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Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab of Ornithology

By Cornell University

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What's that bird? Merlin Bird ID helps you solve the mystery in 5 questions, or with a photo of a bird.

First, Merlin asks you a few simple questions. Then, almost like magic, it reveals the list of birds that best match your description. Pick your bird, then delve into more photos, sounds, and ID tips about your bird!

If you have a photo, Merlin can help there as well. Take a photo, or choose one from your photo gallery, and Merlin will offer a list of birds that best match your photo.

Merlin is fun and easy to use—whether you’re curious about a bird you’ve seen once or you’re hoping to identify every bird that comes to your feeder. The answers are waiting for you with this free field guide app from the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


• Merlin will now identify a photo. Select your photo, tell Merlin where and when you took it, and you'll see a short list of suggested identifications.
• Download bird packs containing the species of your region, reducing the app size.
• Created for beginning and intermediate bird watchers, Merlin identifies the 1,350 most common bird species of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, northern Central America and Europe.
• Explore birds by location and date with a list of species seen in the area.
• Intelligent results. No more scanning through hundreds of possibilities! Merlin shows the birds near you that fit your description.
• Customized location and date tools generate best answers for your neighborhood and time of year.
• Powered by eBird to deliver the most accurate results based on millions of sightings from bird watchers across North America.
• Enjoy more than 8,000 photos of birds, including males, females, and juveniles.
• Learn ID tips from Cornell Lab of Ornithology experts.
• Listen to beautiful bird sounds, including songs and calls for each species from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
• It’s all free! The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s goal is to help you and millions of others to learn about birds.​

Merlin is the most advanced bird guide app available, and is expanding to new regions of the world.

Merlin Bird ID currently includes bird identification help for the United States with regional packs for the: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas and Oklahoma, Alaska, and West Coast.

Canada is covered by Eastern Canada and Western Canada packs.

Mexico bird identification is available for each region of the country.

Central America packs include Guatemala and Belize.

Bird identification help is also available for Europe with our Great Britain and Ireland pack.

About Photo ID
Powered by Visipedia, Merlin Photo ID uses computer vision technology to identify birds in photos. Merlin learns to recognize bird species based on training sets of hundreds of thousands of photos from birders at 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.

What's New in Version 1.3.4

3D Touch Quick actions
If you have an iPhone 6s or newer, you can 3D Touch the Merlin Bird ID icon to get quick access to Photo ID and Birds Nearby.

Pack update notifications
Did you know we've added nearly a thousand new species in Merlin over the past year? Many of those are available as updates to packs you have already downloaded, but if you don't check the Bird Pack screen, you'll never seen them! Merlin will now alert you when a new update is available.


Also includes many other 1.3+ updates
By popular request, Merlin now helps you discover other birds around you. The updated Explore Birds screen can now be filtered by any location and date, or a Bird Pack you have installed. Explore the birds that have been reported around you, whether you are birding at home, or on a trip.

• Sort by Most Likely
The Explore Birds list can now be filtered by how often each bird is reported in your area of interest. The most commonly reported birds show up at the top, giving you a better idea of species you should be looking for.

• Sort by Likely Birds within Families
Explore the birds of an area in a new way. This option groups the birds into the familiar families view, then sorts the birds within each group by how frequently they are reported, making it easier than ever to find the bird you are looking for.

Sort your list by Most Likely, and then search for “gull” or “sparrow” to see a list of the gulls or sparrows sorted by how common they are. This is another handy way to identify your mystery bird.

• Location shortcut
When you are using the Likely Birds feature, just tap the location button in the bottom right corner of the screen to quickly update the bird list to you current location.

iPhone Screenshots

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Customer Reviews

Great app, finds most birds

I really like this app to identify the birds that visit our deck in Fawnskin/Big Bear Lake, CA. I'm having problems with it finding the California Scrub Jay, a fairly common bird. I can see it in the list of likely birds in our area, which btw is a really cool new feature, but it doesn't pick up the California Jay no matter what settings I select. It wld be nice to be able to select That's my bird from the Explore Birds list. Other than that, it's been very handy even in picking up the occasional rare bird, like the Clark's Nutcracker. I'd like to see it show me a report of the birds I've identified and when so I can keep track year-to-year.

Carolina Wren

Had a nest in our mailbox where the newspaper goes. Couldn't isolate the type of bird because I couldn't get close enough for a good picture. Finally enticed it near with the call on a speaker, and the female sound. Has various songs. Loud for a small bird. Nest has 5 chicks. I thought it was empty and pushed it out of the mailbox. Picked up all the chicks that were scooting around and put the nest back in. Parents were giving me you know what! Now back to normal, feeding and singing away. Dispels rumor that parents will abandon chicks if put back in a nest. Great app.

Great tool for birdwatchers!

I've been using Merlin for several years and it just keeps getting better! Very good at helping ID birds I don't know or am not sure about.
The added "photo ID" is amazingly accurate even when I end up with a very low resolution of the bird.
It can be occasionally frustrating when you find a stray bird that is rare to or not supposed to be in your area but otherwise it's easy, quick and accurately IDs my birds.
I also love the info on the birds. I've even used the recordings to try to attract birds.

Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
View in iTunes
  • Free
  • Category: Reference
  • Updated:
  • Version: 1.3.4
  • Size: 62.4 MB
  • Languages: English, Spanish
  • Seller:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

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