What's that bird? Answer 5 questions, upload a photo, or record a bird sound, and Merlin Bird ID will help you solve the mystery.
Merlin Bird ID helps you identify birds with ease. You’ll get personalized results of birds to expect based on the time of year and your location or your choice of regions around the world, including a digital field guide with more than 80,000 photos and sounds, plus maps, and ID tips! Merlin is the most fully featured and global bird app available, and the only one enabling both sound and photo identification powered by AI.
Merlin offers four fun ways to identify birds. Get guided bird ID assistance by answering a few simple questions and, like magic, Merlin will reveal a list of birds that match your description. If you have a photo of a bird that you can’t ID, tap “Photo ID” to identify your bird. Do you hear a bird that you don’t recognize or can’t see? Tap “Sound ID” to record the bird you are hearing and Merlin will show you which species are most likely, in real time! Or you can pick “Explore Birds” and Merlin will show you all the birds most likely to be around you on that day.
Merlin is free, fun, and easy to use—whether you’re curious about a bird you’ve seen once or you’re hoping to identify every bird you can find. The answers are waiting for you with this free ID app and field guide from the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE MERLIN
• Merlin is for everyone! Merlin was created for bird watchers, nature lovers, and anyone who is curious about birds.
• Easily identify the birds you see or hear and build your birding skills.
• Customized to your backyard or wherever you travel so you’ll never be without a bird guide.
• Intelligent results. Merlin shows the birds near you that match your description, photo, or sound recording. No more scanning through hundreds of possibilities!
• Merlin is the only app that uses advanced AI technology to help you identify a bird in a photo or a sound recording.
• Expert ID tips, range maps, photos, and sounds help you learn even more about the birds you spot.
• Merlin lets you build a life list! Save the birds you identify to keep track of the birds you’ve seen.
• Merlin is completely free!
• Choose bird packs that contain photos, songs, and calls, and identification help for many regions around the world, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, South Africa, Kenya, Northern Africa, the Middle East, Asia, India, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and more. New regions are added every month.
• More than 50,000 photos of birds, including males, females, and juveniles.
• Listen to beautiful bird sounds, including more than 30,000 songs and calls curated by the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
• Identification tips in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Hebrew, German, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese, depending on the range of the species.
• Powered by eBird and the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to deliver the most accurate results based on millions of sightings, photos, and sounds from bird watchers across the world.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s goal is to help you and millions of others to learn about birds. Our nonprofit mission to improve the understanding and protection of birds and nature is made possible by the generosity of Cornell Lab members, supporters, and citizen-science contributors.
Photo ID is powered by Visipedia and uses computer vision and deep learning technology to identify birds in photos. Merlin learns to recognize bird species based on training sets of millions of photos and sounds from birders at eBird.org. When using Photo ID, enter the date and location where you took the photo; those clues improve Merlin’s accuracy by helping it focus on the species you most likely encountered there.
Now with Sound ID! Record the birds you hear, and watch real-time results show up on the screen to help guide you to the correct identification.
Ratings and Reviews
Amazing tool, but a few minuscule issues
This app is amazing. I use it every time I go bird watching, and it is far more efficient than most of the manuals I own. However, it is not without its minor faults.
The first and most blaring is the fact that Isee many birds with many more than only 3 colors, and when I see birds with only 3 or less colors they might be different colors than I have the options I have to pick from! I understand that there are limitations that make it difficult, but the app would be that closer to perfect if you added more colors and the option to pick more than three colors.
The other issue is that on a very slim chance I cant find the bird im looking for! This is for the most part my fault, but I think that sometimes it is because the bird isn’t on the list of birds registered on the app. It could also be because of the pictures of the birds do not include all or most variations of the bird I see, so I cannot confirm my sighting. If the roster of birds was filled up more, and there was more pictures, then all of those problems would be solved!
It is such a great app with such great features and it almost never fails me. The only issues it has are so minor, or could be fixed in an update soon, that it makes them nearly irrelevant. Because of all of this the app is virtually perfect, and i recommend all bird watchers newbies and veterans alike to download this app.
This is my go to bird ID app when I’m not sure what I’ve seen or heard in the field. Love that it’s fast, straight forward and provides just enough info in an organized fashion. The fact that it allows you to report sightings on eBird (sister app) is a bonus. Wish you could report birds you’ve looked up manually with the explore option. It would also be nice if there was the option to automatically start an eBird checklist when reporting. My biggest complaint is that when you occasionally find a somewhat rare or unique species, the list of possible matches does not seem to include them even if the identifying criteria fit. Later if you’re able to ID the species through other means, and you use the explore option two look them up, they are in fact in the database. It makes sense to limit the number of possible matches, but perhaps including the option to access a second tier of less likely matches would be a good solution. I have yet to use the app outside of the US so I can’t vouch for it’s effectiveness in other places. I’ve had mixed results with the photo ID feature. It seems to work well but using a mobile phone camera to get a decent search photo is a highly limiting factor. I’m super excited about the new sound ID feature. I’ve been playing with it for a few days now and find it to be very accurate and helpful. I expect it will only improve as more species are added. If I could give 4.5 stars I would. This is an excellent app!
Great app for the birder: novice or experienced
This app is a fantastic tool for the birder in the field. Great aid to confirm an ID or to help identify a bird you’ve never seen before. The ID feature asks a few simple questions about size, color(s), behavior, and habitat, and presents a list of likely matches for your location. You can download bird packs for the USA, as well as other places around the world. Once you’ve downloaded the packs, it works well even without cell or internet access. Each species has pictures of male and female individuals, as well as immature and non-breeding plumages. Also included are multiple recordings of songs and call notes.
I rarely carry my printed guidebooks in the field anymore. Merlin on my smartphone is more compact and easier to reference, and provides access to the sound library as a bonus. I use the books for more in depth study when back at home.
Strongly recommend using Merlin in conjunction with eBird. You can keep and submit bird lists in eBird, and jump over to Merlin to look at pictures or listen to songs to confirm your ID. Both apps are developed by the Cornell Ornithology Lab and are nicely integrated. Both apps are free, but I encourage you to support them with a small donation if you enjoy using the apps.
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- Cornell University
- 115.6 MB
- Requires iOS 13.0 or later.
- iPod touch
- Requires iOS 13.0 or later.
- Requires macOS 11.0 or later and a Mac with Apple M1 chip.
English, Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish
- Age Rating
- © Cornell University
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.