top of page

The Merlin App by The Cornell Lab : Free Bird App Review Part 2

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

The aim of this series of reviews is to provide an overview of the free applications available to birders. There are a number of excellent paid for applications available which we have run a podcast series on previously (, however we believe that some birders may not have the resources to access these apps. The review process will be conducted as objectively as possible as there is clearly a great divide between paid for and free applications in this genre. The rating system will only be judged on criteria consistent across all apps namely search functionality, text, photographs and ease of use. Additional points will be added to the total score for extras such as location settings, calls, offline access, distribution maps and listing settings. This is the second blog in this review series.

As I am an Android user the applications reviewed will be found on Android and hopefully IOS too.

The Merlin application has been published by ‘The Cornell Lab’ which is short for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology which is a member supported unit of the Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA. This unit studies birds and wildlife in general.

Description of the app found on the Google Play Store: “What's that bird? Answer 5 questions or upload a photo and Merlin Bird ID will help you solve the mystery.

Merlin is more than just a field assistant to help you identify birds, Merlin is a customizable field guide for birds around the world. Get identification help and discover what birds to look for near you with Merlin Bird ID.

First, Merlin asks you a few simple questions. Then, almost like magic, Merlin reveals a list of birds that best match your description. Pick your bird, then delve into more photos, sounds, and ID tips about your bird! Merlin is fun and easy to use—whether you’re curious about a bird you’ve seen once or you’re hoping to identify every bird that comes to your feeder. The answers are waiting for you with this free field guide app from the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

If you have a photo of a bird, Merlin can help. Take a photo, choose from your camera roll, or snap a photo of the viewfinder on your camera, and Merlin's powerful AI will suggest an identification almost instantly.”

The language of the app only appears to be available in a very wide variety of languages from English to Spanish, Mandarin etc.

Android and iOs – this app can be found on both platforms as per the below links.

Has adverts: No