| Roberts Bird Guide 2 | By Guy Gibbon | Gibbon Multimedia | Southern Africa Birding CC | 2020 |
| App Store | IOS 1.6 GB | Requires iOS 10.0 or later | Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch | £30.99p |
| Google Play | 9.9M | Requires Android 4.1 & up | £24.49p |
A new bird App for Southern Africa
The Publisher’s View:
The Roberts Bird Guide 2 app for android devices is now available on the Play Store and for IOS devices on the AppStore. It’s a new app based on the new publication “Roberts Bird Guide (second edition)” with new illustrations, new distribution maps and new text. The book took six years and the new app another 2.5 years to complete. The app includes all the new content from the book and significant programming updates as well. So, it’s not a simple update but a new publication.
The app can be used as a FIELD GUIDE like the book, or as a BIRD GUIDE with bird list and bird pages.
NEW FEATURES include full landscape and split screen support for iPad; zooming of Field Guide pages for iPhone and iPad; auto-backup of bird lists to iCloud and auto-sync of bird lists between personal iOS devices; a dual-language bird list that can load any two of English, Afrikaans, Dutch, French, German, Portuguese and Scientific names; improved navigation and linking from Field Guide pages to Bird Guide list; distribution map display in both Field Guide and Bird List; current or map GPS location for bird sightings; reporting of personal lists to My List after list creation; Compare Birds function added to Identification shortlist.
The Technical Stuff:
- all the new bird species and names
- 265 new field-guide pages
- 977 individual bird pages
- new field guide text from the Roberts Bird Guide (second edition)
- over 3060 new illustrations
- new colour-coded distribution maps with seasonal status bar
- over 5870 photos including 500 nest and 700 egg photos
- over 920 bird sounds.
Two additional Field Guide pages illustrate a further 20 potential vagrants, of which four have recently been recorded, while a further two vagrants have been added to the bird list and bird pages.
Wow… this is an astonishing work as it really does take the book and turn it into an accessible, user friendly app.
The illustrations are my least favourite feature… which is not to say they are not accurate or terrific for identifying birds in the field. Some are good crisp pictures, but others have a slightly ‘muddy’ look to them. This is a reflection, I assume, of the soft plumage nature of birds and is no doubt more ‘real’ that way. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer the clarity of painted and drawn illustrations that enable the very best ID features to stand out. I looked at a lot of species I am familiar with, and I cannot fault the pictures, they are just not my preferred style.
There my (albeit very slight) criticism ends, as this is incredible comprehensive giving great depth in terms of descriptions, songs with the text available in the paper guide.
I particularly like the fact that you can use the ‘field-guide’ or just access the birds themselves. It doesn’t end there… using the field-guide gives you the family grouped together and with either method you can select comparison with similar species, play the song, look at distribution et al.
If you allow the app to know your location you can see the best places to bird and what’s on offer… or use that whole section at your leisure to explore the hot spots for the southern part of the continent. I took a look at some of the spots I’ve birded so can attest to their fulsome coverage.
Moreover, you can create your own lists by adding a tick when you access the appropriate species.
This app really does have it all. At around £30 it has to be the perfect gift for any southern African birder or anyone hoping to bird there. It gets my highest, fatbirder, five star accolade!