09 Feb 2015
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Android App Review: Birds of New Zealand

By Eddie Monotone

Living in New Zealand we’re blessed with many things. Not our internet speed or standard of reality television, but birds? We’ve done pretty well with birds.

The Birds of New Zealand app showcases 35 natives with a selection of photographs, information and recordings. The app is obviously a helpful resource for a bird enthusiast that is new to the country, but even for locals there’s enough here to be of interest. 

The information is surprisingly in-depth for a free/cheap app, with sections for each bird on their appearance, habitat, behaviour, diet, endangered status, birdsong and more. The app lets you listen to recordings of the birds’ calls, and for some even gives you multiple versions so you can learn not only their song but also their alarm call. A useful feature is that the app gives you both English and Maori names for the birds, and can play you a recording of them being said so you can learn the pronunciation.

Birds of New Zealand isn’t an overly flashy app, but its layout and design are easy to navigate and pleasing on the eye.  The content is very much the focus, with clearly arranged text and crisp images. A small complaint I would make is that there doesn’t seem to be a way of enlarging or zooming in on the photographs. While this isn’t a problem as such, it seems like a missed opportunity to let people using the app on smaller screens enjoy the pretty pictures to their full extent.

If you’re already a New Zealand bird expert, this app probably doesn’t have too much to offer you. But for the rest of us who think wildlife is neat and would like to know more, or who just casually wonder what that squarking from the back garden could mean, Birds of New Zealand is a quick and handy reference. The app is free with ads, or ad-free for $1.50. The menu also includes a link to donate to Forest & Bird, which I thought was a nice touch.

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