Announcing Explore Species

By Team eBird October 24, 2018
White-capped Albatross Thalassarche cauta

For the past 16 years, eBird has built cutting-edge birding tools. From life lists to sightings maps, and hotspot exploration to millions of photos and audio recordings, we’ve worked to provide the key elements that any birder needs. This month, we’ve added a fantastic new piece to the puzzle: Explore Species.

Explore Species unites the strengths of eBird, the Macaulay Library, and Merlin all in one place. It’s everything we have to offer, for every species in the world—from Merlin’s ID tips to Macaulay’s media treasure trove and the core backbone of your eBird sightings. Check out Explore Species at, and read on for examples to help you get started.


Quick identification tips

Each species page gives you quick access to image and audio galleries from the Macaulay Library, hand-picked to illustrate the characteristic features. If the species is one of the 3,000+ currently covered by Merlin, you can explore Merlin’s ID tips right where you need them.

Dashboard for your stats and contributions

We’ve pulled in stats from across eBird that show your experience with every species, including whether you’ve seen, photographed, and/or recorded that species, whether you’ve seen it this year, and the total times you’ve ever seen, photographed and reported that species in that region.

eBird has over 3 million observations of Barn Swallow: how many of those Barn Swallow sightings are yours? Click on any of the blue highlighted stats to see associated media and a list showing you exactly how many times and where you’ve seen that bird.

Regional bird guide

If you’ve selected a region in Explore Species (in the top left), a range map, a weekly bar chart, and top media feed reflect only the region you picked. Quickly see stats for a county, explore regional variation of a bird by changing the region, browse images (what do Franklin’s Gulls look like in Chile?), and reference the weekly bar chart to figure out the best time to find that bird (May is best to see a Baltimore Oriole in Baltimore, Maryland, while January through March is your best shot at Amur Falcon in South Africa).

Helpful reference and study guide from any eBird page

Whether you are checking out the list of species at a hotspot, looking up your Target Species for a future trip, or reading through a friend’s recent checklist, sometimes you want to learn more about a certain bird, or have a question about seasonal records. Was that October report of a Harris’s Sparrow in Oklahoma a few weeks earlier than expected? A quick look at the Harris’s Sparrow page shows that this is right on time.

When you click a species link from an eBird page, eBird remembers where you came from and makes it easy to keep exploring the same list of birds. The previous and next buttons at the top of the screen allow you to flip through the birds on the bird list you came from.

Imagine you are taking a trip to Belize in November, and are curious about what you may see. You pull up your Target Birds for Belize and now you can click on the top bird and flip through each target, one by one, as you study each bird.

Need a refresher on the birds you saw on a recent outing or an outing last year? Explore Species can help: just click on a species name in your checklist and you can view each and every species on your list with Explore Species. Simply click the arrows on the top to move from one species to the next in your checklist.

The development of Explore Species was a huge undertaking here at eBird and Macaulay Library, and we could not have done it without our beta testers who provided valuable feedback over the past months. Learn more about joining the beta team by becoming an eBird Supporter and get a chance to test out future tools before they are released.