The anatomical collections represent around 35% of the world’s bird species. They include skeleton and spirit collections, together totalling around 33,600 specimens.
Specimens in the collection span the entire history of the Natural History Museum, from hornbill skulls dating from the foundation of the British Museum in 1753 and whole preserved birds from Captain Cook’s last voyage between 1776-1779, to material registered in the last few weeks.
Every year the collections are used by visitors from around the world for projects such as:
With over 16,000 specimens, the avian skeleton collection is the largest of its kind in the UK. Explore the collection and learn more about how we prepare new specimens.
The avian spirit collection represents around 38% of the world's species. Learn more about the the collection and its uniquely important specimens.