The New Raptor ID App

by Bryce W. Robinson


The newly released Raptor ID app, a collaborative production from Hawkwatch International and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is, plainly put, unprecedented. Author’s Jerry Liguori and Brian Sullivan have accomplished something incredible.

The app is a first of its kind for raptor identification, but perhaps more impressive is the informative video of each North American raptor species that is included with each account. Jerry Liguori’s voice over for each video is instructive and informative. How priceless to have the nation’s leading raptor ID expert in your pocket to talk you through an ID.

Of course, the app is full of species account information and many excellent photographs detailing each species in all plumages. Captions supplement photos and describe important identification features. The “similar species” tab details confusing similarities, making observers aware of problematic or potential pitfalls and providing simple descriptions for avoiding identification mistakes.

The app strays from the classic american field guide, because it lacks annotated identification pointers to bird imagery (see The Sibley Guide to Birds, The National Geographic’s Birds of North America, or the guide that started it all the Peterson Field Guide to Birds, to name a few). Some will undoubtedly voice their complaints about this feature, but as many involved in raptor ID know and understand, the most important aspect of learning to identify raptors is understanding how to look at birds rather than memorizing single identification features. This app provides identification information in such a way, fully fitting the Liguori style guidebooks that have advanced raptor ID in North America much further than before.

Other features include vocalizations, range maps, and information for contacting Jerry and Brian with raptor ID questions. Truly, this app is an essential addition to the raptor ID enthusiasts toolkit. At $9.99, it is a bargain and should be purchased by all interested in raptor ID, and truly bird ID alike.


I’m honored to have contributed a small handful of images to this excellent app. I’m truly appreciative of that opportunity. Above are photos of mine featured in the app, including the species header for Gray Hawk.

You can find the app online on the App Store or Google Play for Android. Purchase the app, support two excellent non-profit organizations, Hawkwatch International and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and reap the rewards.