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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 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 650 most common bird species in the United States and Canada (excluding Hawaii).
• 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 3,000 photos of birds, including males, females, and juveniles.
• Learn ID tips from Cornell Lab of Ornithology experts.
• Listen to beautiful bird songs and calls 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 Bird ID currently includes Bird Pack downloads for the United States including: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas and Oklahoma, Alaska, and West Coast. Canada is covered by Eastern Canada and Western Canada packs. Merlin also has a pack covering the bird of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

What's New in Version 1.2.2

Toggle scientific name on and off
Improvements to Photo ID

iPhone Screenshots

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Customer Reviews

Even works using photos

I don't use my iPhone for photos so had not tried the photo identification feature on Merlin. But recently I used Merlin to attempt to identify a bird in someone else's photo. I actually took a photo with my iPhone of the computer monitor's display of the photo. It works surprisingly well. While it can't give a definitive answer, the choices that it offers we're pretty much on the mark.
I'm giving it four stars only because it can't match the ID performance of my birding guru friends who are infallible, otherwise I would be happy to give it five stars.

I love this app!

I am very much an amateur bird watcher. I've mostly watched birds at my feeder who would stick around while I paged through my bird guide. Recently I began traveling a lot and see birds that don't stay around as long. This app has been wonderful in helping me identify them. This morning I saw a little blue heron and it showed up at the top of the list. Now all I need is an app that identifies bird song the way Shazam identifies music songs!

Fun App!

Identifying birds by just snapping a picture is a breeze and really fun. But if you weren't quick enough to get a picture you just answer a couple of easy questions and the app shows you a photo and says "Is this your bird?" After finding out the bird's name there's a short description of habitat, a recording of calls, and a map showing migration and as well as year-round territory. Great free app!

Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
View in iTunes
  • Free
  • Category: Reference
  • Updated:
  • Version: 1.2.2
  • Size: 42.3 MB
  • Languages: English, Spanish
  • Seller:

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

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