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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. 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!

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.


• Created for beginning and intermediate bird watchers, Merlin identifies the 400 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 1,000 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 Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library.
• It’s all free! The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s goal is to help you and millions of others to learn about birds.​

What's New in Version 1.0.4

• Improved identification results
• Updated range maps
• Download size reduced by 150 MB
• Option to have bird names display in Spanish, Portuguese, or French
• General improvements

iPhone Screenshots

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Customer Reviews

Great app for identifying birds

I recently moved to a new state and this app has made it very quick and easy to identify the birds that live around my new house even if I can't see the bird. I learned through bird calls alone (as I haven't actually seen the bird itself) that there are some red bellied woodpeckers living behind our house. Additionally, while hiking I was hearing some strange bird calls and identified them as a pair of barred owls calling back and forth to each other. The app is easy to use and the wide variety of information they provide makes identification a breeze.

I do agree with the other viewers that having a list of birds you have previously identified ( especially so I can fix the times I accidentally identified a bird while trying to scroll) would be nice. What I personally have been wanting is an option that allows you to browse any of the birds that have a chance of showing up nearby without needing to enter any other descriptive information. Sometimes I just want to know what could be out there and use that to look out for specific birds. Great app though, so keep up the great work!


An app truly reflective of Cornell! Takes just an instant to identify most U.S. and Canada bird species with a great deal of accuracy. Along with being fast and accurate, it also provides plenty of great information such as range, calls, physical descriptions, and variations in morphology, all in an easy to navigate format. Although the app does not have every species of North American bird, it has most of the more commonly seen species. Hopefully, they'll add more species in the future but it would not be deleterious in the least if they did not, as its current list still excels for most cases. Two features that would be nice additions would be a Birdseye function and hyperlinks to webpages for more information on an identified bird. The Birdseye function would give you a list of known bird species in your area while the links (e.g., to ARKive, ADW, IUCN, Cornell's website, etc.) could help you find out more about a bird species than the brief summary found on the app. However, all things considered, the app is amazing the way it is currently and these additional features would be nice but not essential.

My pocket assistant!

This app is so helpful in confirming my possible IDs when I can't get good enough look or can only hear the bird. My ID-by-sound skills are quite rudimentary, and this app will help me better learn them. It is easy to use, which means I'll be more apt to take the time to use it. I appreciate the tool for using characteristics to narrow down and locate birds AND the ability to browse and explore just for learning's sake, or if my description and what the ID tool gave me didn't match, I could look at a wider field of possibilities.
I also appreciate that there are songs and calls, sometimes both together, and often more than one sample, which is helpful when there are varied nuances to them.

Thank you much for making this free app version a high quality, usable tool that will lessen the number and frequency of misidentifications among us less experienced learning birders and those of us more experienced, but who don't quite know enough to always be positive of our more difficult-to-ID birds by sight and by sound.

Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
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  • Free
  • Category: Reference
  • Updated:
  • Version: 1.0.4
  • Size: 446 MB
  • Languages: English, Spanish
  • Seller:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

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