Scythebill – free software for keeping mammal records


I’ve been using Scythebill to keep my bird records for a while.  The latest version now allows you to import lists of other creatures, and with Jon’s world mammal list available for download in a compatible format, it’s now a great way of keeping track of mammal sightings.

Full information is available at

It is available for Windows, Mac or Linux.  Once records have been entered, you can generate lists of what you’ve seen by location, keep track of your world mammal list, click and drag photos and so on.  Here are a few reasons why I like it:

  • compared to some other commercially available programmes it’s relatively straightforward.  It does the basics well but isn’t too complicated to learn.
  • it has lots of useful features, for instance the ability to tag records as uncertain, introduced species, heard only, photographed etc.  You can then define whether you want your list totals to include heard and introduced species or not.
  • you can input and export sightings easily – very important to me as I could import twenty years of bird records from Birdbase.
  • while the database is stored on your hard drive it can be set up so that a backup copy of everything is stored in a cloud service such as dropbox, meaning your records are safe if the computer fails or is stolen.
  • for birds it makes it easy to manage species splits and lumps.  No doubt that will happen with mammals too once the checklist gets revised.

I’ve made Australian reptile and frog lists available too.  I am no expert when it comes to spreadsheets but it was very easy to put them together.  These and the mammal lists are available at

Murray Lord


  • cmh78

    Thanks for mentioning this. I have been using Avisys for my mammal list, which I assume will quit working with some future Windows update. I’ll try it in the next couple weeks.

  • Alan D

    Thanks for the tip Murray. I’ve been using Excel all these years and I think it’s time to check out something new. It would be great if I could import from Excel. We will see.

    • murraylord

      Alan I believe you can import from Excel. You would need to make sure the data was in the right format and then you export it as a CSV file, which you can then import into Scythebill. Have a look in the manual under “Scythebill imports”. There will probably be a bit of manual tidy up required afterwards (eg if you have been using different taxonomy to Jon’s), but it’s all manageable. The Scythebill developer, Adam Winer, is very helpful if you run into roadblocks.

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