Question on identities

Only just discovered this App and can I say first what a great thing it is.
I think I read that it does use your location to help with id’s? My question is around this, I’m in the UK so I’m seeing a European Magpie regularly, and obviously I know what it is but I would like to add to my observations, but I can’t get an id other than Australian Magpie. So is there a way to point the app towards UK species or to add my own identification? Have a similar thing with a Pied Wagtail which is continually noted as White Wagtail which it could be if in continental Europe

The app normally does take location into account and is very good at it in my experience.

I tried looking up European Magpie as a species, and it doesn’t seem to exist in in naturalist. Is it possible that European Magpie is a local name that isn’t include in the database?

I’m no expert on European birds, but i googled European Magpie and the Eurasian magpie, Pica pica, came up. This species is indeed in iNat under Eurasian Magpie. Could you mean Pica pica? (I have to make my way to europe one day, i love it’s blue wings. They are easy to find?). In any case, using common names can sometimes cause trouble, especially if they are not in the database.

For the pied wagtail, according to the iNat taxon it’s a subspecies of the White Wagtail. Again, i’m no European bird expert so i can’t confirm anything, but the Rsbp gives the Pied wagtail the scientific name Motacilla alba, which is listed as the ‘white wagtail’ on iNat, whereas the Pied Wagtail is a subspecies, Motacilla alba yarrellii.

In general, if you know the proper name of a species, input that. If you have trouble and don’t know the proper name, google the name you do know and try to find out the proper name. Scientific names exist to avoid exactly this kind of confusion, so rely on them wherever possible.


The bird you’re seeing is listed under the common name Eurasian Magpie, Pica pica. For some reason this is not coming up as one of the choices if you type in “magpie” in the Species box. iNaturalist doesn’t return any Pica magpies (7 species worldwide) as “magpie.” So that explains your difficulty, but I’m not sure why it’s happening.


Welcome to the forum!

Welcome to the forum.

I’ll tell you that the app is a great way to introduce people to the website/database but the most accurate way to keep track of your observations is through the website itself. Not only am I able to use a much better camera for my observations but I recently had to switch phones and all the observations that I had on the other phone that were not posted to iNat were essentially lost. I would guess this in the neighborhood of 2-300 sitings of plants, insects, etc… because at first I was only using this stuff to grow my own knowledge base. Usually if the app could give me a positive ID I wouldn’t bother submitting to iNat for observation.

Only after realizing the real, communal, purpose of the database and how it could even guide my own adventures did I start posting everything; even if I got a positive ID.


@zorrosidekick, it hadn’t occurred to me that people might be using iNat the way you were, for IDs but no submissions. So glad you figured out that submitting is better. I have thousands of photos on my computer (and backup drive) but it’s a great comfort to know that if they were ever lost, all the good stuff is out there on iNaturalist and I can access it from anywhere. It’s so interesting to know how other people use the resource and how they benefit.


@janetwright. I think there are many out there that use it for that. I am something of a “volunteer PR” for the app but of those that I have been able to convince to set up an account have an overall low observation number. I can think of at least 7 people that I know that use the app but don’t use it to submit to iNat itself.

The fact is that it is the most comprehensive identification app that anyone I have talked to knows about. (even if it’s accuracy has been disproven by quite a few of my own observations.) Personally, I have found it’s a great way to get kids to open their eyes and ears to what’s around them.


A lot of people in the cultivated plant world do that, since submissions of cultivated plants have kind of a bad rap here.


Thanks for the reply. It is indeed Pica pica, it’s just Magpie to me, but I used European as a guess as to what it might be known elsewhere in the world !
What I’m missing or maybe I’ve misunderstood is can I identity it myself, I’ve only done that when the app arrives at species. At the moment having only had the app a couple of weeks (and been in lockdown so not going far) I was just trying to build up my own list of “sightings”, especially plants & insects which are a bit more of a mystery to me than birds


Yes you can, and should, ID it yourself, if you know what it is.

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