North America (Jan. 2023) - World Wide
iBird Pro Guide to Birds
It is a popular and fully loaded fieldguide. It has almost a thousand species with both paintings and photographs for each bird. It has the largest sound library of comparable apps. It features social media sharing, a detailed field marks layer, you can use it when there is no cellular service, and many more cool functions. Android | iOS
Audubon Bird Guide Free!
The Audubon Society have produced a popular and free app for both mobile operating systems! What is not to like? Android | iOS
Merlin Bird ID Free!
One very cool feature is the Sound ID feature, hit record and let the app tell you the bird singing! For each bird it has text, sounds and distribution maps as well as good quality photos from the Macaulaylibrary. It allows you to download Bird Packs for many countries/regions around the world. Perfect for when travelling. Unfortunately not all species are present yet for each country/region. Android | iOS
Sibley Birds 2nd Edition
It is not keeping up with the updates like the competition. The iOS app was updated in 2019 and Android in 2020. Usually there can be bugs appearing as the operatingsystems gets updated and there can even have been taxonomy changes during the last 3 years. Android | iOS
Central America & the Caribbean
Costa Rica Birds
It seems to be a comprehensive fieldguide with just about all the species occuring in this country and those expected to show up. It has images of 926 species and nearly as many vocalizations. There are information, field marks, range maps for all species of Costa Rica bird list. iOS
Panama Birds Field Guide
It has been updated and should now have sounds of 750 species and nearly all normally occuring species should have a photo, more than 950 species. It has information, field marks, range maps for all species. iOS
Belize Birds Field Guide
It has sounds of 570 species and nearly all normally occuring species should have a photo, though there is no mention of how many. It has information, field marks, range maps for all species on the Belize bird list. There are additional features like check as seen etc, lists and a comprehensive search filter. iOS
All Birds of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands & northern Lesser Antilles
This bilingual (English & Spanish) app features all 415 bird species found from Puerto Rico east to Antigua and Montserrat. Android | iOS
It contains descriptions of more than 3100 bird species, maybe more than any other app. All bird names are included in English, Latin, and the major languages spoken in South America. But it has not been updated since 2019 and is thus not up to date with the taxonomy and I cannot see if it has any sound recordings! iOS
North South America
It has 6400 illustrations and 5000 sounds covering 2311 species found in the Northern part of South America; Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, Trinidad & Tobago and the Northern parts of Brazil and Peru. iOS
Based on Ber van Perlo's ‘Field Guide to the Birds of Brazil. It has text, illustrations and distribution maps for over 1800 species over 1200 songs and calls. Note that it has not been updated since 2019 so it lacks the new taxonomy updates and new species. iOS
It has detailed species accounts for all of Peru’s 1843 bird species including sound recordings for 1515 species, many including multiple songs or calls. Note that it has not been updated since 2016 so it lacks the new taxonomy updates and new species. Android | iOS
Europe & the West Palearctic
Collins Bird Guide
The most popular and comprehensive fieldguide for Europe, including large portions of the west palearctic. It covers more than 700 species and 750 vocalizations. It has very good illustations, text and distribution maps. It is available in English, Swedish, Norwegian, French and German as well as having species names in 18 languages. Android | iOS
Birds of the Middle East
Hi-res images, distribution maps and detailed text descriptions of over 800 bird species including breeding species and regular visitors. Including vocalizations of 400 species. It covers Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, the Arabian peninsula and Socotra. Android | iOS
Birds of Western Palearctic (BWP)
BWP or Birds of the Western Palearctic – was the go to reference library in the past (printed era) They have now made it available in an app. It has 1056 species covered with 5473 illustrations, 1066 sounds and 916 videos. There are 643 distribution maps and 10176 photos of breeding stages. It is a huge reference with 5,250,000 words of text! iOS
Birds of Northern Europe
Not sure why anyone would want this one when the Collins Bird Guide is so good and covers a larger region with more species? This app has only 352 species. Android
South East Asia
The app includes bird species that occur in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand. You can identify species by filtering on appearance, colors, habitats, taxonomy, distribution/region, and birding hotspots. It has sound recordings but I cannot see for how many species. Android | iOS
Birds of East Asia Free!
I have not tried this app out and it is only for Android. All information and data comes from Wikipedia. You need to download a huge zip file of a 2.66 GB and use WikiHandbook Lite to read the data. It lists birds with images, taxonomy, calls etc for China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan. Android
Birds of India
It covers India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. It covers 1370 species with over 3600 hi-res bird images (including distribution maps) and 1370 detailed text descriptions. Android | iOS
Birds of Russia
It contains 680 bird species inhabiting Russia - from Eastern Europe to the Russian Far East, and from the Arctic Ocean to Central Asia. It has different sounds for all 680 species. Android
Australia & Oceania
Morcombe & Stewart Guide To Birds of Australia
It has over 3000 hi-res bird images covering over 790 bird species, distribution maps down to subspecies, 1800 sound recordings for over 600 species. If that is not enough sounds then use Stewart Bird Calls More features such as smart search and the ability to compare any two images, maps, or sounds, side by side on the screen. Android | iOS
Pizzey & Knight Birds of Australia
The app can be used as a FIELD GUIDE (like the book) or as a BIRD LIST, with essential functions such as view bird page, play the sound, add to your list and view similar birds available directly in both. It has images and sounds on over 900 Australian bird species. It includes descriptions and photos of over 270 birding sites from around Australia. Android | iOS
Birds of New Zealand
More than 1000 images covering over 360 bird species found in the region including distribution maps. Audio of multiple bird calls for most species. It has many more features such as smart search and compare that allows you to compare two birds on the same screen (including calls). Note it has not been updated since 2016...Android | iOS
This is mobile field guide version of the printed fieldguide. Detailed species accounts for all of New Guinea's 750+ species and sound recordings. It has smart search features and more. Android | iOS
Sasol eBirds Southern Africa
This famous field guide covers 994 species with text and illustrations including over 3200 photographs. It has 1170 bird sounds covering 885 species. The famous Ian Sinclair is one of the authors and it is regulary updated with the latest taxonomy and information from contributing authors. If to pick one guide for southern africa I would select this one.Android | iOS
eGuide to Birds of East Africa
Hi-res images, distribution maps and detailed text descriptions of over 1300 bird species including breeding species and regular visitors. It has sound recordings for over 1000 species. Note that it has not been updated since 2017 so it lacks the new taxonomy updates and new species. Android | iOS
Birds of Africa Free!
Birds of Africa is a free identification guide from the African Bird Club which in time will cover all the birds and countries in Africa. Today it has over 2200 species and bird sounds for over 1900 species. It covers all West African countries and many east african countries and more. Android | iOS
Robert's & Newman’s - Southern Africa
There are two more comprehensive guides to Southern Africa, but I am not sure why I would chose any of them over Sasol? Android - Robert's | iOS - Robert's | Android - Newman's | iOS - Newman's
World Wide Listing
iGoTerra is one of the two leading global birding list apps which is up to date with the IOC and Clements taxonomic orders including subspecies. It is especially popular for those who also likes to log mammals, butterflies, flowers etc. in the same app. It is also known to have very responsive customer support. Android | iOS
The eBird app is a leading global birding list app. It helps you log (lists) and upload your bird sightings from around the world and it even helps you find local hotspots as well. A cool feature is that you can view what has been seen recently at the location you are at. Your account data is made available for scientific research, education, and conservation.
Android | iOS
Merlin Bird ID Free!
It is great for the travelling birder. It allows you to download Bird Packs for many countries/regions around the world. For each bird it has text, sounds and distribution maps as well as good quality photos from the Macaulaylibrary. One very cool feature is the Sound ID feature, hit record and let the app tell you the bird singing! Unfortunately not all species are present yet for each country/region. Android | iOS
This is similar list app to iGoTerra in that you can record not only birds but plants, animals etc. You can take a picture from your phone and try to match with suggestions or species you suspect it can be. You can even submit it to the iNaturalist forum for others to weigh in on the identification. It is a good complement to eBird for logging your non-avian sightings. Android | iOS
Bird Call Xeno Free!
This app is great for the travelling birder as well for storing local bird songs/calls. This app connects to the Xeno-Canto archive of bird sounds. You can select the best quality recordings to download from the online site. It is easy to save them offline so you can playback in the field when you might not have a reception. Please adhere to the Birders code of ethics when using playback in the field! Android | iOS
If you record your own birdsounds then this is the place to host them. Sign up for a free account and upload them to your channel. You can share and connect with others. Don't clutter Xeno-Canto or Macaulay library with subpar recordings. Only your very best recordings should be uploaded there.
Android | iOS
This is the future of identifying birdsongs using artificial intelligence and neural networks to train computers to learn birdsongs. You cannot use it all over the world, yet...but for the US and Europe do try it out, very cool!
Android | iOS
Recording app Free!
The best way to record sounds with your smartphone is with an external microphone. They record better and more directional audio than what you would get with the microphones inside the mobile phone. Note! that your smartphones native apps are no good for quality recordings, instead make use of apps that can record in high-fidelity linear PCM format and store the files in uncompressed WAV-files. I recommend this great app for iPhone: Zoom HandyRecorder. I have tried another popular app Voice Record Pro but I had some issues when paired with my Zoom iQ7. You can read more about capturing high quality bird sounds using external microphones and recorders on this page: Field recording.