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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, choose from your camera roll, or snap the viewfinder of your zoom camera, and Merlin's powerful AI will suggest an identification almost instantly.

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.


• Created for birders and bird watchers of every level, Merlin identifies the 2,000+ most common bird species of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and Europe.
• Merlin will now identify a photo using powerful deep learning algorithms. Select your photo, tell Merlin where and when you took it, and you'll see a short list of suggested identifications.
• Bird packs available for United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Guatemala, Belize and Costa Rica, with more coming soon.
• 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 15,000 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.

••• Bird Packs •••
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, Belize, and Costa Rica.

South America packs include the Medellín region of Colombia.

Bird identification help is also available for Europe with our Great Britain and Ireland pack, a Western Europe pack, and a pack covering the Scandinavian countries.

These packs make Merlin the perfect pocket Bird Guide to North America, Bird Guide to Mexico, Bird Guide to Guatemala, Bird Guide to Belize, Bird Guide to Costa Rica, Bird Guide to Europe, Bird Guide to Great Britain, and Bird Guide to Scandinavia.

••• About Photo ID •••
Powered by Visipedia, Merlin 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 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.

What's New

Version 1.3.9

# Select a location from a map
Choose any location in the world via a map, making it easier to select any area in the world.

# Portuguese language support
If your device is set to Portuguese, labels and buttons will appear in Portuguese.

Ratings and Reviews

4.9 out of 5

2K Ratings

2K Ratings

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!

Magical app, but still needs one CRITICAL feature

Joe Bird

This app is extremely easy to use and accurate for identifying birds based on both sighting characteristics and photos. The photo identification feature nearly aligns with Arthur C Clarke’s third law, that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and hence the app name of Merlin is extremely appropriate.

HOWEVER, it does not allow you save your bird history, DESPITE the app explicitly stating that your sighting “response has been recorded to improve Merlin’s accuracy.” Such an oversight is nearly inexcusable, as it requires you to save your own screenshots or enter the info in a separate document or in eBird (for which both the interface and ease-of-use are greatly inferior to and clumsier than those of Merlin).

I am practically begging the developers to add a bird history/tracking function to this app ASAP (as they have claimed to have been working on for at least the last six months), as I would be more than willing to pay for such functionality and the app would no doubt merit the full five out five stars.

Colorado birder

Colorado Biologist

Great bird ID tool! I didn't have a bird book with me on a recent trip to a Florida state park and do not know wintering shorebirds. I took a photo with my phone and then downloaded the app at the hotel that night. Figured out quickly what I saw that day including several new species for me like a black-bellied plover.

I use this app frequently. It not only makes bird identification really easy, but I like being able to contribute to Cornell's data base on what birds are where.

Update to my review: I have been using Merlin now for several years and love it. There are times though when I observe a bird that will not come up in the search results. It is not a case where Merlin does not have the species in its data base because I see it elsewhere in the app functions. It would be great if the app allowed you to name the bird yourself if it doesn’t come up in the search. That way, your siting could be recorded.


Cornell University
62.8 MB
Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
English, Portuguese, Spanish
Age Rating
Rated 4+
© Cornell University


  • Family Sharing

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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