Toucan MVZ Bird Collection

The MVZ bird collection houses over 179,000 catalogued specimens, placing it as one of the largest in the United States. The majority of specimens are study skins, but the collection also contains approximately 20,000 skeletal specimens and 3,200 fluid-preserved specimens. There are 172 holotypes and two syntypes.

The collection is taxonomically synoptic, with representatives of every Recent order of birds. For most orders there is at least 70% representation at the generic level. Although the collection contains specimens from every continent and major ocean in the world, the strength of its geographic representation is western North America, from Alaska and British Columbia southward through southern Mexico. In addition, there are major series of specimens from Central America (especially El Salvador and Costa Rica), South America (in particular, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, and Argentina), the Hawaiian Islands, the South Pacific, and Australia.

Avian vocalizations are routinely recorded in the field, many of which are associated with MVZ catalogued specimens. The majority of recordings are of passerine birds, but the sound collection also contains significant recordings of owls, hummingbirds, and other taxonomic groups. Sound recordings for approximately 300 species are stored on 400 reel-to-reel or cassette tapes.

Click here to query the MVZ database

Click here to read the MVZ's policy on specimen loans

Links of Interest

American Ornithologists' Union
Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics
Cornell Library of Ornithology

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