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Specimen Holdings

The Bird Collections are the 5th largest collection in North America and the 2nd largest at a University.

Taxonomic representation: Of 237 families of living birds, 229 are represented. Of approximately 2057 genera of birds, we have 1780. The collection contains about 6,387 species and 40 hybrids. Particular strengths are in the grebes (Podicipediformes), shorebirds and alcids (Charadriiformes), African waxbills (Estrildidae) and viduine finches (Viduinae) in both skin and skeletal collections.

Study skins: consists of approximately 208,000 specimens.  The 6th largest collection in North America; about 2/3 of the species of the world. In addition to study skins, the collection also includes other special preparations such as 1500 flat pelts and 763 spread wings and tails.The skin collection contains 319 holotypes and 2 lectotypes.

Skeletons: contains approximately 24,200 specimens of 4,460 species (4th largest in the world in number of specimens, 2nd in species diversity after the U.S. National Museum), representing over 95% of avian families. About one half of the skeleton specimens are from the United States. Other geographic areas for which we have larger collections include: Argentina (830), Australia (485), Canada (435), Costa Rica (1000), Egypt (1000), Ghana (490), Mexico (650), New Caledonia (140), Paraguay (1160), Philippines (340), Surinam (370), and Tanzania (340).

Fluid collection: 4,560 specimens and 1245 fluid-preserved syrinxes. Also maintained are collections of stomach contents and avian ecto- and endoparasites.

Frozen tissues: Samples from about 5,445 individuals stored in a liquid nitrogen cryogenics facility. These are listed in VertNet.

Below: A section of the collection; Parrot study skins; Birds of Paradise and Lyrebirds.