The Best Monocular for Bird Watching to Enhance Your Experience

The Best Monocular for Bird Watching to Enhance Your Experience

11 min read

Are you interested in bird watching?

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced birder, having the right equipment can make all the difference to your experience.

One of the most important pieces of gear is a monocular. Monoculars allow you to zoom in on birds and get amazing detail without taking up as much space as binoculars would - perfect for when storage is at a premium!

In this blog post, we will explore some great choices for monoculars for bird watching so that you have all the information necessary to choose which is best suited for your requirements.

So if you're ready to learn more about what makes a great monocular for bird watching, read on!

How We've Selected Our Top Picks

The selection of the monoculars in our list of top five was based upon specific parameters. Durability was the first and most important criterion, as this gadget will be used in the wild. Therefore, failing is not an option. Then we took into account the comfortability and efficiency of the design.

Then we looked at the product's eye relief and whether it was suitable for people who wear glasses. To ensure a clear view, we evaluated the coating, the anti-reflection properties, and the type of prism of the optics. Ultimately, we examined the monocular's weather-resistant characteristics by looking at the protection used to seal the lens from the outside world.

1. Vortex Optics Solo Monocular

This monocular from Vortex is made to survive under intense environmental conditions. The fully rubberized casing of this monocular gives this gadget tank-like solidity. As a result, it is the most trustworthy product you can take on your bird-watching adventure. Depending on the terrain, you can bank on this device for quality viewing.

Apart from the protection, the rubberized casing also acts as the monocular's grip. The design, size, weight, and grip make it efficient and comfortable to handle this equipment for prolonged usage. It comes with a utility clip that can be clung onto your pocket or waist, which helps you save extra room in your backpack for the other off-grid adventure tools.

The lenses on this HD monocular telescope are equally brilliant. It has a multi-layered coating on the optics, enabling maximum light transmission without reflecting light from the scope and producing bright and clear images under low light conditions. This monocular is installed with a nitrogen purge and an O-ring to avoid rainy and foggy conditions. It allows you to do birding even while canoeing or on a mountain under heavy mist.

For an individual with spectacles, it has an eye relief option. You can twist the eye cup and adjust it according to your needs. It also has a lanyard feature to put on the wrist strap.

What We Like

  • Shockproof casing.
  • Ergonomic design.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Utility clip.
  • Multi-coated lenses.

What You Should Know

  • It cannot be attached to any tripods.

2. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular

This high-power monocular from Bushnell is a little pricey but features a high-quality large objective lens. This monocular has one of the best optics lenses for supreme viewing quality. The scope of this device uses a BAK-4 prism that allows its user to observe birds with more detail. In addition, you can see birds with more clarity and observe more colors because of the added coating of the PC-3 phase on the lenses. The cherry on top is that it even consists of "Extra- Low Dispersion" glass to reduce the chromatic aberration and present you with the actual image.

The focusing knob is nice and easy; it requires only a single hand to set it while watching through the scope. Moreover, this device weighs only about 374 grams which is about 14 ounces. Therefore, it is compact and can easily fit in tight spaces. Besides, it comes with a carry clip that can be attached to your waist to make it convenient.

This Bushnell monocular doesn't compromise on durability, either. It has a solid outer shell, which keeps it safe from shocks and makes it reliable. In addition, you will notice that it has a small Picatinny rail down at the bottom. And because of this, it can be attached to any object which supports the Picatinny rail.

However, holding this device for a long time may get dicey because of a lack of grip. Also, it is disappointing that it doesn't have an eye-relief feature.

What We Like

  • Supreme viewing quality.
  • Rocks ED glass.
  • Easy to set focus.
  • Solid structure.
  • 100% waterproof and fog-proof construction.
  • Picatinny rail.
  • Larger objective lens.

What You Should Know

  • More expensive.
  • Weak grip.
  • Lacks an eye-relief feature.

3. Gosky Piper Monocular

If you are serious and dedicated to bird-watching, I suggest you look closely at this product. It ticks all the boxes as a monocular for professional bird watchers. The best thing about this product is that it is relatively inexpensive, ensuring it does not leave a dent in your wallet.

This Gosky monocular can be attached to a tripod. It comes with a tripod that gives you a stable and steady bird-viewing experience. You can record videos or take beautiful pictures of your bird viewing experience by attaching the mobile via its cellphone adapter kit.

This high-power prism monocular offers 352 ft/ 1000 Yds of a field of view and 12*55 power magnification to track the bird's unpredictable swift movements. It makes it slightly easy to keep track of your bird and watch it in detail. The optics are fully multi-coated, which increases the transmission of light and helps provide a better quality image even in low light circumstances. In addition, it is installed with a BAK-4 prism to add more colors to your visuals.

You should note, though, that the size and weight of this monocular are comparatively bigger and heavier than the other listed monoculars. The complete kit of this scope may also take up some space in your backpack. However, the hand strap and the above-mounted focusing knob make it convenient and comfortable. Further, it also features an adjustable eye cup to accommodate those who wear glasses.

This monocular can perform in all weather conditions because it is sealed with IPX-7 Nitrogen. This monocular is fog resistant, waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof. So you can enjoy your birding without worrying about the surroundings.

What We Like

  • Tripod and mobile adapter.
  • Fully Multi-Coated lenses.
  • BAK-4 prism.
  • Large field of view.
  • IPX-7 Nitrogen-filled design.
  • Fog resistant, waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof.

What You Should Know

  • Big in size.
  • Little heavy.
  • Lacks durability.

4. Orion Monocular

Orion is one of the oldest players in this industry. It is renowned for producing reliable and trustworthy monoculars. They also do have expertise in making telescopes and binoculars aside from monoculars. Overall structure and features of this scope make it a perfect well-rounded device for bird-watching.

It is small and lightweight but can go up to 10x power magnification. The magnificent part about this device is that you can focus on things only 20 inches away. This gadget allows you to explore and observe other species, such as insects. You will appreciate the complexity of nature only after observing insects in an up close and detailed manner.

Although it does not contain any utility or carry clip, you can put it inside its carrying case or wrap it in your hand with the wrist strap. It may not work under foggy conditions, but its rubbered-armored structure will not let water enter the scope. You can also get a good grip over the bird-watching monocular because it is rubbered-armored, making it easy to hold onto even in wet conditions.

The optics on this scope are multi-coated and have an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare. It helps you do birding even in the late evening with low natural light.

What We Like

  • 10* power magnification with the ability to focus on objects as close as 20 inches.
  • Compact and light.
  • Long eye relief feature.
  • Anti-reflection and multi-coated lens.
  • Simple barrel twisting mechanism for focusing.

What You Should Know

  • No utility clip.
  • It's waterproof, but it cannot be submerged in water.

5. Carson CloseUp Monocular

This monocular from Carson is a perfect tool for beginners. It is super light and can easily be held in your palm for long periods without feeling muscle fatigue. It is so tiny that you can fit it into your pocket easily. It is a perfect product to teach children about bird behavior and bring them closer to nature.

With this ultra-portable and lightweight monocular, you can convert your daily walk or hike into birding. This super compact monocular can give you a clear close-up view of things that are merely 10 inches away. Because of that, you can look at flowers in much more detail, and that too on 6* power magnification.

It has multi-coated lenses that allow more light to travel, reducing glare and delivering high-image quality. You can tie this with wrist straps or use the carrying case.

What We Like

  • Super compact and super light.
  • Multi-coated lenses.
  • A perfect tool for teaching children about nature.
  • You can carry it on your hiking.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Ideal for close-up details( focuses on things as close as 10 inches away).

What You Should Know

  • Limited magnification range.

What is a Monocular?

Most of you may already know the difference between binocular and monocular scopes. But, for those yet in the dark about the differences, let us tell you.

Monoculars are just like binoculars, but they come with a single-scope lens. As a single-eye configuration device, it naturally narrows the field of view that helps you pinpoint a particular target. You only need one hand to use monoculars as opposed to binoculars. The telescopic single-scope design allows you to save in both space and weight compared to binoculars.

Why Monoculars for Bird Watching?

It all boils down to an individual's choice, binocular or monocular; whatever you are comfortable with can be used for birding. Yet, some arguable points go in favor of spotting or monocular scopes. Point number one is that tracking birds on a monocular device is easy. You can switch between scoped and unscoped vision without removing the eye from the scope. Secondly, holding it for a prolonged time is reasonably easy due to its ergonomics. Finally, with a shorter field of view, you can get more focused vision than you get from binoculars.

Things to Look for Before Buying the Best Monocular for Bird Watching

Flared Eye Cup

In search of the best monoculars for bird watching, many people focus more on the shape, size, and scope. But we should not forget the importance of a flared eye cup. A simple piece of silicon or plastic helps the eye orbit fit smoothly on the scope. It also blocks any extraneous incoming light onto the eye, giving it an unobstructed watching experience.

Bird-watching requires dedication, patience, and focus. Unfortunately, sometimes you spend your entire day hiding behind the bushes for glimpses of the birds. In such situations, a monocular without a flared eye cup could sore your eye and make birding a painful experience.


Find someone in your social circle who is into outdoor activities like camping, hiking, trekking, etc. Give any product to them and ask about their thoughts on that product. 8 out of 10 times, they will talk about its durability. The reason for that is that being far away from the town or grid, out and open in the wilderness, you only rely on your gear for survival, and this is where the durability of the products matters most.

The terrain and weather are only rarely in your favor. Since you don't have any nearby hardware shops at these locations, breaking off any of your gear can get you in trouble. The same is with bird-watching; you want to avoid taking on the birding adventure with an unreliable monocular.


Typically, monoculars are easier to hold in comparison to binoculars. It is primarily because they bear the weight of one lens instead of two. Secondly, the weight distribution on a monocular is a lot better due to its design.

A Monocular needs only a single arm for stable viewing. You could also use a binocular with one hand, but only for a limited time. However, this does not mean that every single monocular is ergonomically perfect. Therefore, the grip and weight distribution properties must be evaluated before picking up a monocular.

Eye Relief

Eye relief allows you to adjust the distance between the scope's lens and your eye point according to your eyesight.

If you wear spectacles, the eye relief feature should be essential. Suppose you wear glasses and your monocular does not have an eye relief feature. In that case, you will experience vignetting in your field of view and will struggle for clear viewing.

Water/Fog Proof Design

It is highly likely that in your bird-watching trips, you may suddenly find yourself in unusual weather conditions. So you and your monocular have to be prepared. To get to your desired birding spot, sometimes you got to go through muddy tracks, climb rocky mountains, and even canoe.

Therefore, you need a monocular with good water and fog-proof sealing to cope with these harsh climates and terrain conditions.


The whole point of birding is to watch exotic animals up close with a crystal clear view and in great detail. To get that result, your monocular lenses should be multi-layer coated. This method increases the light transmission, improving the resolution, which translates into clear & crisp images.

In addition, fully multi-coated optics reduces glare and provides good-quality viewing even under low light conditions. Also, you can get more enhanced picture quality if your monocular comes with a Porro prism.


Besides the wrist strap, utility clip, carrying case, and ambidextrous straps, new high-end monoculars come with a tripod mount and mobile attachments, which can be attached to the tripods. It lets you record your experiences and share them with your loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the cons of monoculars?

The cons of monoculars include limited depth perception, narrow field of view, and difficulty in stabilizing the image due to a lack of two eyes, but they are still useful for some activities such as hiking and bird watching due to their compact design and portability.

Are monoculars any good for bird watching?

Monoculars can be useful for bird watching, as they are lightweight, portable, and offer a close-up view of birds in their natural habitats. Still, they have limitations such as lower magnification and a narrower field of view than binoculars, which could affect the overall bird-watching experience.

Are monoculars better than binoculars for bird watching?

Monoculars are not necessarily better than binoculars for bird watching as both have their advantages and disadvantages, but monoculars tend to be more compact and lightweight, while binoculars provide a more immersive and comfortable experience.

What glasses are best for bird watching?

Most bird watchers prefer binoculars with a magnification of at least 8x and a lens diameter of 32mm or 42mm, as they provide a clear and detailed view of birds in their natural habitat.

What Option of Monocular for Bird Watching is Best for You?

Overall, choosing the best monocular for bird watching can be difficult to narrow down. It is important to consider your lifestyle and preferences before picking the one you'll bring home.

We hope that by now, you have a better sense of what monocular will work best for your observations. Even if you're on a strict budget, plenty of affordable options are still available in the market.

With careful consideration and thoughtful decision-making, finding the perfect monocular for bird watching won't be daunting! If all else fails, reading through customer reviews and seeing how other people have enjoyed their choices never hurts.

So go ahead and take your time – happy bird watching!

Items reviewed:

1. Vortex Optics Solo Monocular

2. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular

3. Gosky Piper Monocular

4. Orion Monocular

5. Carson CloseUp Monocular

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