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

  • Dan

    I just got an Android phone and am thinking about buying this app, which looks great. Will updates be included for free when the revision of the Sibley Guide comes out in 2013?

    • Well… that is a good question. The app has been developed and published by one company, but when the book is revised next year the company that publishes the printed book plans to take the lead in also publishing the app (in a new and revised form). Such a transfer is currently impossible in the app store, as I understand it, so they may have to simply publish the revised app as a new product and end support for the old one. You will still be able to use it, but it won’t be updated. I’ve argued for a way to protect existing customers, so hopefully there will be a coupon or some other way that will work to allow current users to get the new app, but – especially in the app world – nothing in the future is certain. –David

    • John

      Is there any schedule on this plan yet? I was about to buy the full app but I’d hate to buy it and have support/updates ended and feel like I’d want to buy the new version right away.


  • Don

    Hi. I am running the Sibley’s app on both my iPhone and iPad. Is there a way that the list that I basically now only have on my iPad also be installed on the iPhone and vice versa depending on which device I decide to use? I do have the list exported via iTunes and saved on my PC, but it would be great if there was a way to mirror the devices without having to put the information in on both. Please let me know. Thank you.

    • Good Day
      A few other users have also asked for this functionality and we can see that it would be useful to be able to store My List in the “cloud” and have it synchronized across devices. We will be looking into this for future updates of the app.

      Regards Development Team

  • Richard

    I am looking for a good birding App (or even a good field guide) that covers Costa Rica. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Richard, there are a couple of really good field guides to Costa Rican birds, but no apps as far as I know. A 2007 guide by Garrigues and Dean is has range maps and larger illustrations, and is much more portable; while a 1989 guide by Stiles and Skutch has a lot more info.

  • Reuven Martin

    Just got this app and am very impressed, but I can’t see any hybrid images. Am I missing something or are they not included?

  • John Dykstra

    How does this app work on the new Windows 8 smartphones?

  • Joy Keithline

    Please inform when new 2013 Sibley ap is a available

  • J. Resen

    I had been using the iPhone version. I now have purchased the Android version on a Samsung Galaxy S3. I liked on the iPhone version that I could click on a bird on my list and it would go to that bird so I could review the Sibley information on it. This can not be done on the Android version. When I want to see the Sibley information on a bird on my list, I have to leave my list, do a Taxonomic Index search to find the bird, and then read the information. Please add the iPhone feature to the Android version. Everything else works great.

  • Elliot Schunke

    I really enjoy the app and would suggest the capability of searching the species with the Alpha/Bander’s/4-letter codes of the species. That would be quite useful.

  • Dorlisa

    I purchased the e gude for my Blackberry but have not been able to successfully install it. I tried reinstalling according to instructions but still no success. Is it possible to speak with someone who can help get it working? Another option would be to switch my purchase to my Samsung tablet although that is my second preference.

  • MIchael

    I don’t seem to be able to get iTunes to give me the update – at least, I don’t see any “thumbnails” after downloading again. Since I can’t find anywhere on this website what the latest version is numbered [you have hidden it pretty well, anyway], I can’t tell for sure; mine says version 1.5. Or maybe this update doesn’t apply to iPodTouch?

  • Bobby

    What are pub/release dates for new Guide and Ap, please?

    Must be very close.


  • I am considering purchasing a Kindle Fire HP, but want to be certain I can get your e-Guide on that device. I did a search on Amazon and resulted in: Your search “Sibley eGuide to Birds App” did not match any products in: Kindle Store.

    What’s up with that?

    • Hi Debbie, Thanks for your interest. I’m told there were some issues with the latest update on Kindle, and the developers are working on fixing those and getting it back into the Kindle store. I’ll post when I know more details on that.

  • Dennis


    Now that Blackberry has the new large, touch-screen BB10 smartphone version out in most countries (in the U.S. it will be available in March) will you make it available and can the form factor be ported to the BB10?

    Also, will it be available for the Blackberry Playbook 7″ tablet?

  • Bobby

    Please excuse my ignorance, just got my first iPhone.

    I bought your ap for the phone. Does this give me anything for my iPad or iMac?

  • Bobby

    Thank you, but is that an additional purchase?

    • No, this is a “universal app”. You buy the app once and can install it on any device that is linked to the account. For example, as long as you use the same Apple ID to manage your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (most people do) you can have the same app on all of those devices.

  • Bobby

    Got it!
    Did not want to accidentally purchase another copy. It’s great, but $40 would have been a bit much.

    Thanks for help.

  • Scott H.


    Will there be a Blackberry 10 app in the near future?

    • Good day Scott,

      There certainly will be a BB10 version of the app in the very near future. We are currently in the process of finalizing the development and testing and the app will hopefully be ready very soon.

      Sorry that we cannot at this stage provide a concrete launch date but we are aiming to have it out within the next month.

      Regards, Development Team

  • Ken

    I just purchased the app for my iPod and I’m enjoying it immensely. My only frustration is the measurement units. Is there any way to change them to metric (ie, linear measurements in cm, body mass in grams)? If not, I would strongly recommend this as a revision in the next update as many of your clients reside in Canada.

    Thanks for your kind attention!


  • Lainie Epstein

    I had this great app on my Blackberry and changed to Android os. I found out that I could not transfer the app since it’s a different os. Seems like this should be seamless after paying $30.
    So I won’t be buying this all over again.
    Hope Mr Sibley is updating hard copy guides!

    • Hi Lainie, If we could offer a universal purchase that would work on any device you owned, we would. That is a limitation of the different companies involved. The best we can offer is one app that works on all Android products, one for all Apple products, etc. But when you switch platforms there is no way to transfer the app. I wish it were different, but this is the same with every app you buy.

  • Michelle

    Some time ago we purchased the Sibley’s app for a Blackberry 9800. The song volume was very low and the volume control buttons had no effect. We assumed the Blackberry Device was faulty. Subsequently we acquired a Blackberry 9810 and downloaded the Sibley’s app to that. Same situation – very low volume and the control has no effect. We have had others with more expertise than us take a look at it and their belief is that the app itself is the problem. I’ve heard your app on other devices and know that they can achieve significant volume. Can you please explain this apparent limitation we are experiencing with the Blackberry version? Thank you.

  • Niels Larsen

    Is there a way to add sound for species where it is not already included? For example, Red-whiskered Bulbul is tickable in Miami (according to some sources, the drawings are in the app but no sound, but sound is available in XenoCanto including a recording from the Kendall Dr area of Miami.


  • Doug Happ

    Is there a version of the field guide app that will work on the Microsoft Surface running Windows 8 RT?


  • Good Day Doug,

    We are in the process of finalizing the Win 8 version for tablets, Surface will be supported, this should be available in the next 6 weeks. We will post a launch date shortly.

    mydigitalearth Development Team

  • Chris

    I loved this app on my Iphone, recently upgraded to the new BlackBerry Z10 but this app isn’t available yet! I’m just curious if the app publisher is taking any steps to make it possible, at the least, make the android app available to side load on the BlackBerry.
    Any info would be much appreciated!

  • Keith

    Is there a version of the Sibleys app which will work on the KOBO VOX?

    Thank you!

  • Seb

    We need this app for bb10

  • Ann

    Hi! Any status on the Blackberry Z10 version? It’s the spring migration and I’m lost without it!!

    • Hi Ann, I just checked with the developers and they say the new version for Z10 will be submitted to the Blackberry store on Monday for testing and approval. I don’t know if that will take a few days or a few weeks, but it is imminent. Best, David

  • Ann

    Downloaded the new Blackberry Z10 version yesterday & already using it profusely. Better than the old version. I love it!! Just in time for spring migration on Lake Erie this weekend! THANKS a million!

  • Mike Michaels

    I see you are about ready to release to the Win 8 Surface. I have the Android version, but just got the new Surface Pro (not the RT). Will the new version support native Windows 8 on the Surface Pro? I really hope so as I’d be first in line to get a copy!

  • The Windows 8 version has been submitted to the App Store and is currently in the approval process. The App will run on a Surface Pro device running Windows 8.

    Regards Development Team

  • sjoerd van Berge Henegouwen

    Hi there, I tried to reinstall your app that I bought on my previous Android phone ono my new phone but unfortunately now it appears I need to pay the licence again. This cannot be correct I think. Would you be so kind as to offer me a solution? Thank you in advance, Sjoerd van Berge Henegouwen

    • Hi Sjoerd, If you are moving from Android to a new Android phone you should be able to reinstall the same app without purchasing a new license. If you have switched to a different phone platform (iOS, Blackberry, Windows, etc) I’m sorry to say that the Android license does not transfer and you will need to buy the app again. I’m forwarding your message to the developers so they can add any details. Best, David

  • Nancy-Elizabeth Nimmich

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S 3 and have the Sibley bird app installed. I have two questions. There are times when I can not get any sound on the bird songs/calls. Sometimes it happens right after I was able to get the sound. I wonder why this occurs and is there any suggestions on how to avoid this situation as I find it quite frustrating.
    Second question relates to getting comparisons of two birds on the same screen. Although the instructions on this website say it’s easy to do, there are no explicit directions on how to do it and so far I haven’t been able to figure out how to do that.

    • Good day Nancy-Elizabeth,

      We have not encountered the bird song bug you have described but will investigate immediately and release a fix as soon as possible.

      Regarding your second question – to initiate a comparison you should, from any of the bird listing screens, tap on the “eye” icon at the top right of the screen – the birds within the list will then present tick-boxes from which two can be ticked and thereafter presented in comparison. Please let us know if you are unable to locate the icon or it does not work as intended?

      Regards, Development Team

  • Jeff Greuel

    Hey there

    I`m hoping to run this on an iPod Touch with wi-fi. Does the app require connectivity to work or once downloaded and installed will it work when I’m hiking around?


  • Shawn

    Hi Folks,
    Apologies if this question has been addressed already – I have the Samsung Ativa (windows) cell phone. Is this wonderful app available for this system?

  • Hi Shawn,
    The Sibley app will run on your Samsung Ativa (windows) cell phone.
    Regards development team

  • Kenneth

    I currently have the lite version on my iPhone4 but I don’t have a lot fo memory. How much memory is required for the full version?

  • susan dalby

    i do appreciate your book(s) but have stuck to my old Kaufman since it fits in my pocket
    YAY – just put the app on my iPhone and love it – simpler, better, and smaller
    i have always wanted accessible calls – BNA is a bit cumbersome

    obviously you designed the software approach, since it’s just what a birder needs
    and it’s also very user friendly and intuitive
    don’t think i will use the size/color filters, but they should make birding much easier for novices

    look forward to coordinating with my macbook via the cloud
    what about putting the tree book on an app?

  • susan dalby

    forgot to add – very good to have it all on the iPhone – no wireless available in good birding spots
    and – would be nice if lists would rotate to landscape – hard to see the thumbnails and they are a great quick comparison tool

  • Ken Cross

    Have the digital earth team moved offline? I can’t find their website?!

  • Jen

    Apologies if this has been covered, but want to make sure. I just recently purchased the app for my Android, but am now changing to iPhone (both under ATT).

    Will I lose my Sibley?(wahh!)

    • Sorry, but I’m afraid none of your apps will transfer to the new platform. The operating systems on the phones are different, the app stores are not linked, and the companies behind them (Google and Apple) don’t offer any way to transfer a license from one to the other. I wish they would, but they have very little incentive to do that.

    • Erik

      Bump to this question! I’m in the same boat. I have an Android, was thinking about switching to iPhone, but really don’t want to have to re-buy the app. I get that Apple still wants to make money off it, but is there any way you can give some sort of coupon to those of us who already bought the app on a different platform?

  • brewster

    Must my Kindle be connected to the Internet? I’d like to take it into thew field and be able to play songs. Thanks.

  • Elaine C

    Up above, Nov 2012 – Feb 2013, you offered that: “The app has been developed and published by one company, but when the book is revised next year the company that publishes the printed book plans to take the lead in also publishing the app…” With something about, “…publish the revised app as a new product and end support for the old one.” And that you have, “argued for a way to protect existing customers…”
    AND most importantly, there should be “a way that will work to allow current users to get the new app.”

    By which you meant (you hoped) that current users would receive the new version without having to buy it again, right? Anything you can provide of an update on this issue? I really wish to purchase now, not wait til 2014, but…

    • I still can’t say for certain, as discussions are ongoing, but I’m optimistic that we can continue the existing app and update it, which will be a free update for current users.

  • I was wondering if it would be possible in a future release to allow users to add a custom location in the “My Location” selector. This would allow users to limit the lists in the program to show only the birds on a custom list. For example I currently live in Vancouver and do most of my birding west of the Coast Mountains but when I select BC as my location I get a bunch of species from both the Interior and from the Peace Region of British Columbia which is east of the Rocky Mountains. I’m sure I’m not the only user of your app who finds the state/province lists overly broad.


    • Hi Adam, Yes, this is a great suggestion and one that we have been discussing here for some years. There is no timeline for adding it to the app but it is in the works. Best, David

  • Dean Squires

    Will this app work with the Nokia windows 8 smart phone?

  • Kim

    The Audubon app has a sync capability to their online site. I love this as a back up and for ease of data entry at home when making a paper/pencil list in the field which I can again sync and updates on my phone. Is this something you could look into adding? I much prefer your app to theirs, but this added feature I find very useful as I have already lost my list once when my phone was damaged and having to re-enter all my data was, to say the least, time consuming. THanks!

  • Kevin tiessen

    Hi, I would like to know if this app, when downloaded, requires an Internet connection to fully operate, including all of the sounds? My wife has an I-phone 3GS without Internet, so the app would need to be totally self contained.

    Thanks in advance

  • Anahi Vargas

    Hi! I would like to buy the app, but I have a question Does it work in the Samsung tablet S2? I’m from a state of Mexico and get new tech stuff is so expensive :/
    I love the idea to get this ebook in my tablet! instead to carry my dear sibley guide to watching bird.

    greets and glad to know a little more about you Mr Sibley.

  • Josh Adams

    I noticed in the recent preview of the 2nd edition Sibley guide David mentioned that the “plan” is to have to have the 2nd edition app out at the same time as the paper edition. I know schedule issues are always in flux, especially three months out, but I’m curious if the plan is to offer the 2nd edition as an update to the current app, as an entirely new app, or some sort of hybrid (In app purchase upgrade or similar)? IE, should I hold off on buying the current app in preparation for the new version?

    Also, are all current platforms going to continue to be supported? I’m planning on buying for Windows Phone 8.

    Looking forward to the new version. Already have the hard copy pre-ordered.

    • Hi Josh, Yes, we are working on getting the app ready and hope to have it available in March when the new book is out. Discussions about pricing are ongoing, and all options are still under consideration.

  • Norm Murr

    My new KOBO Arc 7 has

    Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, Google Play Certified on it.

    Any problem with the app working on this device ?

    Thanks in advance.

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