Bïndo Birding: A Comprehensive App Review

Review of Bïndo Birding

Bïndo is a mobile application designed to bring a social perspective to birdwatching, particularly for enthusiasts in Southern Africa​​. Created by a diverse team of birders, data scientists, conservationists, artists, and gamers, the app aims to make birdwatching more enjoyable, engaging, and connected​. Bïndo allows users to record and share their bird sightings with a supportive community of fellow bird-lovers​​.

Why Bïndo?

Bïndo is a very late entrant to the birdwatching app market so they are entering what is now considered an extremely competitive space dominated by the likes of Birda, eBird, Birdlasser and Birdtrack.

Having a social aspect to it, Bïndo is different to many birding apps, however it trails years behind Birda who, having first launched all the way back in 2018 are the pioneers of community based birdwatching apps. Birda have an fast growing global community and have recently been featured as ‘App of the Day’ by Apple in 148 countries around the world. Bïndo on the other hand is currently limited to birders in South Africa and only has a small active userbase.

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Log and share sightings on Bïndo

One of the primary features of Bïndo is the ability to log and share sightings. Users can log their latest sightings, add photos and share them with the community. Additional information such as notes, locations, and other details can also be added to provide valuable insights for fellow birdwatchers​​.

Digital birdwatching journal on Bïndo

Bïndo also serves as a digital birdwatching journal, enabling users to create and organise personalised lists. Users can keep track of their birdwatching journey, categorising their findings by species, location, or date for convenient reference​​. Furthermore, it encourages exploration and discovery by allowing users to follow curated lists and stay informed about bird activity around them​​.

Species Guide on Bïndo

Bïndo has what looks like the beginnings of a species guide that can be accessed by tapping on a species image. There are however only limited images and no description or any other species information that will help with bird identification in a meaningful way.

Species Lists on Bïndo

Bïndo’s species lists are limited to a single regional species list (Southern Africa) that is based on IOC taxonomy. This is really unfortunate because when you are birding somewhere like Kruger National Park, you will be seeing species such as penguins and albatrosses in the list, neither of which can be found in Kruger. With regards to taxonomy, only supporting IOC taxonomy is a pretty serious limitation as there are a lot of birders using Clements and Birdlife taxonomy.

Friendly competition on Bïndo

Similar to Birda, the app also introduces an element of friendly competition and camaraderie by allowing users to invite friends and family to join in challenges or collaborate as a team to discover new bird species​​. These challenges can range from private to public ones, adding an element of excitement to birdwatching.

Maps on Bïndo

Bïndo’s satellite maps feature is visually appealing and enables users to get a good idea of where bird sightings occurred.

Privacy on Bïndo

In terms of privacy, the developer, Bïndo Group (PTY) LTD, has indicated that the app’s practices may involve the collection and linkage of data such as location, contact info, user content, identifiers, usage data, and diagnostics to the user’s identity​​.

Summary of Bïndo

Overall, Bïndo still needs a lot of refinement but it does seem to have the beginings of being a useful tool for experienced birdwatchers in Southern Africa. Bïndo is however seriously limited by the lack of an established community on the platform.

Birda vs. Bïndo

In today’s digital age, various birdwatching apps have emerged to make this hobby more accessible and convenient. Among them, Birda and Bïndo are two of the contenders in the social niche. This section aims to compare the two apps and highlight why Birda comes out on top as the ultimate birdwatching tool.

Community

The value of a birding social niche increases as more people use it. It becomes more useful and engaging as the number of users increases because there are more people to connect with, share content with, and learn from.
Since its launch in 2018, Birda has quickly grown to become the leading social niche platform for the global birdwatching community. Birda operates globally and has seen extremely high growth over the last year with users from 177 coutries using Birda to amplify their birdwatching. This makes Birda the fastest growing birdwatching community on the internet​​. On the other hand, Bïndo, having just recently launched, only has a small South African community​. Given Birda’s community and continual user experience improvements, it’s clear that Birda holds a significant lead over Bïndo in terms of community size and global coverage.

Ease of Use

Both Birda and Bïndo have modern user interfaces but Birda, with its focus on user driven development and having been around for many more years than Bïndo, is arguably more intuitive and easier to navigate, especially for beginners. Birda also goes the extra mile with its support service and support articles that help new users understand the various features available within the app and any other questions they may have. This makes Birda more user-friendly and a better choice for those starting their birdwatching journey.

Bird Identification

Birda features excellent isolated species reference images and thousands of user-generated photos of each species. This makes Birda an invaluable identification resource. Birda’s species guide is also deeply integrated into the whole Birda app which really sets it apart from the competition. So, identification and logging of species can now all happen within Birda rather than using a logging app and a separate identification app.

Bïndo’s species guide appears to be limited in its utility for identification as there are limited images, no description or any other species information that will help with bird identification in a meaningful way. The app seems to primarily serve as a social platform for bird enthusiasts, rather than a comprehensive species guide. It emphasizes community features such as logging and sharing sightings, creating personalized lists, and engaging in challenges with friends and family​​. While these features add a social element to birdwatching, they may not provide the depth and breadth of information necessary for species identification.

Range of Species

Birda features a global species guide for all 11,000+ species that covers all three major taxonomies (IOC, Clements and HBW) that is constantly being updated and improved. This ensures that Birda users have access to the latest information on both common and rare species, ultimately offering a more enriching birdwatching experience. Bïndo on the other hand seems to only use IOC taxonomy which will limit the platforms use at a global level.

Community Features

Birda takes pride in its vibrant and active community of birdwatchers built around a gamified birdwatching experience. The app enables users to connect with like-minded enthusiasts, share photos and sightings, and participate in exciting challenges and discussions. Having a longstanding community known for its inclusivity , Birda is the clear leader as a fun and knowledge based global birdwatching community. At the time of writing, Bïndo is still limited to a handful of users in South Africa so the app’s social features are let down by the lack of a significant community.

Offline Mode

A key differentiator between Birda and Bïndo is the offline mode functionality. Birda allows users to access essential features, like logging sightings and birding sessions without an internet connection. Birda also supports global location-based species lists so wherever you go birding around the world, Birda will automatically load a species list for your location ordered by the most common to least common species. Birda does this without the need to download any additional location packs. This is particularly useful for birdwatchers exploring remote areas where connectivity might be an issue. How amazing is that! Bïndo does seem to work offline however its lists are limited to that of a single Southern African list.

Location Feature

Birda’s Locations feature is designed to assist users in discovering birding spots and identifying the species that can be found there. Under the ‘Species’ tab, a list of species observed at the location within the past ten years is provided, offering users an idea of the birds they might encounter during their visit. The ‘New for you’ tab enables users to explore locations that are home to species they haven’t yet observed. This is accomplished by comparing a user’s life list with the location’s species list, generating a list of species the user hasn’t seen but have been recorded as seen at that site. At the time of writing, Bïndo does not offer a comparable location-based feature.

Citizen Science

Birda submits public sightings to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). The GBIF is an international network and data infrastructure funded by the world’s governments and aimed at providing anyone, anywhere, with open access to data about all types of life on Earth – making it the top contributor of conservation science data. Bïndo does offer the ability to add a Bird Atlas Observer ID to your user profile which will presumably feed into SABAP2. It is however not clear if Bïndo will be submitting sightings to any other authority and their is no information available that details how they manage data quality prior to submission to project such as SABAP2.

Sensitive sightings

Certain bird species are exposed to risks from human activities such as being captured, killed intentionally, or subjected to significant disturbance. These vulnerable birds can be further endangered by the availability of open-access data that can be used to exploit them. To address this issue, Birda has implemented measures to safeguard “Sensitive Species” data by restricting public access to sensitive sightings. This allows important information about these birds to be collected while ensuring that their safety is not compromised. At the time of writing, it is not clear if Bïndo will be protecting sensitive species data from being made public.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Birda outshines Bïndo in several key aspects, such as the size of their community, its engaging world wide challenges, community bird identification features, species range, community engagement, offline mode, location features and being an established market leader. These advantages make Birda an attractive option and a worthwhile companion for anyone passionate about observing and learning about birds. So, if you’re looking to elevate your birdwatching experience, look no further than Birda!

Connect to nature and like-minded people while you discover and explore the birdlife around you! Amplify your birdwatching experience with Birda today. 

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