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Best Maps and Apps for Birders | Optics and Lab Equipment

Best Maps and Apps for Birders

Last Updated: 22.11.19


Birding is a hobby that most people are by now familiar with, and while in the past getting your Bushnell binoculars and a trusty map was all you ever needed, things can be even more simple nowadays thanks to the plethora of apps that can replace a hefty map. You may also take a look at some of our other articles to find out more about the gear you need to have with you. Below, we have prepared a list of the best apps you can use to turn your smartphone into your most useful birding resource filled with maps, tricks, and tools.




One of the most popular birding apps for beginners is without a doubt, eBird. It also helps that it is completely free, which is not always the case with other apps in this niche. One of the biggest advantages of this app is its interface which makes it beginner friendly, letting users quickly identify and submit bird sightings.

The app is loaded with gear tips, bird population tracking, research findings, global findings and monitoring, and so many other resources that you will hardly have the time to explore all that the app has to offer.

eBird offers a truly social experience since it will let you join the huge birding community, post your own sightings and observations, or read about what some of the other birders on the platform are recording. In a single month, the app reports millions of bird observations across the world, which leads us to another advantage of this app.

With eBird you are not limited to just one area of the world, but you can use it virtually anywhere, and the more people use it, the more information there will be available to help you schedule your outings.

The app allows you to see which bird species have been reported in your area, and if you managed to take a picture of a bird, you can even use the app to identify what species it is. Since Ebird is so popular nowadays, you will probably have no problem finding lots of sightings logged by other users near you.


Audubon Bird Guide

This is another popular choice that comes packed with features, with the only downside being that it is limited to North America. This app is also free and comes complete with close to 900 species of birds found in North America that you can study using your smartphone.

It is designed to work well with users of all experience levels and will help with identifying and keeping track of all the birds you’ve observed.

It has more than 2 million downloads to date and it is considered by many as one of the most trusted birding apps for North America. It features thousands of photos, many hours of audio consisting of bird songs and calls, maps, and comprehensive text written by no other than Kenn Kaufman, a leading bird expert in North America.

The app also lets you post the photos to your Photo Feed so that other users can see your best bird shots. But what’s most impressive with this app is the new Bird ID feature which will let you identify a bird in just a matter of seconds.

All you need to do is add information such as color, size, and the appearance of its tail and the app will narrow down the list of possible matches for your location and date in real time.




Similarly to eBird, this app will let you identify birds no matter your location since it is not limited to just a few regions. The app provides essential distribution, behavior, and habitat text from the renowned field guide author Kenn Kaufman, together with other regional experts to help you find the right bird.

This choice also includes numerous detailed photographs from top users. You can see customized lists of birds reported near you recently, at any birding hotspot across the world, or even at random points on the map.

The app is free but it does include in-app purchases if you want access to additional features. The basic version will give you access to the 100 most common birds in your area, which is a good starting point for a casual birder. If you want access to every species in your region or around the world, you will need to pay a subscription.


Song Sleuth

This nifty app can turn your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet into a bird song identifier that covers over 200 common vocalizing land birds found in the USA. It is developed by Wildlife Acoustic in collaboration with the world-renowned bird illustrator and expert, David Sibley.

This app can record the song of birds and suggest species that match the sound, and the algorithms used are the result of more than a decade of research and experience.

The app works best for beginner birders which have a hard time identifying a bird, but also includes features for intermediate and advanced users who will appreciate the ability to make and keep recording for further study.

The only downside of this app is that unlike some of the previous options, it is not free and it will cost you $9.99, or less if you are lucky enough to find it on sale.



Peterson Birds North America

For our final choice, we have prepared a comprehensive alternative that will allow you to compare species instantly by plumage, song, sex, and age. The app includes information from eight Peterson Field guide books, including the best-selling guide Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America.

With this nifty app, you can take your birdwatching to a whole new level since you will have access to all the birds that you can see in your garden, on a hike, or on your way to work, at a single touch of your fingers.

While the app is free for a limited period, you will need to upgrade to the premium version with a one-time in-app purchase to get access to all of the features of this option and the over 800 species of birds you can explore.



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