iBird Pro, the first complete birding app for the iPhone, is now guided by the 2019-2020 American Ornithological Union (AOU) standard and is 100% compatible with iOS 13. Besides including all 900+ species of birds of North America, iBird Pro contains databases for four other regions: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hawaii, and the famous island nation of Palau. And it’s not just a digital field guide, a fascinating new feature called Photo Sleuth uses AI so you can identify a bird from any photo you take or upload.
Released in 2008, iBird was the first comprehensive birding app for the iPhone loaded with features that inspired Apple to put iBird in their famous videos "We have an app for that." iBird offers functionality that sets it apart from all other birding apps. For example, only iBird offers both photographs and field-marked illustrations for every species. Of course, the beauty of drawings is that the illustrator can emphasize the important identification markings of the bird family, something photographs can’t do. For this very reason, iBird offers over 1,000 composite illustrations. Photographs, on the other hand, let you see how the species appear in real life. So, to optimize your experience, iBird includes both drawings with toggled field marks along with multiple photos of almost every species of bird -- usually of the male, female, juvenile and subspecies. We also include in-flight photos for many of the species.
As we just mentioned, every one of the 950 species accounts contains a detailed field marks layer for each illustration. The layer can be toggled on or off to highlight important identification characteristics along with calling out similar species. These field mark layers sit on top of illustrations that are all high-resolution composite HDR drawings showing each species in its natural environment and can be zoomed until you can see fine feather details.
And to augment your ability to identify a species, iBird not only contains over 4,000 bird song and call vocalizations but also provides the AI-based photo recognition feature--iBird Photo Sleuth. Photo Sleuth can identify a bird from any photograph, even poor photos taken with your smartphone or tablet. Watch a short slide show of how Sleuth works here: bit.ly/ibirdsleuth. A stand-alone version of Photo Sleuth is also available in the app store.
But we’ve saved the best for last – iBird's best feature is its comprehensive birding search engine that can turn anyone into an expert birder. The engine comes with over 35 characteristics that can be searched (such as body color, GPS location, habitat, bill shape, song type, etc.).
No internet connection is required to use iBird in the field as it has a self-contained database of all content.
The iBird Pro architecture is now “consolidated”, i.e., its default North America database can be supplemented with databases of other countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hawaii and Palau. You can purchase these additional databases from inside iBird, and instantly switch between them inside the app. Furthermore, you can install iBird Pro on multiple devices and share it with your family plan so that, with one app, everyone can enjoy thousands of new species.
In addition to all of the features we’ve mentioned, iBird Pro offers these fantastic in-app purchase features: Birds Around Me (BAM)—shows just those species within a radius surrounding your GPS location, Percevia™ smart search—a patented feature that helps you identify birds just like the birding experts, Time-of-Day—lets you search for birds by activity levels during day or night, dawn, dusk, etc., and Owls of Mexico—which includes illustrations with field marks, range maps, songs and calls for 16 remarkable Owl species.
Version 1254 adds 38 new illustrations—to see these go to Search > Illustration Update > 12.2.
More Details of iBird Pro Version 12.5: http://ibird.com/whats-new/whats-new.html
- Fixed a few issues with iCloud not syncing notes and favorites lists.
- Fixed search field "x" not deleting text.
- Updated search icons to work correctly with dark and light mode.
- If you have Ultimate or Plus on your device, any in-app purchases are enabled in Pro.
- Fixed a few cases where species were not showing full-screen on an iPad.
Version 12.5 of iBird Pro mainly updates the North America database to follow the 2019-2020 American Ornithological Society (AOS.) It also includes many new, hand-drawn bird illustrations, improves compatibility with iOS 13's dark mode, improves the syncing of Notes and Favorites with iCloud and fixes a few bugs. The content from the AOS update includes significant changes to common and scientific names, shifts in families, splits of existing bird species and occasionally lumps where previously separate birds are combined. We've also added dozens of new photos.
Besides these important content changes, the new version of iBird Pro offers the revolutionary iBird Photo Sleuth as a small in-app purchase. Photo Sleuth is integrated into iBird and uses a neural network to identify any North American bird species from a photo of any bird you submit via your gallery or camera, even if that photo is of poor quality! Note there is also a stand-alone version of Photo Sleuth that you can find in the app store by just searching on its name.
For exact details about the iBird content changes, go to the Search > Splits History attribute, so you can see what species have been split or lumped in past years.
Every year we update the iBird North America database to be aligned with the latest American Ornithological Society (AOS) Supplement. We don't include every change that the American Birding Association suggests. We may also add species that our customers request. To see what species illustrations changed in this version go to Search > Illustration Update >12.2.
In this AOS version, we added these introduced species to the North America database: Egyptian Goose, Swan Goose, and the Purple Swamphen. They were added because they are so prevalent in parks across the country.
The White-winged Scoter has been split into Stejneger's, Velvet (U.K. database) and the White-winged Scoter.
The Gray-faced Petrel is a split from the Great-winged Petrel. In North America, it replaces the Great-winged Petrel since all confirmed records of this species in the ABA area are the Gray-faced Petrel.
The Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Hwamei, and Red-billed Leiothrix have been removed from the Timaliidae family and moved into the Leiothrichidae family.
The Budgerigar has been removed from the list, but we will leave it in the app for now so birders can become familiar with the change.
The ground doves have had the hyphen removed from their name. This effects Common Ground Dove and the Ruddy Ground Dove.
The most noted name change is the Blue-throated Hummingbird being renamed the Blue-throated Mountain-gem.
A number of birds have had their species Latin name updated. You can read about these details here: http://ibird.com/whats-new/whats-new.html
In our continuing effort to improve our illustrations and photos in iBird Pro Version 12.5, we updated drawings with improved composite illustrations for 38 species. You can see them all together by using Search > Illustration Update > 12.2. We also added 130 new photos, some to replace and upgrade the quality of images. Just a reminder that you can disable ads, reset popups, choose a default theme, autoplay sounds, and turn off any ads by accessing Settings from the navigation menu.
We’ve also added a new Share feature on the Species page that lets you send the species details to anyone using Mail, Messages, Facebook, etc.
Ratings and ReviewsSee All
New rating after developer explained issues
I’ve left my original review below for context. There were two things going on that relate more to Apple than iBird. First, in-app purchase are not part of family sharing. Thus, you have to repurchase on different devices. Second, any device using a family shared app but not using the purchaser’s Apple ID has to purchase the original app and the in-app items on its own. Thus, family sharing only works for the original app. In effect, it provides marketing for the developer to extend its sales.
To the substance of iBird Pro. It’s the best birding app available. Buy it and put up with the App Store hoops.
I had to buy in-app purchases a second time for my iPad after buying them for my iPhone. None of the in-app purchases are recognized on my wife’s iPhone and restoring purchases fails. Instead the app says she has to purchase the original iBird Pro on her phone (i.e., not really family shared)so she can purchase the in-app items — Again! The developer has not responded to my support email or to my post n the support forum. Neither did they respond to my original review. I appreciate the need to make money and how offering in-app purchases for enhancements to components that were once standard or for new components is a way to increase revenue but they need to be honest about family sharing and in-app purchases. It’s a good app and one I’ve used for years but the new version is buyer beware.
Developer Response ,
The family sharing of in-app purchases is not something we control--its based on Apple's policy which is explained in detail here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203046. In part it says:
What you can't share
-Individual or student Apple Music subscriptions and other subscriptions.
-Items that are no longer available on the App Store and iTunes Store.
Great encyclopedia. Pay attention to descriptions.
We finally noted that some of the raven sounds are from other (faraway) parts of the country, and we recall, ravens are wise old birds. Not always their language. Sometimes they react in silence, as if to say, “What?”
Also remember to read the description: if the call is one of birds in fear or alarm, you may well note that nearby birds start flying away in fear or alarm.
I note the app is of late getting updates describing IAPs with fancy-schmancy new features. I hope this does not portend an overall IAP for a new version of the app (rendering this current version obsolete). Already, instead of the available Bird Sleuth IAP, we use Merlin. I’d be sorrowful to see the end of iBird Pro due to built-in obsolescence.
Not having problems, plus an interesting story
We really like iBird Pro and have not had any problems with version 11.0 on iPhone 8 or iPad Air 2. The illustrations with field marks and photos help a lot with identifications. The bird sounds are also very helpful. My wife and I have enjoyed using it for several years, especially last spring when a Cooper's Hawk built a nest and raised a family in our neighbor's tree. A few months after the hawk family had moved on, my wife was in a nearby town doing some shopping. She came out of a store to find a large crowd gathered around her car. Thinking somebody had hit her car, she started walking toward the car until somebody warned her not to get too close. On top of the car was a Cooper's Hawk with a dead rabbit. Whenever anybody tried to 'shoo' it away the bird threatened them with loud calls and thrashing wings. My wife took out her phone, launched iBird Pro, turned the volume up loud and played the Cooper's Hawk alarm call. The hawk on the car looked surprised and puzzled, looked around for another bird, then took off carrying it's prey. Everybody was astonished and my wife was pleased and proud of her quick thinking. One of the women in the crowd asked loudly, "What app is that? I want to buy it!" You probably got several new iBird Pro customers as a result.
- Mitch Waite Group
- 2.4 GB
Requires iOS 11.4 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
- Age Rating
- © Mitch Waite Group
- In-App Purchases
- Photo Sleuth $4.99
- Birds Around Me $2.99
- Everything Bundle $6.99
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.