Pizzey and Knight Birds of Australia Digital Edition - iOS app released

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dwatsonbb's picture
Pizzey and Knight Birds of Australia Digital Edition - iOS app released

Hi all, Pizzey and Knight have finally released their app for iPhone and iPad ($69.99). See the link below for information. You will have to visit the App Store, as the info page is the same one listed prior to it's release (you can ask to be notified when available),

Just wondering if any one decides to purchase, if they could give some feedback here, as I reckon I will buy, but can't do so right now (other priorities must come first).



Lachlan's picture


Can't see the advantage over a traditional field guide for an extra $35... 

Admittedly, it's lighter, but you don't need to recharge a book. 

But all the other functions seem more like gimmicks to me- most of them probably wouldn't be much use in the field or could be replaced by a bit of prior research online. 

Woko's picture

I find my Morcombe app handy in the field for checking bird unfamiliar calls, Lachlan. I don't know if the Pizzey & Knight app features bird calls.

dwatsonbb's picture

I also use Morcombe, and actually love it. I like the idea of creating my own lists, which so long as I have the phone or the pad, can't misplace.

Yes Woko, the app does have sound. The Pizzey and Knight seems to have more options, than Morcombe, not sure if the cost is justified. It also claims to have over 900 species, so presume it includes migratory species, as some paper guides say they have over 700.

I think the main advantages for me over the paper field guides, is that I take my iPhone almost everywhere I go, and my iPad is not far behind. I use iPad for navigation at work. Also with most apps, you get periodic free updates.

Certainly I like the feel of books better, but think these apps have a place in my tool box.

Should also point out, there is a PC version, and I believe the "Android" version has been out for a couple of weeks (got an email about the Android some time ago". These are the same price.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

---'s picture

How is P&K different from Morcombe? Apart from the price, of course.

Morcombe's app seems to have everything I need.

ihewman's picture

First of all, the illustrations will be much better than Morcombes'

A friend of mine shared an email from a fellow who got to trail this new app. Here's what he had to say (I hope you don't mind a bit of a read):

I've been lucky enough to be able to use the new Pizzey and Knight app for
a few  days before it is released on the App Store. It's expected to be
available at the end of this week. The app can be used on both iPad and
iPhone (I've been using the iPhone version) and an Android app is also
under development.

For most of this year I've been using the Michael Morecombe & David Stewart
eGuide to the Birds of Australia, and it has been helpful to have a field
guide in my pocket wherever I go, especially for call ID. The superb sound
recordings by Dave Stewart are what made this app unique, and an important
part of a serious birder's toolkit.

Until now.

The Pizzey and Knight Digital Edition takes birding apps to a new level.
This is a REAL app - it uses so much of the smartphone/tablet functionality
that a lot of what it does was really just a dream a couple of years ago:

* Bird lists based on location, using inbuilt GPS, or map search, or
location search
* A superb Key Guide for identifying species - also uses
habitat/size/shape/features, but it can limit a search using location
services (GPS), and colours for different parts of the bird
* Multiple personal lists, and the ability to consolidate any or all into a
master "life" list. These can be sorted and searched by trip, or to show
where a species has been recorded
* Birding Sites - showing 250 of the best hot spots in the country, with
key species, full species lists, and even 7-day weather forecasts!
* Option of tagging each record with GPS coordinates
* Option of tagging each record with date and time
* Side by side comparison of species (drawings, photos, maps, calls)

As well as all that, we still get the full P&K field guide, plus calls for
most species, and multiple photos of each species. There is a glossary,
detailed help section, Parts of a Bird, and the maps showing seasonal
distribution and status.

This is a superb guide. I love the way you can access the data in so many
different ways. Yes, some people prefer a more linear approach - scroll
through taxonomic order or look up an index. Well, that's how a book works.
It's ideal for some birders because it never runs out of batteries,  they
can write in it, drop it, and even sit on it. But it won't show them a list
of species recorded in any area they arrive at, or play a range of calls
for a species, or allow them to quickly build a trip list tagged with times
and GPS data.

The ease with which you can add species in real time is one of the great
features of this app. Once you have a species list for your location, a
single tap next to each species adds it to whatever list you've specified -
along with the parameters you've chosen.  It's not quite so easy for adding
historical data, though, if species are recorded over several different
locations each day.

One feature that's missing is the facility to search by initials or
4-letter code, as in BirdLog, easily the best birding app for fast search
and entry (BFCS finds Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike in BirdLog, but you'll need
to use CUCKOO or SHRIKE to narrow it down to less than a dozen species in
P&K  -of course, setting your location will return fewer results). This
really isn't such a disadvantage, especially when the P&K app can change
easily between IOC, C&B, Clements or Birdlife names.

You can see a detailed tour of the app on the Gibbon Multimedia website:


This gives a much better overview of what the app can do, and what you can
do with the app. And that's the whole point: the user isn't constrained to
view the field guide in one way, or in one order, but has at their
fingertips an extensive database, and several ways of finding information
in it. Different birders will use the app in different ways.

I haven't listened to a lot of the P&K calls (most recorded by Fred van
Gessel) but I do like the fact that each call shows where it was recorded,
the race or subspecies, male or female, and age where relevant - plus the
name of the sound recordist. Personally, I prefer the Dave Stewart
recordings, so I won't be deleting the Morcombe app. We're a bit spoiled to
have such a wealth of birdsong at our fingertips now!

At about $70, the P&K app is more than double the cost of Morcombe and
Stewart, but considering the feature set and incredible flexibility, it is
worth every cent. I'll be interested to look at it on an iPad mini - I
think that's the optimum size: large enough to examine photos and drawings
easily, but reasonably compact. But for me, it's so convenient to have this
amazing app on the phone in my pocket, wherever I go.

Russell Woodford

Birding-Aus Founder


Brandon (aka ihewman)

---'s picture

But is an extra 35$ ( Extra 70$ now that I already have Morcombe's app)  worth it for some birding hotspots and GPS tagging?

I don't see why it would cost double the price of the other app. Of course the developers put a lot of work into it, but so did Morcombe's developers.

dwatsonbb's picture

Thanks Brandon, that is the sort of feedback I am looking for. I certainly like the look of a lot of the features.

It is up to the individual to decide what suits them, and maybe the $70 is not worth it for me, the jury is still out.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Woko's picture

And with the Pizzey & Knight app having so many additional features it shouldn't be long before Morcombe has an update to compete with it. E.g., having pictures of eggs & nests to aid with identification would be helfpul.

Ain't technology a grand merry-go-round?

dwatsonbb's picture

Just an update, got an email today this app is now only $39.99, until June 30. Did not buy before but will now. Follow the link if your interested. you can take the tour in your preferred OS, android, iPhone/iPad or windows.

I still use the Micheal Morcome app ($29.99) but if you don't have it, I reckon this is worth the extra $10


Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Bob's picture

I just bought the Windoze version of this recently and I'm very pleased with it so far. I haven't looked at it in great detail yet. I bought it as a replacement for my old Readers Digest Book of Australian Birds which I had since about 1970. I got it for $10. It fell to bits when I moved recently.

cheers Bob....Hastings VIC

Woko's picture

So weak was the binding on the Reader's Digest Book of Australian Birds that any sort of movement would see it fall apart. Ms Woko had Reader's Digest replace her disintegrated copy. That said, there is some valuable information in it.

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