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Are you planning a trip to Mexico (or are already there)? Do you want to identify birds you see? If you have a smartphone, I can suggest four birding apps to help ID Birds in Mexico. One you need to purchase, another is a low cost monthly subscription and two are free.
We visited Mexico twice recently. They were family focused trips but we saw some cool birds in the Yucatan. A few were birds I’ve seen here in the States but most were new to me. To figure out what they were, I used four birding apps on my iPhone to ID them. (There are Android versions too.)
iBird /North America App
This is my favorite go-to birding app here in the United States and it includes many, but not all, of the common birds I saw in Mexico. So I was able to use it to help me ID birds I saw in the Yucatan.
This app typically offers a wealth of information on most of the birds it covers including photos, id tips, range maps, sounds, behavioral information and much more.
To narrow the possibilities, you can set the app to filter birds in various ways. I often filter by “Birds Around Me” but you can also filter by time of day, location, physical appearance details, song, flight and more.
At the time we visited Mexico, I was using iBird Ultimate. Due to changes Apple made to the app store, iBird Pro is the current equivalent version. You do need to pay for this app (currently $14.99) but if you are a birder, it is well worth it. It’s a birding field guide in your smartphone.
Look for iBird in your smartphone’s app store or see iBird’s website.
BirdsEye Mexico App
BirdsEye is a monthly subscription-based app here in the U.S. that uses eBird data to help you find birds. I use it on every birding trip and added Mexico as another monthly addition to the app. (It also includes Central America and the Caribbean now.)
BirdsEye itself is currently $2.99 a month and Mexico adds another $1.99 a month. You can discontinue the subscription when you return home if you like. At the time I am writing this, they are having a sale, so the cost is even a little lower. They also offer a World Membership option which I haven’t tried.
I found this app to be really helpful in an area like this where so many birds are unfamiliar. Point it to “Nearby Species” to get an idea of what birds other people have reported seeing in the area. When you see a new-to-you bird, especially if it is common in the area, as most of the birds we saw were, it helps you narrow in on possibilities.
If you want to search out birds, you can see a map of where particular species of birds have recently been seen and get directions to that birding hotspot (using your phone’s map app.)
It also includes a brief write-up about the bird and photos. One section of the app focuses on recently seen rare and notable birds, handy if you want to expand your life list.
Look for BirdsEye in your smartphone’s app store or see the BirdEye website.
Merlin Bird ID App
This is a free app from the folks at Cornell Lab of Ornithology. While I typically like the more expansive iBird app better, this one offers extra (also free) bird packs including one for “Mexico: All” and one for “Mexico: Yucatan Peninsula“. (I got both.) Merlin and it’s packs cover common species in many parts of the world including the continental US, Canada, Mexico, Central American and Europe. I also see packs for common birds in India and Israel.
This app can be set for “Likely Birds” in the location you select. It separates them by type of bird and then ranks them by how likely or how unlikely it might be to see them today. Each time I visited a new area, I set the location and looked for likely birds. Because of the kinds of places we visited, the birds we saw tended to be common. So I found this ranked listing very helpful in narrowing down possibilities to ID birds I was seeing in front of me.
The app offers another way to find a bird ID by quizzing you about the bird’s location, size, color and behavior. Then it feeds you possibilities that fit.
This app is fairly light. It provides some photos, brief id information, sounds and range maps but not a lot of deep detail. I use it in combination with iBird to learn more.
Look for Merlin Bird ID on your smartphone’s app store or see the Merlin website page.
eBird Mobile App
eBird is another free app from Cornell Lab. This one lets you keep track of the birds you see and upload them to the lab as part of a citizen science effort. eBird not only keeps track of your own birding lists, but also feeds birding information into the previous three apps so it is well worth participating.
It works in Mexico too. While it is mostly a listing app, eBird can also be helpful with ids as well because if you try to list a bird that is uncommon and unlikely in that area (or at that time of year) it will alert you to make sure that you are sure about the id. I’ve had this feature keep me from embarrassing errors more than once!
Look for eBird on your smartphone’s app store or see the eBird Mobile App website page.
Have you done any birding in Mexico? What strategies did you use to find birds and identify them?
Note: Much of this info was originally included in my Birds Seen in Mexico post. I split it out to streamline that post and to make this information easier to find. It has also been updated it with additional info.
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