iBird Photo Sleuth

iBird Photo Sleuth

By Mitch Waite Group

  • Category: Reference
  • Release Date: 2018-05-11
  • Current Version: 1.2
  • Adult Rating: 4+
  • File Size: 780.09 MB
  • Developer: Mitch Waite Group
  • Compatibility: Requires iOS 11.0 or later.
Score: 5
From 39 Ratings


This new update to iBird Photo Sleuth now includes access to our ornithology experts who will help identify your bird if you want more help. The “Help Me Identify a Bird” forum has been around for 10 years and has over 100,000 members. Every now and then an app breaks out from the pack with features that are simply astonishing. iBird Photo Sleuth fits that mold; use its machine learning "brain" to identify a photograph of any bird of North America, regardless of the photo’s quality. Photo Sleuth uses Apple’s new CoreML machine learning system to figure out the species in even the most distorted, fuzzy and poor contrast photograph. The Photo Sleuth app has been “trained” by over 2 million photos of bird species to ID birds with uncanny accuracy. You can use iBird Photo Sleuth in the field -- no internet connection is required, because its CoreML database is contained in the app. Take a photo with your camera or select it from the built-in iPhone Photos gallery (Dropbox, Google Photos and OneDrive coming). Don’t worry if the bird is a tiny blob in the frame; Photo Sleuth is smart enough to find the features that distinguish it from all other 900+ bird species of North America. After you submit your photo to the Sleuth, it will give you a list of its top 3 guesses as thumbnail sized images. Each will display a “Confidence” value between 0% and 100%. When the Sleuth is really sure of its analysis, it will produce a high value; when unsure it will display a low value. If the app thinks that you have submitted a photo of something other than a bird, it will display “Not a Bird.” Of course, some people’s faces look like birds, so it may still suggest a bird species. For example, my selfie came up with “Not a Bird” for the #1 spot and the Barn Owl for #2. To help confirm the 3 guesses made by Photo Sleuth, you can tap on any of the thumbnail images to open more species details, including an enlarged illustration, text that explains important field marks and a range map that shows the migration coverage of the bird. The range map includes a range and habitat paragraph that helps confirm that the species is indeed located in your GPS area. A future update will add our “Birds Around Me” technology to further narrow the choices that Photo Sleuth guesses. On this same screen you may open a rich content species account in our iBird app (should you have it on your phone) to review much more information, including playing the bird’s songs and calls, seeing similar birds, behavior details and much more. Sharing of your results can be done two ways: you can share your photo and the Photo Sleuth guesses with your friends via Apple Messages, Email, Facebook, Twitter and all other functions such as printing, which appear on the standard Apple activity menu. There is also a button for optionally sharing your photo and the results of the Photo Sleuth guess with Mitch Waite Group, so that we can improve our neural network. Both correct and incorrect guesses help us improve the performance of the artificial intelligence. Or course, we only use the photograph for training, and the copyright remains with you. If you would like more information about using iBird Photo Sleuth please visit: http://ibird.com/sleuth/sleuth.html Be sure and check out our new bundle The Delighted Birder; which includes this app plus iBird Pro and iBird Hawaii-Palau.



  • Great sleuth

    By CFBSr
    Misses a few but well worth using!
  • Very Useful

    By Obie-Juan
    I have only had it a few days but find it very useful. It has accurately identified all but one instance. I like the fact that it states the probability of its identification. I would rate it higher if there was a MAC version so I wouldn’t have to download my pictures to my phone.
  • Impressive

    By tagging along
    Recently returned from East TX where my spouse focused on birding and I tried to become a better bird photographer. I have over 200 pix that others say are pretty darn good, but do I recall the birds’ name? Along comes this app and it identifies every bird from its photo including a yellow-crowned night heron you can barely see through a thicket and a common pauraque that to me is almost impossible to see through branches and twigs on the ground. For this specific task of identification through existing photos I hope a future version will make returning to the respective album less cumbersome. The App Store is riddled with app reviews describing a complete lack of customer service. Not so with Mitch Waite. I found this group to be responsive and generous in their willingness to help. Once again, those involved in birding prove themselves to be helpful and honest.
  • This is what’s been missing all along!

    By Pigface, the one & only
    Yes, this is what’s been missing all along! How many times have I seen a new bird and then fumbled through the identification portion in iBird, only to be frustrated by not being able to identify the bird? I’m sure this has happened to everyone. Now don’t get me wrong, iBird Pro is an excellent app. But, iBird Sleuth is an amazing addition to this program. As soon as I installed it, I tried out. Unbelievable! Good call, guys.
  • Exceptional app

    By Justburn0000
    I’m an amateur birder with an apple orchard and a 400mm lens, so I had a large library of bird pictures, about 90% of which I could identify. I had a tough time telling the difference between an Eastern Phoebe and an Eastern Wood Peewee. Fortunately, this app ID’d both correctly with 99% confidence. Female Summer Tanagers, hatchling American Robins, Eastern Bluebirds in full molt - all were correctly identified by this app in mere seconds!
  • Simply Amazing

    By Ned Kuehn
    Brilliant app. I do a lot of field bird photography and occasionally get stumped while editing and labeling the photos in Lightroom (especially hummingbirds, fall shorebirds and warblers, young gulls). Even though I have been a life-long avid bird watcher, we cannot be 100% all the time. For the ones stumping me, I take a photo within the app off of my 4K monitor. I have not tried it out yet on fledglings. So far has been flawless in identification.
  • Very impressed

    By chrisnmt
    I teach in the field of nature connection and I have been waiting for a while to see any usable application of a neural network for nature field guide purposes. I am very impressed with the abilities of this app so far and am very much looking forward to all of the future improvements in this area, bringing together technology and nature connection! Thank you guys for spearheading this in a good way!!!
  • Impressed!

    By Osalan1
    I am a bit hard to convince that these kind of apps actually work well. How can a phone help me identify a bird that I can’t identify myself using a high quality bird book? After providing a poorly taken photo of a bird I have been attempting to identify in a different phase of plumage, this app answered the question precisely. Impressed!
  • I’m impressed

    By MitchT#1
    I went to IBird Sleuth during our trip to Alaska for help with some poor pictures of birds I wanted to identify. I was impressed with how well it worked identifying birds. I recommend this product.
  • Loving this new app!

    By KDB32018
    I had just got back from spring birdwatching and discovered this app. It ID’d many of the birds I saw and couldn’t identify. It was so much fun sorting through my pictures with this app to assist me. I love it and highly recommend it. Definitely worth the money to get the help. Can’t wait to try it out on fall birds. Thanks.