Life Collections: birds database

The bird skins collection contains over 17,000 specimens from around the world, and represents almost 5,000 different species.

These specimens were presented by a variety of donors and include the W. J. Burchell collection of South African birds, the W. H. Treacher collection from Borneo and the J. W. Campbell collection of British birds.

A number of extinct species are represented within the collection, for example the Australian Paradise Parrot (Psephotus pulcherrimus), the North American Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) and the Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris) from New Zealand.

The Museum also houses a large collection of eggs, principally from British birds, avian spirit material and osteological material; these specimens are catalogued separately from the bird skins and are not included in this database.

Taxonomic data
The Museum's bird skins collection is catalogued and systematically arranged according to Peters (1931-1987); this name is recorded in the 'Peter's Name' field. Any other names by which a specimen has been labelled or catalogued are listed in the 'Taxonomic History' field. The 'Name' field contains the currently valid scientific name according to Howard and Moore (1998). Common names were also taken from Howard and Moore. Synonyms were traced using Wells (1998).
Threat status has been determined according to Hilton-Taylor (2000); definitions of each threat category can be found within the reference, or online at Redlist Online.

Specimen data has been transcribed from the museum accessions catalogue.

Locality data
The data in the 'Locality' field matches the museum accessions catalogue. Country names have been updated according to the list of states and territories of the world from the Millennium edition of the Times Atlas. The pull-down menu for the 'Country' field includes all the countries from which the Museum holds specimens.

Hilton-Taylor, C. (Compiler) (2000) 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge. Howard, R. and Moore, A. (1987) A Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. Second Edition. Academic Press.
Peters, J. L. et al (1931-1987). Check-list of Birds of the World. 15 vols with vol. 1 revision; vol. 16 index. Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Mass.
Wells, M.G. (1998) World Bird Species Checklist: with alternative English and Scientific names. Worldlist. The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World 2000 Millennium Edition. Times Books.

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How to use the databases
A guide to searching the databases

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