Song Sleuth: Auto Bird Song ID App Reviews

0 add

Well thought out and a great learning tool

There are not many birds around at the moment but I am using the app to brush up on my bird song skills for spring.


Sitting on my back porch in Georgia and the app has identified Bluejays, common grackle, an osprey and our pesky squirrels!

I want this to work. :(

No matter how clear the recording is, the app consistently misses the ID. I have played songs from a reputable birding app on my ipad, with my iphone recording the sound (inside my home with no one around, no tv on, etc.)- and it still doesn’t come up with the correct bird as an option. I have not had a single ID be helpful. I recorded a red-wing blackbird - They’re so distinctive and loud - but it doesn’t select that as an option. It often comes up with birds that I have never seen or heard in my backyard. I did Carolina Wren, another loud, pure, clear song - not an option when it evaluated the recording. It’s currently not only useless in this format, it’s beyond frustrating to use. Now with the update - it won’t move on to ID at all. When I stop the recording, the app freezes. Another thing I notice is that it lists birds as uncommon at times when they are, in fact, quite common. That part baffles me. This could be SO useful. But for the cost it is heartbreaking. I hope they use my money to truly make it work.

Needs work

Found it very inaccurate in identifying songs. Took five tries recording a Song Sparrow that I could see before it came up as a potential choice. On the upside it is easy to use, just not accurate. Hopefully newer versions will improve performance.

No it's not a frog

I used this app and it never even close to identifying the bird song. As a matter of fact three different times it's first choice for the bird was a Spring Peeper, which is a frog. They should not be selling this app until they get it fixed.


It thinks Zebra when pony is the answer. Is that needs work. I was looking at a extremely noisy cardinal. The app suggested chickadee.

Has potential but not worth the price.

First off, if this was a prototype app I'd say it had real promise. As it is now it feels unfinished, inaccurate, and not worth ten bucks. Why do I say that? I purchased this ap for my iPad Air yesterday and took it in the field twice. First off it has trouble IDing bird calls. In general if the bird is not within ten feet or less of your location the app cannot detect it. Then it's identification ability depends on the species. Also the bird must do its full song to be identified. Chirps and partial songs do not work. What species does it id well? Robins and Prairie Warblers. What species does it often have trouble IDing? Eastern Towhee, Common Yellowthroat. What species can't it ID at all? Chipping Sparrow, Catbird, Chestnut Sided Warbler. What species can it not hear at all? Eastern Bluebird. The ap is also bad at filtering out background noise and distinguishing calls when two or more birds call at once. Footsteps, crickets, traffic, strong wind, and barking dogs can all ruin its ability to identify. Also if you are trying to ID one bird singing and another starts singing mid song it cannot ID it. Such as when a Phoebe starts calling while a Robin sings. The ap has an odd habit of suggesting vireos for Warblers. If it cannot hear anything it either tells you that or suggests three of the following: human, a corvid, an owl, or a dove or pigeon. Also, if you have a cover on your tablet it cannot hear sounds correctly. This ap does have potential if it gets a lot of work, but at the moment it is a waste of money.

App is good at recording bird songs

I am primarily interested in the app for recording bird songs, uploading the recordings to iCloud, and including recordings with my eBird observations. The app does a great job at that using an iPhone SE. I like how the app allows for "prerecording" by continuous monitoring. I like the ability of the app to clip portions of a recording. I also like that it allows me to identify the bird in the recording and store the recordings with proper identification. The ability of the app to id birds works marginally well.

Horribly inaccurate

What the heck? Couldn't be less inaccurate than sticking a bookmark in a random location in a bird guide. Comes up with human , squirrel and some bird not even close to my sample again and again.

Horribly inaccurate on identification

I've taken the Cornell Ornithology Lab Bird Song Identification class and plus, I have EYES. When I'm looking directly at a Cardinal and the app tells me the song is a Vireo, it's a bad app. Might be a decent resource for listening to pre-recorded bird song matched visually to the bird before being listed, but as more files erroneously link to wrong bird, the app will fail.

Needs work, but encouraging

I realize creating an app like this must be challenging and thanks to the developer for taking it on. I have used the app quite a bit this spring 2017. As others state, it does mis-ID birds even based on reasonably good recordings. You would think, given the distinctive spectrograms of species, it could be more accurate. Also, good birders will frequently positively ID birds the app describes as rare, or not listed in the region species list, possibly contributing to app inaccuracy. On some occasions it has been accurate in helping me ID a bird, and that was rewarding and a good learning experience. I didnt expect perfection from this cutting edge technology. Keep working on it and improving it, developer!

Worthless - laughing on the way to bank

I can record the same song, standing in the same place, immediately and get a completely different result. The only thing I can do is to record and hopefully ID later listening to it. Really bad app for beginners and, I suppose, anyone else hoping for an ID.

Disappointed too expensive for what you get

This app needs some work. I've read about how to crop and how to filter etc. for better accuracy. I'm just not having much success. I'm a birder and unless I see and identify the bird by sight I do not trust what this app says and the whole purpose is to help with the ones I may not know or may not see. It comes up with crazy off the wall selections for the most common of birds. I will keep hoping for updates that make this this work.

Song Sleuth

Superb app. All the bases covered and a breeze to use.

Needs A LOT of work

The idea of this app is great, but it is totally inaccurate and completely useless in the field.

Unfortunately a Huge Fail

I don't want to write a poor review but unfortunately this app is a real failure. I'm an advanced birder but still need help with spring migrants, thought this app would help but first tried it on easy birds. I sat right under a tufted titmouse and it gave 3 wrong birds that weren't even in the area, tried again with a pine warbler and then a fish crow- all solidly recorded with no other noises and the app came up with poor choices each time. I know a lot of hard work went into this app so I'm hoping they can address the issues since I can't get a refund, until then, save your money.

Useless for advanced birders

I know a lot of common bird songs. When I don't know a vocalization I make a recording. I tried song sleuth with 40 bird recordings for which I wasn't familiar. I know the exact location and date and know what is isn't. Song sleuth got 39 of the 40 laughably wrong. None of the three choices were even possible. Red-eyed vireo it got right once. Completely Avoid this app to try to identify any slightly unusual birdsong. I put in the region and sliced the country recording to ensure only one bird was being shared with song sleuth to no avail. Wait for something better.

Good effort- needs work

I truly hope this application improves. It's a great idea. But right now it's not very accurate. I do like the interface I think it's well-designed. But when I use it with birds but I already know the identity of it does not deliver. But keep at it. A great idea.

Please fix volume

It was very hard to hear the intro audio tutorial , and it is hard to hear the audio recordings made with the app. The list of birds in your region is a great feature. It allows you to hear birds quickly and identify them to compare to real time bird sounds. I think the rest of the app could be nice, but I can't find a way to up the volume for this app. (With phone volume all the way up and phone audio as well.)

Awesome App

This is a serious but fun new way to study and ID birds. It has many well thought out capabilities that require some study, thought and experience to use effectively. But that's part of the fun! I recommend this app without reservation.

It simply works.

It's with the Jackson

Not ready...

I had great hopes for this app, but it can't identify any songs yet. I'll record a bird in front of me, and it tells me the song is a squirrel or an osprey. Not even close. Wish I hadn't wasted $9.99


I can't believe how well this works. Also an amazing library of sounds and illustrations. I can't recommend it highly enough!


Sorry to say this but not impressed. Standing next to birds I know to practice and they are always wrong. Wish I hadn't spent the 10.00 till I could have tried it. Just takes up space on my i-pad.

Not ready for prime time yet

2 problems: 1) missing lots of birds in our region (Pacific Northwest), and 2) haven't found a bird yet that it could i.d. correctly. American crow (come on, how hard can that be?) - nope. Great idea for an app, and lots of amusing misidentifications, but save your 10 bucks. There are cheaper ways to get a chuckle.

Beautiful But Terrible

A great idea with a pretty user interface, but with confusing settings and absolutely no functionality. Even with great recordings, the app does not work for the most common of birds in my area. It is useless, and I want my money back...

Excellent if you understand limitations

It's an awesome app if you're a beginning birder or have never done much birding by ear. One of the limitations is that it only has ~200 species, but when encompassing the entire US, it's a pretty small pool. That said this is version one, so I expect more species will be added in time. One also needs to understand that you can't have a big long recording and expect the app to pick out the bird amongst background noise. Trimming the audio is essential. Lastly, an iPhone microphone is far from spectacular in terms of attaining quality audio. That it could correctly pick out a Cardinal 50 yards away with wind and cars is very impressive given the hardware. That said I don't expect it to be 100% every time and others shouldn't either

Don't bother...

What a wasted opportunity-hope it gets better over time. Species list doesn't include many common birds in my area, and no way to add them in to compensate. 1 star is too high, but can't give 0 stars?

Active birder

Got this app 2 days ago and had the opportunity to test early this morning on a snow covered gravel road in southwestern Maine woods. Quiet and cold but active birgsong. Although there were many short sounds recorded with hilarious. mammal selections, I got the hang of it and accuracy improved immensely. Was spot on with selection dozens of times. Often picked up a correct bird that I had not initially heard. At one single recording, it correctly selected five birds that all were heard simultaneously ! Pileated woodpecker, golden-crowned kinglet, red bellied woodpecker, raven, and white-breasted nuthatch. ( PIWO, GCKI, RBWP, CORA,WBNU ) Kudos to all. What a great way to learn the sounds, augment your hearing skills, and research all the other data provided by Sibley. I sure version 1.0.1 will be updated many times but out of the box, I loved it

Operating System issue

When I first got this app I had a pending iOS update for my phone and when I initially tried to use the app it would crash. I updated the iOS and it is now working fine. I haven't had a chance to field test the app very much since it is February but so far so good.

Complete Garbage

Great idea, but doesn't work at all. I tested it by recording a very clear calling Morning Dove, and it came back with Red-winged Blackbird, Hermit Thrush and Osprey as top hits. Yellow-rumped Warbler chips came back as Mockingbird and Lazuli Bunting. House Sparrow came back as Mockingbird. I want my $10 back.

  • send link to app