Ornidroid is a free and open source application for bird watchers. It has a database of around 450 European common species
Download: Android (operating system version and size change depending the device)
Language: English (database available in multiple languages)
Runs offline: partially
Last update: Android 01/02/2016 (version varies according to the device)
Website of the developer: Ornidroid
Ornidroid is a Creative Commons application that lets the identification of birds in field through their photographs and audio files of the calls. Although the interface is in English, its database currently is translated into 29 languages (top right menu – Preferences – Languages of the search engine).
The main options are the following:
- “Search by name”, option that allows you the search by common or scientific name in the language or languages previously selected. Once located the species, it accesses to the corresponding data sheet. The system will detect if the information has been downloaded previously and it will request permission to download data only from that species or of all birds included in the tool (you have to download the information tab by tab). Each data sheet includes, in addition to photographs, audio files with common bird songs, a form of basic data (family, order, distribution, etc.) that has access to external sources of information (Xeno Canto, Wikipedia or Oiseaux) and the translation of the common name of the bird to the rest of the languages considered in the app.
- “Multi criteria search”, where you can do a search based on several variables (category, country, habitat, size, feather colour, beak colour, feet colour, beak type or remarkable signs).
- “Help”, section from which you can contact with the technical team and consult the user’s guide.
- “Preferences”, option to select the language of the database, the ability to receive automatic updates of the information or the folder where you want to install the application and additional information.
- “About”, where the credits from different sources used are included.
Images: Screenshots 08/08/2016. © Ornidroid
For people who like the identification of birds in field, mobile applications have become useful tools that allow them to enjoy this activity without having to carry paper manuals or books. One of its main advantages is the possibility of listening in situ the bird songs, making possible the recognition of the most elusive species. However, their use can also lead to problems. In some natural areas, it has been found that the playback of these audio files freely confuses some birds, and can make them more vulnerable to predators, so you should take precautions to ensure that these applications do not alter the course of ecosystems.
Focusing the analysis on the app, it is worth mentioning that it fulfills its mission perfectly, providing the basics that all ornithologist needs, that is, search by name or variable, images and audio files. However, images sometimes are limited to a single photograph and some audio files are not of high quality, so it would be desirable to continue incorporating more images and new audios. It highlights the effort made by the volunteers to translate the databases, which enables a wider use of the application, although the references of Wikipedia are incorporated only in English (from the own page on Wikipedia, you can access to the article translated into other languages).