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.
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.
ABOUT PHOTO ID
Powered by Visipedia, Photo ID 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.
Sound ID for 400+ species in the US and Canada!
Have you ever been mystified when hearing a bird you can’t see? Merlin helps you identify birds even when you can’t see them. Record the birds you hear, and watch real-time results show up on the screen to help guide you to the correct identification.
The ability to identify bird songs and calls is powered by thousands of audio recordings in Macaulay Library, and over a billion bird sightings submitted to eBird.
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.
Best free birding app
This app got me started with birding. Last spring, I downloaded it to start identifying the common birds around me like American Robins, European Starlings, Common Grackles, and Northern Mockingbirds. Soon, I moved from merely identifying birds to counting them also, and soon after, I started recording full checklists with the EBird app (I think also a product of the Cornell School of Ornithology?), which is the best solution for those who wish this app would record their sightings. Now, less than a year later, I have 150 species on my list and have found a new lifelong hobby that I expect to bring me joy for decades to come. It’s all thanks to Merlin!
Though I eventually found that a high quality illustrated field guide (I use Sibleys in the US and Collins in Europe) is more useful than any app, I still reference Merlin for sounds or any time I don’t have my guide on me. I was very excited when Merlin came out with bird packs for Europe right before I traveled to Greece this past fall, and I look forward to seeing more bird packs coming out for other parts of the world as time goes on. It’s fun to scroll through the foreign packs and dream about traveling to new places and seeing those birds. I’d glad that when I do go, I’ll have Merlin with me to help identify them!
It has come to my attention that the algorithm used to show likely birds in a region is flawed. The algorithm occasionally causes rare birds to appear common at certain hotspots. My guess to how this happens is likely due to the birding community discovering a rare bird and sharing that info with their community. Then people from all over show up and enter the bird into eBird. This causes a large number of people to report the same single bird. As a result the algorithm will occasionally tell you birds like a scissor-tailed flycatcher is common at Arcadia Marsh, MI. When as far as I can tell it was only seen on one day by many people. Or it could tell you that a lazuli bunting or a painted bunting are common at Whitefish Point, MI when in fact there are very few historic reporting a of either of those birds statewide. An improvement could be made by changing the algorithm to factor in the number of birds reported per checklist for example (10 trumpeter swans) along with the number of days the bird has been seen over a period of time. This would prevent anomalous inaccurate results for a single bird that was seen up to hundreds of times on only 1 day. Aside from that the app is excellent at what it was made to do. As a predictive tool of what birds you may find in a given region, extra research is required to double check Merlin’s findings.
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- Cornell University
- 109.6 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, 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.