posted February 17th, 2010; last edited September 13th, 2010 –– David Sibley

The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America

Updated June 5th 2010 with high-res images!

The Sibley Guide to Birds is now available as an app for iPhone and iPod Touch. Check it out at the iTunes app store (here).

June 9th – Several users have reported issues with some of the new sounds added in this update. Uninstalling and reinstalling the program seems to resolve this, and it will be corrected in the update in a few days.
The images of Baltimore and Bullock’s Orioles were inadvertently switched in this version, and will be corrected in the update.
We’re planning to finish an emergency update by June 16th. Please contact me or add a comment here with any errors you find.

The updated interface uses swiping motions to navigate: up and down for images of the same species, left and right for other species. Buttons for map and sounds are on the upper right.

Tapping the text instantly makes it full screen, and rotating to landscape view increases the size of the text for easier reading.

Maps are now higher resolution and can be viewed full screen.

A tap on the image expands it to full screen, swiping your finger up and down scrolls through all images of the species, while swiping left or right moves to previous and next species.

Turning the device expands the image further to fill the screen in landscape view, swiping up or down scrolls through all images of the species.

Comparisons of any two species (or even two variations of the same species) are easy to set up, and swiping either species up or down scrolls through all images of that species, while swiping the top image left or right moves to previous or next species.

Comparison species can also be viewed side-by-side in landscape mode simply by turning the device.

Tapping the "voice" icon while in the compare screen makes it easy to compare songs and calls of any two species.

A discussion forum for users of the product can be found here, please feel free to join in, leave comments, tell us what you like or don’t like. We will be continuing to develop the program.

Instructions and tips for using the program are here

Read an interview with David about the iPhone guide at Birder’s World here

The program includes all 6600 images, and all text and maps from the printed guide. In addition it includes over 2200 audio recordings representing a wide range of the commonly heard vocalizations of nearly every species.

A simple and intuitive interface puts all of this information at your fingertips

The program allows you to sort the birds by state, so species unlikely to be seen in your location can be excluded from your browsing. Another helpful feature not possible in a printed field guide is the ability to switch between showing all of the species possible in your state, or just the one hundred or so most-commonly-seen species.

Other “filters” allow you to limit your browsing to only certain types of birds, e.g. “waterbirds”, or “heron-like” birds, etc). You can also browse only those species with certain distinctive colors (e.g. “mostly black” or “wingbars”), or distinctive shapes (e.g.”crested”). And you can select the general size of the bird you are searching for.

Developed by MyDigitalEarth

127 comments to The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America

  • Rich

    I have been using the Android version of this guide this year and really like it. I use it on the job (used to carry the paper field guide, but now it stays in the truck!). Really love having the illustrations I trust along with the recorded calls in one unit on my belt. Here’s my request for something to consider for the next version:

    Please make it possible to go from an entry on “My List” to the page with the bird’s description. It would great to be able to click on a name on my list and have info about that bird appear.

    I use “My List” as a reminder of the couple dozen or so birds of conservation concern that I am surveying for while on the job (I don’t use this as a life list). I would really like to be able to use this list as a tool to shorten the time it takes me to play a recording or check on the characteristics of morphology of a bird I am not so familiar with.

    • Thanks Rich, That’s a clever way to use the “my list” feature. The ability to jump from the list directly to a species account by tapping the species name was added to a recent update for the iPhone version. Sorry the Android development is lagging behind. I’ll check with the developers but I would guess the same feature could be added to Android.

      • RIch

        Haven’t returned to this conversation until it showed up on a google search! I love the new functionality, the thumbnails, and especially the new links from My List back to the bird descriptions, photos, calls, etc. (I am a botanist, so I don’t know all the birds I need to survey for, especially in spring!) Thanks.

  • Paul

    David – This past March I made a posting on under the Android section concerning “favorites” and a “Life List” capability (below) – is there any update on the possibility of these being available at some point?

    March 8, 2011 at 9:22 PM
    One other quick question: Do you see the my list function to be expanded to include a “favorites” capability; actually linking to the images and descriptions of the eGuide. I volunteer at the local Ornithology Center and use the Sibley eGuide all the time when showing visitors how to identify a bird. The ability to have a “favorites” list that would allow quick linking to the images & identification information would be extremely helpful.

    David Sibley
    March 12, 2011 at 10:28 AM · Reply
    Yes, a “favorites” list has been on the list of desired features from very early on. We’re working on an update for this spring and hopefully we can make progress towards this. And I’ve passed along your comment on the date also.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:10 PM
    Thanks for the update on the possibility of having a “favorites” in the near future. As the developers are looking into this; I would offer the suggestion that they allow for multiple named “favorites” lists (I do my birding in several states and it would be nice to be able to separate) and if at all possible add a “Life-List” button. I currently use another application to track my life list and would love to have this all in one place. (I like to think of this functionality as similar to the check-lists at the back of guide books)


  • John Swindells

    What is the experience with the guide running on iPad2?

  • David Gulick

    On your range maps in the field guide, I am hoping you will use a different color than green for the dots that indicate occasional sightings. When the dots are along the coastlines they are especially hard to see. Perhaps red? If this is something you have already addressed, great! Thanks, David

  • Neil Butchard

    I have the Sibley’s for my IPod and love it. I am wondering if an IPad version is forthcoming

  • Brian Jones

    I was on a bird walk recently and the leader had an iPad with Sibley’s on it. It was very helpful, especially when doing comparisons.

  • Leon Bright

    It’s been almost a year since someone asked whether there is a version for the Windows7 OS. At that time the answer was no. Is there any interest in developing your app for Windows at this time?


  • Leon Bright

    Is there any consideration at this time to develop your app for the Windows7 OS?


  • Neil Butchard

    Congratulations on the new update for the IPod/IPad. It makes Sibley eGuide a great “must have” app for the IPad. I absolutely love it.

  • Paul

    David – I just downloaded the new android version and I have to “force close” the application when I try to use the menu from the home screen on my HTC Aria. The error message is that the application has stopped unexpectedly.


  • Brian Jones

    Is Sibley’s compatible with Android Tablets running Ice Cream Sandwhich?

  • Larry Mills

    I downloaded the eguide for my ipad. Was checking it out using the birds in my backyard. I really like the Smart Search, but wonder whether it will be expanded to include selection by other color or combinations. I’ve got some birds that are mostly brown or blueish grey. I like the app, but hope you’ll expand the search capability. I’m a novice birder and am looking for something to help identification.

  • Jim McPhee

    I’m using the app on my WindowsPhone 7.5 and think it’s just great. I have all the books, big Sibley, little Sibley, etc, etc. But having this eGuide on my phone means I can pull it up anytime, anywhere, review target species field marks, listen to calls and songs, etc. Since it is ported to the Windows Phone, what about Windows Vista, 7, 8? I’d love to view high resolution images of peeps, perhaps move various similar species side-by-side, view field marks, differences and similarities, listen to calls while the birds are on-screen… Any hope of seeing this? I definitely think there is a market for it. Thanks for all of your birding resources!!!

    • Hi Jim, Thanks, I’m glad you are enjoying the app and books. There are no plans currently to develop a version for home computer. It’s definitely something I would like to do, but it would be a lot of work. Maybe someday…
      Best, David

  • Wayne Morehead

    After more than two years happily using Sibley Birds on my iPhone, the regional list function has given up. No matter what state I select it shows the entire list from “Current Location: All”. After trying several times, turning the iPhone off and checking for possible updates for the app, I deleted the app and reinstalled it from my iTunes. It still does not provide region lists – just the total list. How can I fix that?

    PS Deleting the app also deleted my own lists from dozens of locations – iTunes evidently does not record those lists when it syncs. How can I save these files electronically?

  • David Haraway

    I love the app and I use it on my iPhone often. I may have an older version, but Clark’s Nutcracker does not seem to appear at all in the birds included in the app. Also, the birds often seen in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas area, including the clay-colored thrush, blue bunting, kiskadee, hook-billed kite, green jay, and some others do not appear in the app. Maybe these could be included in any planned update.

  • David Haraway

    I have also searched for the cactus wren and cannot find it in the app. Plz know that I’m not being critical–I love the app. However, it’s so difficult to get a new lifer, I don’t want to not have all I have seen included in My List on the app. Thanks.

    • Hi David, I’m glad you are enjoying the app. All the birds in the book are included in the app. I suspect you have a state selected and that limits the species list to only those found in the state. Go to the main menu and look at the bottom left “My Location”. If a state or province is selected it will be red and showing the abbreviation of that state. Just tap it and select “all” or a different state as needed. Let me know if that doesn’t solve the problem.

      Best, David

  • David Haraway

    I appreciate your response. You, of course, we’re correct. I had my state selected in “My Location.” When I changed it to all I found all of the birds I needed to add to “My List.” Thanks again and before I suggest any additional updates to the app, I’ll make certain I know how to use it!

  • Phil Wallace

    Dear Sibley Birds,
    When, oh, when are you going to include the option to switch to metric units so the rest of the world can enjoy your wonderful app (and book for that matter)??
    In this digital age, how hard can it be?
    Please, please slate this for the next update.

    Thank you.
    Phil Wallace

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