and has access to bird sounds and information, it can also act as a digital field guide.

Downloading the app is free, but to access a complete set of images and information, users pay anywhere from $1.50 to $4.00 per month.


Smart Bird ID

Smart Bird ID

The Smart Bird ID app is an easy-to-use bird identification app. Free for iOS and Android devices, it also offers some in-app purchases.

To use this app, open it and choose to record bird sounds or take photos with your device. The app will offer suggestions for identification. You can then mark those birds as seen and maintain a bird list with the app.

If you don’t have a photo or recording, this app can still help with identification by answering questions you may have.

It also includes images, songs, and information about birds. Bird photographers will also enjoy uploading their images to Smart Bird.

Related: Best birding podcasts



Raptor ID

Raptor ID

The Raptor ID app is a free app available on Android and iOS devices. It focuses on raptor identification in North America and is certainly the best app for that purpose. From basic to advanced identification of eagles, hawks, kites, falcons, and more, this app covers it all.

It’s also very easy to use and includes information, detailed range maps, excellent images, and sounds for each species. Best of all, there are videos of every species in flight, and images that show similar species side by side.

This app is a great tool for use in the field as well as learning raptors back at home.


Picture Bird

Picture Bird

Picture Bird is a smart bird app that identifies any and all of your bird pictures.

Available for iOS and Android devices, it is simple to use and seems to work very well, even for many little-known species.

To use it, just upload a picture or bird sound, and the app will do its best to identify it. The results show more images of the identified bird species along with information about it.

This app also lets you save your observations and has tools for good bird-feeding recommendations.

Picture Bird is free for the first seven days, but after that, charges $40 per year.


Bird Buddy: Smart Bird Feeder

Bird Buddy: Smart Bird Feeder

This bird feeder has a camera that gets footage of the birds visiting the feeder. It’s meant to be used with a Bird Buddy app that pairs your device with the feeder camera. That way, you can control the camera and even share the results.

Read more: Bird Buddy Smart feeder is one of the best on the market

This bird identification app uses AI to recognize the birds and can also give notifications when birds come to the feeder. Downloading this free app provides access to photos and feeds of other Bird Buddy Smart Bird Feeder owners throughout the world.

The app is free and available for iOS and Android, but the Smart Bird Feeder costs around $200.


Bird Identification Apps: FAQs

How do bird apps work?

Bird apps work by using data from bird observations, images, and bird songs to identify bird species. Most also act as digital field guides where app users can search for birds by location and other features.

What is the best free app for identifying birds?

The best free app for identifying birds is Merlin ID. The Audubon Bird Guide is another very good, free app for identifying birds.

What is the best free bird song identification app?

The best free bird song identification app is Merlin ID. This app does very well at identifying bird songs in North America.

What are you looking for in a birding app, or do you have any favorites that didn’t make it to our list? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author

Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O'Donnell has been focused on all things avian since the age of 7. Since then, he has helped with ornithological field work in the USA and Peru, and has guided many birding tours, especially in Costa Rica. He develops birding apps for BirdingFieldGuides and loves to write about birds, especially in his adopted country of Costa Rica.

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