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

  • As pointed out by Rob McDonough.

    Blackberry Version.
    Thank you for alerting us to this issue.

    Yes we have found an issue with some of the sounds, the sounds for the species are correct, but in a couple of the species the order is mixed up, we have noted this error and will be including a fix for this in the next release (3-4 weeks time).

    mydigitalearth development team

  • Rob McDonough

    Is there any word on the update that will fix the order of the sounds for certain species, or when the next release will be forthcoming? Thanks in advance.

    Rob McDonough

  • Rob McDonough

    Checked in about a month ago to see if the update to the Blackberry app would be fixed so that the order of the sounds matches the buttons within each bird species. Please let me know at your earliest convenience at the email above.

    Thank you in advance.

    Rob McDonough

  • Mary Tannehill

    I live in Mexico in the winter and use my Anroid T-Mobil Comet phone in both Mex. & US by changing the sim cards. I am now in Mexico and unable to access Sibley’s. When I try and open it, it says it is validating the license and then says the application has stopped unexpectedly. Please help. There are a lot of cool birds down here and I need the app.

  • Brian Jones

    Issues…when are all the issues going to be fixed. Why was this setup to require an internet connect to install the app? The file for a manual installation doesn’t even create the correct folder. This refers to the Android version. Looks like a great app if I could get it installed and it worked properly.

  • In response to Brian’s Issue, An internet connection is required for OTA download of the application from the Android marketplace and licence validation. We have recreated the zip file with the full path eProducts\SibleyBirds\ “All resource files here”. When installing the resource files manually you will need to download the zip file\download\android\ to your desktop, extract this file to your desktop, this will create a folder called SibleyAndroid, you can then copy the entire “eProducts” folder to the root of your media card. You can now proceed to run the app, the device will be scanned for the resource files and if copied correctly the app will start. You will need to be connected to the internet the first time to validate the licence.
    mydigitalearth development team

  • Muckey

    Just wondering if there are any plans to release this app on Windows Phone devices? Have the book and it’s great and jealous of it being on my girlfriend’s iPhone. I’ve looked and there is only 1 bird guide app on WP7 but it’s all European birds. There’s a market for animal guides on WP7, hope you guys tap into it.

  • Brian S.jones

    Will the Android version run on Android tablets running the Honeycomb version of Android? Specifically the Motorola Xoom.

  • Brian

    I see the Blackberry Playbook is not able to download this app. Such a disappointment. Any chance of this happening soon?

  • The Sibley guide will work on Android Tablets running Honeycomb.

    The launch date for the Blackberry Playbook version has not been finalised, it will coincide with the new OS release for Playbook planned for Q1 of 2012.

  • Bob McKay

    I have downloaded the latest update 1.7 for iphone and ipad. On my itouch I can no longer view past the first illustration for a species. After the first one the screen becomes blank although the scrolling still works. I see there are similar complaints on the itunes website.

  • Don Henry

    I was having phone difficulties this AM and got to wondering if the phone went dead how would I keep a copy of my app. It is on an HTC android unit and as far as I can tell it is not backed up anywhere.

    • Good day Don,

      The application is linked to the Google account with which you purchased it from the Android Market. If your phone is factory reset or formatted then the application would be uninstalled but you would simply need to visit the Android Market and download it again – no purchase necessary.

      The data for the application is typically stored on the SD Card and should that be formatted, it would require a re-download of the original data again.

      I hope that answers your question?

      mydigitalearth development team

  • Lauren

    I am very happy to hear of a bird guide to the windows 7 phone also. Can’t wait for it to appear!


  • James Ferris

    I use the Sibley app (version 1.7) on my iPhone 4S running iOS 5.0.1. When I switch to another app and then back to the Sibley app about 95% of the time the Sibley app crashes and has to be restarted – it will not pick up where it left off before switching to another app (by double-clicking the home button).

    Is this a known problem? Is there a fix in the works?


    James Ferris

  • Cindy

    Are you developing the bird and tree app for the Nook tablet?

  • Ed Coyle

    Sorry I purchased the Sisley app for my I pad and cannot get into the sight.
    What do I need to do?
    Ed Coyle

  • Patti

    Will the eapp work on an ipad2?

  • Kevin Moore

    I too am surprised that it will not work on a Blackberry Playbook especially as Blackberry’s reduced price has resulted in a flood of new playbooks out in general use. I’m one of those who now have a Playbook and am disappointed. I will search out other options especially for calls. One good thing about the Playbook is the easy access to the web via your Blackberry. In Saskatchewan that gives me coverage almost anywhere. So in the field if I can open some websites with bird songs on them and since I always have paper Field Guides in my car then I might find I don’t need an AP for birds. Of course if I had one and was using it first then that is what I’d get used to.

  • Jonah

    I’m using the iPhone app. The illustrations are beautiful but I wish the search function could be improved. I’m new to birding and it’s hard to identify anything from a big long list of bird names. It would be great if you could improve the browsing. For example, there could be a black silhouette of the most prominent bird in the family and when you click on that, a color icon for each bird. That would help a lot. It would also be great if you could support eBird like some other apps (but that is less important to me than improving the browsing). I hope that’s possible.

    • Jonah, thanks for your comments on the app. I agree the search methods could be better, but for now one solution is to select your state and check the box to “show only common birds”. That will limit the results to the 100 or so most frequently seen species, and if you don’t find a match there you can easily uncheck the box to see all species for the state.

  • Jane Masterson

    all of a sudden bird calls won’t work– iphone version

    • Hi Jane, check that the mute button on the side of the phone is switched off (although in latest versions of the app that has no effect on the sounds). I’ve forwarded your comment to the developers, and I’m confident they can get it sorted out.

    • Hi Jane
      Please also make sure that the application volume is turned up – when you are at a species with a sound tap on the sound and when it is playing turn the volume up (using buttons on side of device). This volume control is different to the main ringer volume control.

      Regards team

  • Don Henry

    I have the guide on my android phone and have a kobo ereader tablet that also has an android system. Is it possible to download the program to this device and if so do I need to re-purchase.


    • From the developers:
      “If your Kobo reader has a colour display, runs the Android OS and has access to the Android Marketplace then you should be able to install and run the application on your device.
      You can login to the Android market place with the same credentials you used on your Android phone, browse to Sibley Birds and select purchase, the app store will give you the option to reinstall the app. You will not have to pay again.
      I have not physically had a Kobo reader in my hands yet so I don’t know the device well, If you have any issues with this please let us know.”

  • Leon Bright

    Any news about progress on a Windows Phone version??

  • Earl Dutton

    I’m a big fan of the Sibley’s Guides in print. Previously I had installed Sibley’s Birds app successfully on a BB Storm2. Recently I “upgraded” to a BB Torch but cannot get things going with this app. When loading the app I get the initial screen page which directs me to load the resource files but the remaining part of the page that I assume tells me how to do this is not displayed. Swipe scrolling and pinch zoom do not work while this page is displayed and no menu button options help. That’s as far as I can get with it. Is this a common problem with the BB Torch? I have been in contact with at least one other person with the same problem on this device. Any help is appreciated

  • Earl Dutton

    Wow! This was a quick response. Thank you so much. I am really inpressed with your post-sale involvement with your product.

  • Joop van Helvoort

    Just have been birding in Florida for 5 days. Downloaded Sibley as well as iBird pro, but only used the Sibley app, which to me says it all.

    Would like to see one change made. I used the My list option extensively. When editing the location of a species in My List as well as changing location after new additions to My list, the location field is completely empty. It would be more practicle if the old entry is kept, so it only has to be amended and if needed completely replaced

    All the best, Joop

  • Eva

    I bought a Blackberry Torch 9810 about a month ago and Sibley’s is one of the first programs I loaded. It works perfectly (of course no touch screen functionality). I love it!
    I also have a playbook and the new OS 2 on it. I understand it will now play some android apps. Will the Android version of Sibley’s run on that?? Would there be a way of combining the mylists?

    • From the developers: “we are submitting the Playbook version for approval this week, so it should be available in the next 10-14 days. We are busy investigating a way of transferring your list to the Playbook, it may however not be available in the first release.”

  • Rick

    I saw in the above post (Dec 8) that the launch date for the Blackberry Playbook version “will coincide with the new OS release for Playbook planned for Q1 of 2012″. Now that the new OS for Playbook has been released, when should we expect to see the Sibley app? I’m very much looking forward to using it. Thanks

  • Rose

    I too am a Playbook OS user……and look forward to your updates. Hope they are in time for the Spring migration period in Ontario.

  • Preston

    Thank you, thank you. thank you for developing a Playbook version – I am looking forward to getting my hands on it!!!

    Well sone

  • Sherry

    New York list is missing Pileated Woodpecker. Using app on Blackberry.

  • Information – RE: Changing platforms and the Sibley Birding App

    At this satge there is no way to transfer an application licence from one operating platform to another eg; If you purchased a Blackberry Version we cannot transfer the licence to Apple, Android, Kindle Fire or Windows Phone 7 and vice versa. This means you would have to repurchase the application for the new platform to which you have migrated.
    We are going to be looking at some form of coupon system in the not to distant future that may allow us to help ease the burden of swopping platforms.

    Thank you for patience, understanding and loyal support with the product.

    mydigitalearth development team

  • LeJay Graffious

    Can you email at list of birds from eBird that is in taxonomic order? I seem to only get alphabetic order?

  • Eric Reiser

    One great thing about the print edition of the Sibley Guide is that it includes an introduction for each category of bird (e.g., loons & grebes, tubenoses, etc.). The intro not only gives useful information but gives a visual overview of birds within the families. Can those introductions be included on the apps, especially the IPad and other tablets which have the larger screens.

  • Jim Cosgrove

    I’ve recently downloaded the full program from the Blackberry App store for use on my Playbook. It worked fine the first couple times but then the program screen became larger than the playbook screen, effectively hiding the return button.
    I’ve deleted and re-installed the program but the error is still there.
    Any suggestions?

    thank you,

    • Hi Jim, Sorry to hear that you are having trouble with the app. I’ve forwarded your question to the developers and they should be able to help you out.

    • Hi Jim,

      I think the steps below should sort the problem out:

      1.) Swipe your finger from the top bezel downwards – that should bring up the menu for the current screen as well as a “navigation bar” at the bottom of the screen.
      2.) Tap the toggle button at the far right of the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen – this will keep the navigation bar on-screen thereafter.

      You can always use the top bezel swipe-down gesture to bring up the menu on any screen. Should you wish you can also swipe diagonally up and left from the bottom bezel to perform a “return” gesture, thereby negating the need for pressing the virtual return key in the navigation bar.

      I hope that helps sort out the issue you are currently experiencing? Development Team

  • Jim Cosgrove

    Thank you David.
    Hoping you get it fixed so I can enjoy the great features.


  • Bill In Tennessee

    Great iPad application. Only problem is taking the iPad in the field. :)

    Suggestion for My List. It would be nice if the My List would appear as though it were a State and could be selected. For example, I’m planning a trip to Michigan in May. I have a list of about 25 species I would like to see. It would be great is I could select My List as if it were a state, and then simply Swipe through the list, working on learning field marks, calls, etc. Of course, having multiple lists would be nice too.

    Thanks for accepting input!


  • Wilde Legard

    Hi. Using the latest version on an iPad, is there an easy way to jump to one of the taxonomic index groups, like “Diurnal Raptors” or “Wood-Warblers”? Or do I just have to scroll down the index list until I find it?

    I can search for “Ha” and catch “Hawk” and “Harrier”, but then all the other raptors disappear. If I search for “Warbler”, redstarts and waterthrushes vanish from the list. Am I missing an easy access to these gray-highlighted groups?

    I love the illustrations, comparison feature, and sounds. I just wish I could jump to the groups more easily. Thanks.

  • Jim M

    First, thanks for getting the Windows Phone version of the Sibley eGuide to the marketplace.

    It has been working well so far. The only glitch I have encountered is exporting the list to Skydrive. I get the following error message – “There was a problem accessiing your Microsoft Live account: NullReferenceException”. The program says it has signed in successfully and the correct permissions for the app are shown in the Windows Live accoutnt.

    • Hi Jim, I’m glad you like the app. I’ve forwarded your question to the developers and they should be able to help you sort it out.

      • Jim M

        Noticed an update for the app in marketplace today. After installing it I tried exporting my list to Skydrive and it worked first try. Not sure if the update addresses anything else, but the export function is now working for me. Thanks to you and your developers for fixing this.

  • Sheri

    Hi, I love carrying “My Sibley” around with me at all times! I have a suggestion on the search, I am using the iPhone version. When you do a search, it should return the family as well as the species. For example, what if I want to look at all the warblers? (this is what I most often want to do.) If I search for “warbler” I will not get Ovenbird, American Redstart, etc. My only other option is to know where the warbler family falls on the taxonomic index. Or is there another way to pull up all warblers?


  • linda

    hello this sounds like a great app will it work with 2nd gen ipod
    touch or blackberry curve?

    • Hi Linda, I forwarded your question to the app developers and they replied “The Sibley App will work on a second generation iPod (as long as the device has the latest firmware loaded) the app will also work on a Blackberry Curve.”

  • Mike Judd

    Great idea for coupons to help us migrate from one platform to another. Any update on when that will be available?

  • G. N.

    Hi – I only see app options for iPhone & iPod. Is the guide available for iPad?

  • Karen Rispin

    I bought the guide for my iPhone and love it. Can I also access it on my computer?

    • Hi Karen, Thanks, I’m glad you like the app. Unfortunately apps will only run on the iPhone or iPad, not on a home computer. It would be nice if someone could make it possible to view apps on a computer, especially for “reference” apps like mine, but I don’t think that’s happening soon.

  • Steve Morytko

    This may have already been mentioned but I would love to have the ability to create a “target” list of birds. There are many instances when this would be handy especially when you’re in an unfamiliar area trying to see a set of species that you’re unfamiliar with or when working on trying to separate similar species like thrushes, shorebirds, etc.

    Accepting user input probably creates some programming challenges but it would surely be a great option and perhaps differentiate the app from others too.

    Thank you for your consideration.


    • Hi Steve, Thanks. This is a great suggestion and one that we’ve talked about here for several years. It’s definitely possible and I agree it would be very handy. I’ll ask the developers again about it.

  • Dave

    A really nice feature would be to use the GPS (if present in your phone or tablet) and current date to create a list of birds likely in your area at the present time. So the app would know you were in the mountains or on the Gulf Coast or in the prairies and would know how to drill down through the range maps to decide what resident, migratory, breeding, or wintering birds to list.

  • Dave Spicer

    I just installed this on my Windows Phone, great app!

    What is the My Map supposed to show? All I get is the last species recorded on a scrollable black background.


    • Good day Dave,

      “My Map” displays your GPS-tagged bird sightings on a global map. A black background indicates that the map is unavailable. This is likely caused by either the mapping functionality being blocked or unavailable on your device or no network connectivity being available and therefore the maps are not able to download correctly.

      We have opened a bug report and it will be investigated and subsequently fixed in the next update to the app. Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.

      mydigitalearth Development Team

  • D J Parks

    I love my Sibley Guides, both the book and the app on my iPhone.

    I am thinking about switching to an android becuse of the larger screen. Will I have to purchase the app again?

    Thank you.

    D J Parks

  • When switching between Platforms – Apple to Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone (or any other permutation) it is not possible to transfer the license for the application to the new platform. In short this means you the user would have to purchase the application for the new desired platform. If we can assist in any possible way with this process please email us at
    Thank you for your loyal support.

    mydigitalearth Development Team

  • Melanie McClaren

    Will this be available for Windows 8 RT? I need windows for work & would like to use this app on my new tablet. I have an iphone I use in the field. Thanks!

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