If you tap on the icon your Pokemon Go character in the lower left-hand side of the screen, the game will open the information page for your avatar. If you scroll further down, you'll notice circles labeled with various titles. These are achievement badges.
The purpose of achievement badges
Achievement badges are awarded to you when you reach certain milestones in the game. Before the 0.41.2 Android and 1.11.2 iOS update, the badges were only used to track your stats, so you could easily see how you were doing and brag to your friends. Now, when you complete a badges for catching certain types of Pokemon you get a catch bonus.
Catch bonuses can help you snag rare Pokemon. For example, if you get the gold Bird Keeper achievement, you'll get a +3 flying-type catch bonus. This means you'll be more likely to catch a Charizard, Aerodactyl or a Farfetch'd.
Gaining achievement levels
Once you gain an achievement, it isn't over. All achievement badges have various levels. The higher the level, the better the catch bonus:
- Bronze gives you a +1 catch bonus
- Silver gives you a +2 bonus
- Gold gives you a +3 bonus
To go up levels, you must catch more Pokemon of the same type: 10 Pokemon will get you bronze level, 50 Pokemon gets you silver, 200 gets you gold.
The Android and iOS update made it so you can easily see what type of Pokemon you're catching, while you're in the process of catching it. An icon will pop up above the Pokemon that will display its type as soon as you start to battle and disappears after a few seconds.
Here are the icons and how they correspond with each type:
- Green bug icon = bug-type
- Grey circle icon = normal-type
- Purple wing icon = flying-type
- Pink ring-shaped icon = poison-type
- Drop of water icon = water-type
- Green leaf icon = grass-type
- Mountain icon = ground-type
- Orange flame icon = fire-type
- Lightning bolt icon = electric-type
- Red swirl icon = psychic-type
- Fist icon = fighting-type
- Rock icon = rock-type
- Ghost icon = ghost-type
- Nut icon = steel-type
- Snowflake = ice-type
- Dragon icon = dragon-type
- Star icon = fairy-type
These icons will also let you know where you're at in your achievement level. For example, if the icon is surrounded with a silver circle, that means you have gotten your silver achievement level, but haven't reached your gold, yet. No ring around your icon means that you haven't completed any of the levels.
What about Pokemon that are two different types? If a Pokemon has more than one type, there will be more than one icon displayed over it. Your bonus will be the average of your bonuses for each type.
"For example, Pidgey is both Normal and Flying type. Your bonus in this case would be the average of your normal-type and flying-type bonuses," according to Niantic.
Some of the badge meanings are pretty obvious, while others are not. Here's a rundown of many of the badges and their meanings. If you don't see all of these badges, don't worry. Once you have completed a badge it often disappears from the list. Some achievement badges don't appear on the list at all.
Only some badges give you a catch bonus. The ones that give you a catch bonus are:
- Schoolkid: This is an easy award to achieve bronze. All you need to do is catch 10 normal-type Pokemon. This is another time catching all of those Rattatas pays off. Some normal Pokemon include Rattata, Tauros, Eevee, Snorlax, Meowth and Porygon.
- Bird Keeper: If Pidgeys are the bane of your Pokemon Go existence, take heart. Each Pidgey capture counts toward this badge. You'll need Pidgeys, or any flying-type Pokemon, to get bronze.
- Punk Girl: You get this by catching poison-type Pokemon. While some say that these can be found around bogs, wetlands, lakes and moors, I've found that they appear randomly.
- Bug Catcher: This is the one time in life when you need more bugs. You get this when you capture bug-type Pokemon. Grassy areas such as parks, playgrounds and farms are good places to look for bug types.
- Swimmer: Catch water types and you'll get this award. Some of the best places to find water types are by ponds, lakes, beaches and fountains.
- Gardener: Grass-type Pokemon are found typically in rural areas. You'll need 10 grass types to get bronze. Look for them in rural areas, forests and parks. They've also been found in parking lots.
- Ruin Maniac: This award is given to you when you get ground-type Pokemon. Finding these Pokemon is simple, they're pretty much everywhere the ground is found.
- Kindler: Nabbing fire-type Pokemon will get you this badge. While no one is sure about the best places to find fire types, some say to try by gas stations, fire departments and residential areas.
- Rocker: Nope, this one isn't for rock types. You need electric-types to get this badge. Dry, concrete covered areas are the best places to look for this type.
- Psychic: Psychic-types are needed to get this award. You'll find the bulk of these around hospitals, but you may also find them in parks or in grassy areas.
- Black Belt: Got fighting-type Pokemon? This badge counts how many you've gotten and awards you when you reach 10. These types are said to be found around stadiums, arenas and real-life gyms.
- Hiker: Rock types get you bronze with this badge.
- Hex Maniac: Catch ghost type Pokemon and you'll get this badge. Ghost types come out at night, so plan a nighttime Pokehunt with your friends.
- Depot Agent: Steel type Pokemon are needed to get bronze with this badge.
- Skier: You'll need to catch ice type Pokemon for this badge. This award is much easier to get if you live near cold parts of the world. You can also find them in grassy areas, though, if you're in a warmer area.
- Dragon Tamer: If you're lucky enough to find 10 dragon type Pokemon you'll get bronze with this badge.
- Fairy Tale Girl: Catch fairy type Pokemon to get this award. You can find this type at town landmarks.
There are many other badges that don't earn you catch bonuses, but they're still pretty fun. Each one has bronze, silver and gold levels, too.
Here's a few:
- Travel: These badges are awarded when you walk certain distances. All you need to do to get them is just to walk 10, 100 and 1,000 kilometers to get all three levels.
- Jogger: This badge isn't about how much you run while playing the game. It actually keeps track of how far you've walked, total. When you get to 100 kilometers, the badge is awarded to your character.
- Pokedex: This badge is awarded when you capture new Pokemon. It has a bronze, silver and gold levels. The more Pokemon you capture to your Pokedex, the higher the level you are awarded.
- Kanto: This badge is awarded to you when you register 5, 50 and 100 Pokemon in your Pokedex. Don't get this confused with your overall catches. Catching 50 Rattatas won't get you any closer to getting this award, though, only new Pokemon listed in your Pokedex count.
- Collector: Now this is the badge where catching all those Rattatas pays off. When you get to 30, 500 and 2,000 captured Pokemon, no matter the type or how many types you've caught them, you are rewarded with this badge. Catch every Pokemon you see to get this award faster.
- Scientist: This badge counts how many Pokemon you have evolved. When you evolve 3, 20 and 200 monsters, you receive the award. Remember, lower level Pokemon take less candy to evolve and you can transfer the evolved Pokemon for candy.
- Breeder: The breeder badge keeps track of the eggs you have hatched. When you get to 10, 100 and 500 eggs hatched eggs hatched, you receive the levels of this badge. Learn more about hatching eggs with these tips.
- Backpacker: Love PokeStops? Then this badge will be easy. It counts how many PokeStops you have visited and you'll get all three levels after a whopping 100, 1,000 and 2,000 visits. Take a look at this article to make finding PokeStops easier.
- Fisherman: Catch 3, 50 and 300 Magikarps to get all three levels of this badge.
- Battle Girl: To get all three levels of this badge you must win over 10, 100 and 1,000 gym battles. If you're not that great at battles, don't worry. You don't have to beat the entire gym, just the individual Pokemon guarding the gym for it to count. If you can beat the lowest level Pokemon guarding the gym, that's all you need.
- Ace Trainer: This counts how many times you train your Pokemon and awards you bronze after 10 training sessions, silver after 100 and gold after 1,000 training sessions. To train, go a gym that is run by your team and tap on the icon of the boxing glove in the bottom right-hand corner.
- Youngster: Catch 3, 50 and 300 tiny Rattatas to get the bronze, silver and gold. How are tiny Rattatas different than regular ones? They have a lower weight. You'll just need to catch a bunch of Rattatas to get this one.
- Pikachu Fan: All you have to do to get this one is catch three Pikachus to get to the first level achievement. Easier said than done, right? Here's a tip for getting your first Pikachu. Look for this little electric type in cemented, dry areas. I found one on a sidewalk by a light pole, for instance.