posted March 8th, 2011; last edited November 22nd, 2014 –– David Sibley

The Sibley eGuide to Birds App

The Sibley Guide to Birds – the most popular, most comprehensive, and fastest-selling printed field guide to North American birds – is now available in digital form as an app for several mobile phone platforms.

Scroll down for a description of features. FAQ and trouble-shooting is here.

The entire content of the Sibley Guide to Birds – over 6600 images, every word of text, 800 range maps – along with the songs and calls of nearly every species… and all in your pocket!

for iPhone and iPod touch

for Android OS

for Kindle Fire

for Windows Phone 7

for Blackberry 

Want to test it before you buy?

For iPhone and iPod you can check out the Lite version for free at iTunes. This is a fully functional version of the app that includes only 30 species. See how it works before you buy.

Lite versions for other platforms are coming soon.


All of the content of the printed book is carried over to the electronic edition:

  • Over 6600 images of 810 species
  • Every species illustrated in flight and perched, and every major variation of age, season, or sex is shown
  • Detailed descriptions of songs and calls, comparing similar species
  • Detailed coverage of subspecies and regional variation
  • Detailed maps show winter and summer range, and also migratoin and rare occurrence
  • Measurements of length, wingspan, and weight for every species

In addition, the eGuide does things a printed book can’t do:

  • Play audio recordings of over 2300 different calls and songs, contributed by Lang Elliott, Kevin Colver, and others, the most complete collection of North American bird sounds available in a single package
  • Filter species to show only the birds found in a single state or province, or only the most commonly-seen species
  • Filter species by color, shape, size, and habits
  • Personal sightings log
  • Many future improvements planned

Easy and intuitive navigation

In designing this app I wanted to make the navigation easy and intuitive, requiring a minimum of “taps” or “clicks” to get to the important information.
Find any species in seconds by typing a few letters of its name, or by scrolling through the list (either alphabetically or taxonomically)
Swipe left or right from any species to view the previous or next species in the list1
Swipe up and down to scroll through the full series of images for each species
Tap images to view full screen, and rotate to landscape mode for even larger images
Tap text to view full screen
Icons lead to map, audio, and list features

Filter species by region, and also by the most commonly seen species in that region
Filter by size, color, shape, and habits

The only eGuide that allows you to compare two species images, maps, or sounds at once on the same screen (examples below)

How to use the guide

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.

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.

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.

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.

Update Feb 2013

As of the Feb 2013 update, search results show a thumbnail of the bird, and the species names can be displayed in French, Spanish, or Latin, as well as English.

Comparing platforms

The iPhone and Android versions are essentially identical to each other in content and functionality, with only very minor differences. The biggest differences will be seen in the lower resolution screens of some devices running Android OS, but when comparing the app on devices with similar screens users should see virtually no difference between them other than a few inherent differences in user interface.

The Blackberry app includes all of the content and virtually all of the functionality described for the Sibley eGuide (including regional filters as of May 2011), but currently does not include the compare feature found in the iPhone and Android apps. The compare feature cannot run on the small screen of many Blackberry devices, and there are no plans to add it to the Blackberry app. Most Blackberry devices are not operated by touch screen, and therefore the user interface is quite different, but navigation is still quick and easy using the scroll wheel and hardware buttons.


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

Developed by MyDigitalEarth


  1. non touch-screen devices use buttons and menus to achieve a similar functionality []

276 comments to The Sibley eGuide to Birds App

  • Norm Murr

    Re: Will The Sibley eGuide to Birds App working on y Kobo Arc 7.

    I downloaded the Lite version per your suggestion and it works fine and because it does I will be ordering the new App when it comes out next March (or so.

    Very impressive, looking forward to March.



  • Gilles Bourque

    Will you be working on a version for the Windows Surface, Windows Surface 2, and Windows Surface Pro tablets on the market?
    These are 10″ tablets running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 software.

  • Dear Gilles,

    The Windows 8 version for tablets is available it can be purchased from
    the Windows Store

    mydigitalearth development team

  • Kevin Grams

    Is there a firm date for the release of the new edition android app? I would like to know when it will be available. Will there be any credit for existing users of the current android app towards the purchase of the new app?

  • Norm Murr

    What is the status of the Sibley eGuide to Birds app – SECOND EDITION ??

  • Will there be an app version for ipad mini with retina?

  • When will the 2nd Edition of the Sibley eGuide to Birds Android app be released? Are there any details available at this time?
    Thank you.

  • Norm Murr

    Why are we not getting any answer to our question as to when is the 2nd Edition of the Sibley eGuide to Birds Android ???

    Kevin Grams asked this question almost a month ago and in my case almost 2 months ago, what’s up with the delayed and in fact non response??

  • Lila Tauzer

    Hi there.
    I just got a handheld computer (Juniper System Archer 2) for collecting field data and it has Windows mobile installed. Which application, if any, would work best for this device?

  • Troy Hollon

    Your app is great, I used it with my nokia lumia while out birding today. The thing is I was able to play the Black and White warbler song and had the bird come very close for great photos. It would be nice to have real pictures as well as the ones displayed but I like the app overall.

  • Barry Jones

    Hello. I downloaded the Sibley app a year or two ago and have found it very helpful. For some unknown reason, the audible bird song feature has stopped working. I have it on my iPod where it has worked before and I still get other recorded material from the device. Any idea what may have happened?

    • Hi Barry,

      There should be no reason why the audio stops working, we have however had issues before when the operating system is upgraded, you may need to uninstall the app and then do a reinstall, this should resolve your issue.

      Thank You
      mydigitalearth development team

  • Nivek Smarg

    Since the Android 1st Edition of the Sibley eGuide to Birds did not receive the update that the iOS Version did earlier this year, I would especially like to know when the 2nd Edition of the Sibley eGuide to Birds Android app will be released? Are there any details available at this time? Additionally, will there be any credit offered to the existing users of the current android app towards the purchase of the new app?
    Thank you.

  • Sorry for the late response, we are currently busy with the 2nd Edition of the App at the moment, it is close to beta stage and we are hoping to have a release date within the next 6 – 8 weeks.
    We will post an estimated release date here in the coming weeks.

    Thank You
    mydigitalearth development team

  • David

    Any Android experience running the app on a Nook Color with a N2A card for upgrading the android system?

  • I have the android app on my galaxy Express and love it. Is there a version that would work on a computer?

  • Hi Trudy,

    There is a version that will work on a PC, provided the PC is running Windows 8 Operating System.
    Herewith the link to Windows Store.

    Thank You
    mydigitalearth development team

  • Ken Wright

    Hi David:

    So with all the taxonomic changes and your updated hard copy book, I’m wondering when you intend to update the app?


    Ken Wright

  • George Baines

    I purchased the full iPad version a couple years ago. I have had to reset my iPad and have lost the big version. I have installed the lite version. How do I get the full version back? or do I have to buy it again?

  • Brian


    I have Samsung Galaxy 5s…..any update on release date of 2nd edition

  • Ellayne Elias

    I had the Sibley bird app on my old phone which is now broken. I can’t find It anywhere on my upgraded phone. do I have to purchase the app again? Ellayne

    • Hi Ellayne, If you have switched platforms or are using a new ID then none of your apps will transfer to the new phone. As long as you are connecting to the same app store as before (iTunes, Android, etc) with the same account ID, the app should be available in your account to download. If you haven’t switched platform or ID, and you are still not able to download it, please let me know either in a reply here or through the “Contact” button above, and we will help troubleshoot.
      — Best, David

  • It’s Nov. 25 and I’m wondering if you have any news about 2nd edition.
    I’m headed to Florida at the end of Jan and would really like the app by then.


  • Shanin Abreu

    I was wondering if I purchased the digital copy on Android as an app, but recently switched to iPhone, do I need to purchase another digital copy? Thanks

  • Ron Mallory

    Hi David,
    Happy New Year!
    Do you have an update on the projected release date for the eGuide to Birds of N.A. app?
    I use your app almost daily.

  • ban seng

    Hi there,

    I changed my android phone, transferred the Sibley Bird App to new phone but got stucked with MyDigitalEarth for downloading apps data, please help.

    Thank You

    • Hi Ban,

      We were experiencing connectivity issues on our servers this weekend which resulted in downloads not being served reliably. Could you please close the app and retry the download and should you still be unable to complete the installation please contact us on so that we can assist in resolution.

      We apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced.

      mydigitalearth development team

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