5 Birding Apps to Give Your Skills a Boost

Updated: Apr. 24, 2020

You never leave home without your phone, so install these birding apps and you'll have guides, checklists, and more at your fingertips.

Turn your smartphone into your best and most-used birding resource with these handy apps. Our favorite birding apps are easy to use, and will help you get the most out of every adventure.

1. Audubon Bird Guide: North America

Birding Apps Audubon Bird Guide image
photo credit: Audubon

Unlike the average paper field guide, this app includes bird songs and calls. Regular updates means you won’t need to replace this guide when information changes to stay up-to-date. Interactive features allow you to report your own sightings and see recent spottings logged by others in your area.

Where to Get It: Free on Android and iPhone, audubon.org

2. eBird

Birding Apps eBird
photo credit: eBird

This is one of the most popular birding apps out there, and for good reason. eBird allows you to keep track of the species you see in the field, whether or not you’re connected to the internet. Starting and submitting a checklist is as easy as a few taps on the screen. eBird has proven to be so popular, Subaru has begun adding the app to some of its models!

Where to Get It: Free on Android and iPhone, ebird.org

3. Song Sleuth

Birding Apps Song Sleuth image
photo credit: Song Sleuth

The next time you’re out in the field and a bird call has you scratching your head, boot up Song Sleuth. This cool app listens to the bird songs around you and suggests possible matches. Once you’ve identified the bird you heard, the built-in Sibley guide provides detailed info on the species.

Where to Get It: Free on Android and iPhone, songsleuth.com

4. Merlin Bird ID

Birding Apps Merlin App image
photo credit: Merlin Bird ID

When you see a bird you don’t recognize, simply answer five straightforward questions about its color and size, and the Merlin Bird ID app suggests likely species matches. Managed to snap a photo? Even better! upload it to the app, and Merlin will offer a list of possibilities. You’ll also get plenty of information about the species you’re seeing, courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Where to Get It: Free on Android and iPhone merlin.allaboutbirds.org

5. Raptor ID

Birding Apps Hawk ID image
photo credit: Raptor ID

Hawks, falcons, eagles and other raptors can be tricky to identify. Meet Raptor ID, from HawkWatch International and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. You get tons of expert advice, plus range maps and annotated photos. The videos in this app are amazing; they include voice-overs to help explain what you’re seeing, allowing you to compare flight patterns and behaviors to find the best match.

Where to Get It: Free on Android and iPhone