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

  • Tim

    Does the Sibley eGuide to Birds app work on Ipad, too. If so, do I need to buy an app for Ipod & one for Ipad?

    • The eGuide app as it stands works on both the iPhone and the iPad, and you can buy one copy and use it on both devices by syncing to the same computer. It’s nice to see the images and text at the larger size on the iPad, but the functionality and the images themselves are all the same as on the iPhone/iPod and we have no immediate plans to develop an iPad-specific app.

  • Ma. Cristina Meléndez

    Hola buenas tardes, puede indicarme por favor como puedo adquirir la guía con aplicación para blackberry.


  • Patrick

    I guess it’s April for the BlackBerry version?

    • Yes, it will be April. I’m told the final version should be ready to submit to the Blackberry app store within the next few days, and hopefully approval and posting to the store will be quick.

  • ALi

    Need the Sibley guide for Windows 7 phone!!!! Please develop an app for the new htc arrive WP7.

  • Douglas Brick

    I just bought the android version. Do I have to purchase the iphone version separately?

  • Kaitlin Lyon

    Just to be clear – the app can do everything for me that the printed books can do? I’m not missing any functionality through the app?

    • The app includes every image and map from the books, and almost all of the text from the “big” Sibley Guide as well as Eastern and Western Field Guides. The text from all three books is combined in the app, so it doesn’t match exactly what is in the books, but nothing significant is left out. And of course the app adds audio for over 600 species, and searching and filtering by region and other attributes. The app does not include the “Family comparison pages” with thumbnails of all related species lined up for comparison. Other advantages of the book include being able to see two full pages (images, text and maps) all at once, and to browse or compare many species very quickly by flipping pages (the app views only one or two images at a time).

  • Patrick

    Thank you for all of your helpful answers, David. I have one more question: will a free trial be offered for the BlackBerry version?

  • Jack Saba

    Is one of the planned improvements the ability to add notes other than in a sighting log — something that would be associated with the species, rather than with a particular date?

  • Linda W

    Going on vacation from the East Coast to Palm Desert area of California on April 28, 2011. Any chance the app for Blackberry will be available by then?

  • Georges Gagne

    I initially purchased from Bell Canada a Motorola Atrix. At the store and then at home the attendant and myself tried to pay and download the IPhone application of Sibley N-A birds.In both case, there was no end to the project and I cancelledthe download. I then exchanged the IPhone for a Apple IPhone G4. I had similar success. Can you list the steps necessary to properly download tomy PC with window 7 and IPhone. This is my first experience with a smart phone. someone lost at this time. Your application wasmy main reason to upgrade to a smart phone. Thanks Georges Gagné

    • Since the app is quite large (350MB) it is recommended that you download it to a computer and install on the phone from there. It should be a straightforward process using iTunes on your PC to download the app and install it on the phone. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Richard D. Petersen

    How big will the BB version be? Will it work on all phones? I have a touchscreen Storm2 with a little under 100mb. Looking forward to adding your app.

  • Paul Warner

    I recently purchased an IPad and am interested in purchasing your Eguide to Birds. Based on the large file size, it would appear that this is a stand alone application not requiring Internet service in order to use the app while birding in the field. Is this correct?

  • Evan Houston

    I am really enjoying this guide on my new iPod touch (having your guide fit easily in my pocket is actually the only reason I got the iPod touch!)
    Is it possible (or will it be possible) to add mp3 files of my own (e.g. downloaded from Xeno-Canto) to a species of my choice? It would be really convenient to be able to open up iTunes and put in additional calls and regional variation (it’s already a really nice collection, and this would help make it into a customizable master library).


  • Pierre

    The french bird name are available ???


  • Pierre

    A free demo version with only few birds will be nice! It can help evaluate the user interface, the sound and image quality….etc.


  • Terry

    Has the app been released for the Blackberry yet?

    • Sorry about the delay. There is still no word on the Blackberry app. I was told it would only take a couple of days for approval but apparently it is taking longer than that at Blackberry. I’ll post as soon as I know more.

  • Terry

    When does the Blackberry app come out?

  • Terry

    Oops, sorry. I forgot I already posted this question. Didn’t mean to post twice.

  • Jamie


    I see a Blackberry version is coming out shortly. Is there any chance that a version for the new Blackberry Playbook might appear soon? The 7 inch tablet is the perfect size for birding. I find the iPad a bit too big to be handy for carrying.

  • Jessica

    Will the blackberry version work on Blackberry “Bold”?

  • Thanks for your patience with the Blackberry app, everyone. It is now available at the Blackberry App World.
    It should work with all versions of Blackberry devices, although not all features will be available in all devices. Please let me know how it’s working, and feel free to contact me or the developers (or leave a comment here) with any questions or suggestions.

  • Patrick

    Hi David. Just purchased the BlackBerry app. It is very impressive but I have just a couple of issues. One, I noticed you can search for birds by color, type, distinctive features, etc., but I was under the impression you could search by location. Two, there doesn’t seem to be any volume control when playing songs and calls. I found the volume to be quite loud. This is simply constructive criticism as I find the app to be wonderful and I know it will get plenty of use. Thank you.

    • Hi Patrick, My mistake, the Blackberry app does NOT currently include the regional data, and I’ve corrected my post from earlier today. The developers tell me that they had some concerns about setting that up for Blackberry and they wanted to launch the app and make sure it worked well on the variety of Blackberry devices before adding that. If all goes well, they expect to be able to add the regional search filters in an update in about two weeks. That will be a free update.
      The other feature of the iPhone and Android apps that the Blackberry version does not include is the ability to compare two species on the same screen. This is due to the smaller screen of many Blackberry devices, which simply can’t show two images effectively.
      I’ve asked them about your volume control question, and will post whenever I hear something.
      Thanks for the comments.

  • Mike

    I have a BB Torch which should be able to compare two species on same screen. Any chance it will be available for the Torch? Also if you slide the keyboard out while in the app, it locks the keyboard on the screen when you close the slider and you can not get the keyboard off the screen without exiting and then relaunching the program.Glitch?

    • Hi Mike, sorry to hear that you are having trouble. I forwarded your comments to the developers and you should be hearing from them about the keyboard issue. And we’ll be looking into the possibility of adding the compare feature to Blackberry devices that can handle it, but that’s a more complex challenge.

  • David

    I have a I Phone and love the Sibley app. Wonderful job. Now I plan to buy a I Pad for larger viewing and etc. Can I use the same purchased app on the I Pad and have on both devices? If so how do I accomplish this?
    Thank you.

  • Sharon

    I am using the Android version on a HTC Evo Shift. I am getting quite a few “force close” error messages. Once I force close it will re-open without errors.

    It occurs when I have been in the app and then leave the app without backing all the way out.


    Thanks for a great program (and the books too)!

    • Hi Sharon, I’m sorry that you are having these problems. I’m forwarding your comment to the developers and hopefully they can sort it out for you quickly.

      • Kevin Lucas

        Android Sibley app version 1.3.2. I too am still (10 July, 2011) having this problem (Force close caused when reactivating the application after the device has gone to sleep) on my Droid X2, Android 2.2.2, Kernel The developers are already aware of it.

  • Forest Tomlinson

    I love this app and I use it in the field. Just one question. How do you delete an entire list?
    Thanks, Forest

  • Judy Puncochar

    I purchased your Sable Birds app for my Droid, but I have a download error: No route to host. Please advise ASAP because I have enrolled in a birding class this weekend. :) thanks! Judy

  • We have just released V1.2.7 for Android

    Changes in v1.2.7:

    Fixed offline license reminder continually being displayed, even after opting to refresh the license.

  • Michael O'Keefe

    Thanks for the Blackberry version!
    Following up on another comment from last week – I also have a Torch on which the onscreen keyboard locks when I use it. Would appreciate being in the loop for a fix.
    Thanks, Michael

  • We have just released Version 2 for Blackberry
    Release Notes:
    New in Version 2
    Added “My Location” Global filter by state (applies filter across, Taxonomic, Alphabetic and Smart Search)
    Added “Introduction” Includes Tips, Introduction and Acknowledgements.

  • Michael O'Keefe

    Thanks, does version 2 address the keyboard on the screen?

  • Richard D. Petersen


    AppWorld is charging another $30 for the upgrade on the BB. This can’t be right, can it?

  • Blackberry V2 Update Problem

    To all concerned, those customers upgrading to Version 2 of the Blackberry Sibley Bird application who have been charged for the upgrade, please send an e-mail to with your full names, address & tel no. YOU WILL BE REFUNDED.

    You were not meant to be charged for upgrades, this is an error on our side. It is being rectified by Blackberry Appworld and should be available by late Monday evening the 30th or Tuesday morning the 31st.

    We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

  • Roger Clark

    David, After some difficulty I now have the guide on my bb9700. It really is going to me a fun app. I almost gave up then Rob helped and quickly fixed the problem. He is truly a great resource for you. We have enjoyed your books and this adds a new dimension. I did not notice a warning to users about using the sounds in the field. The calls are so clear and loud that they could be distracting to some birds or invite their predators. I look forward to future features as they are added. Roger

  • Steve Morytko

    Short List feature request

    I wonder if it would be possible to add at the top level a button for (ideally multiple) user-customizable taxonomic list(s) of target birds?

    Thanks for a great app! Steve

  • Blackberry Update Version 4.1.0
    * Blackberry-style theme (replaces “90’s DOS style” interface)
    * Improved smart search
    * Improved support for touch-enabled devices
    * Improved support for native text auto-complete


    Please delete the application from your device, you can do this by going to the “Options” (little spanner icon) in the Blackberry menu, select “Applications” this will display a list of installed applications, select Sibley App and go ahead and delete it.

    Return to Blackberry Appworld and reinstall this will force installation of V4.0.1

  • Michel P. Cote

    David, I am from Quebec and use your bird guide, Eastern region (french version).
    As I travel and bird a lot through out North America, I want the eguide for my IPAD, but I cant find the info regarding bird names in french ? IBird offers the names in english, spanish and french, but I want to stick with Sibley’s. Any chance a ‘patch’ giving the french names will ever come ? The text in english is fine, but the names in english create a difficulty for life lists, and to go through latin names is a pure nightmare…

    Thanks fore a fine product.

    • Hi Michel, I’ve just posted a complete list of French and English names for review. The developers are working on incorporating those names into the app in a future update, so hopefully it won’t be too long.


    Why do not show the hybrids warblers, on your eguide (ipodtouch) like Brewster’s and Lawrence’s warbler.
    It perhaps a good idea to integated thase hybrids .!

    Thank you david it great job and very usufull on the field.
    Pictures and songs on the same ipodtouch.

    Peter lane, Québec city

  • José Huertas

    I really love those very usefull applications!
    And I work as a nature guide in Costa Rica, the app works very well especially during the migrations, but, are you working on an app of NewTropic Birds (Tropical America) or Costa Rican´s birds?

  • José Huertas

    One more thing. Why you does not include a second map to show the “real distribution” of the species? Specially the migrants, I think is important for the conservation of the birds to know what happen with those from México to Argentina/Chile.

    José Huertas, Costa Rica.

  • I’ve used the Guide to Birds for many years, I still consider it to be
    the best reference for North America available. Last spring I
    picked up a new iPod and added the app to my pocket – I’ve been
    very happy with it. I am wondering if the excellent Guide to Trees
    will be available as an app as well, I would love to put that in my
    pocket too.

    Many thanks!

  • mydigitalearth development team is pleased to anounce the release of Sibley Birds of North America Version 1.3.0 for Android

    Changelog Version 1.3.0

    * Support for large-screen devices (i.e. tablets) including Android Honeycomb OS.
    * Added play/pause/stop/repeat functions to birds calls.
    * Added Import/Export function in My List. Export a backup to your SD card or Email. Import a backup from SD card (includes import preview).
    * Added menu option to “My List” to clear all list entries.
    * Added auto-complete on my list fields.
    * Added history on selection of Location when adding/editing a “My List” entry.
    * Added button on installation screen to download/install resources to a custom location (e.g. secondary sdcard)
    * Added feature to automatically search for manually downloaded resource files to provide seamless installation.
    * Changed installation and title screens to portrait mode only (all other screens remain portrait/landscape compatible).
    * Fixed incorrect bird call for “Nashville Warbler”.
    * Fixed incorrect bird information for “Pine Siskin”.
    * Fixed “fast scroll” popup (taxonomic, alphabetic and smart searches) so that bird taxonomy name no longer go off the edge of the screen.
    * Fixed search bug where a search query with an apostrophe would cause an invalid/empty result.
    * Fixed installation verification bugs.
    * Fixed wifi timeout bug during installation.

  • Michael

    While I love this app, the latest update has made it unusable. I get a warning on both my Droid X and Xoom that the app has been tampered with and will not run. I am then prompted to contact the developer if I purchased the app legitimately; which I did. Emails to the developer have been unanswered. This is very disappointing. I’m looking forward to getting that app working again. Hopefully soon…

    • Hi Michael, Sorry to hear this. The developers are working on the issue and you should expect to hear from them, if you haven’t already. Please let me know if there are any further problems.

  • I tried four times to buy the Blackberry app, but the web site in question is infuriatingly frustrating. Each time, after signing on, I searched for a found the Sibley Guide. I clicked on “purchase” but was sent back to a sign-on page where I once again entered my ID and password. I was then — each time — sent to a page that said that my session had timed out. I was unable to purchase the app. Please tell me how I might be able to purchase it, bypassing the frustrating web site to which I was sent. Thanks.

    • Harvey, I’m sorry to hear about the issues with the Blackberry store. I’ve forwarded all of this to the developers and they are working on the issues. If you haven’t heard from them in a day or so, or if you have any other concerns, please let me know.

    • Carol1949

      it does that to me to but theres a small message that my device software is not compatable. I looked and its 4.2 and needs to be 4.6

  • Changelog for Version 1.3.2
    NB: Please backup your birds list before applying this update (My List -> Export). If you experience any issues regarding licensing, or notifications that the application has been tampered with after applying the update, please uninstall and then reinstall the application.

    Fixed installation and verification issues introduced on certain devices in v1.3.1.
    Fixed bug where enabling bird comparison would cause a FC.
    Fixed issues with application not running on certain tablet devices.

  • Bob Braun

    I have a Blackberry now but plan to change to a droid in November. If I buy now for my blackberry will I need to buy again for my new Droid if I go that route?

    • Yes, unfortunately. I will check with the developers again but they have explained it to me that each platform is different and the apps are sold through completely independent stores. The Android marketplace has no way of knowing what you bought at Blackberry, for example, and there is no “license” that travels from one device to the other.

  • I’d like to have the ability to switch between taxonomic/alphabetical order while reading entries and maintaining the current species. (Using Android app)

  • Rob McDonough

    I have the BB app and it is really great, I especially love the quality of the sounds. I have noticed that it seems like many of the calls are not paired correctly with the “buttons”. For instance under Brown Thrasher there are 5 calls: smack calls, song #2, churr-calls, teeyoo and smack calls, and song #1. Touching “smack calls” most definitely plays one of the songs, and churr-calls give you a “smack”. I’m using a Torch, not sure if that makes a difference, but I’ve noticed this for some other birds as well. I’m wondering if this is a problem with my install or a bug? Can you confirm that the Brown Thrasher calls are correctly matched to the touch buttons? Or if not, is there a way to fix this?

    Rob McDonough

    • Hi Rob, I’m glad you like the app. I checked the sounds on the iPhone app and they are working correctly. It may be a mixup in the database when it was converted for the Blackberry app, and I’ve alerted the development team to your question. They should have an answer for you very soon.

  • Rob McDonough


    Thanks, I appreciate your attention to this and hope to hear from the development team soon. Will they be emailed me or will this be a general announcement, and if so where would I find this information posted?

    Rob McDonough

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