Use of the collections

Measuring bill of yellow-billed barbet, Tachyphonus purpuratus.

Want to use the collections?

If you would like to use any specimens for research

The ornithological collection is accessed by researchers from around the world. Specimens may be studied at the Museum or in some cases loaned to external institutions.

The collections are used in a wide range of studies:

  • Comparative anatomy
  • Osteology
  • Zoogeography
  • Ecology
  • Conservation
  • Art
  • Archaeology
  • Taxonomy
  • Evolution

Much of our knowledge of bird distributions in Africa comes from Museum specimens. The morphological sections of handbooks such as The Birds of the Western Palaearctic and The Birds of Africa are heavily based on material from the collections.

The plates and texts of the Handbook of Birds of the World draw extensively on specimens in our collections. The assistance of the Museum's Bird Group is acknowledged in numerous scientific papers each year.

Additionally, research is also carried out in-house by the Bird Group's PhD students, scientific associates and curators, spanning a diverse range of interests.

Accessing the collections

Access to the ornithology collection and library is by prior appointment only. 

Access is conditional on you providing original photographic proof of identification and proof of address or letter of support on headed paper from your university. Failure to bring these documents will result in access being denied.

To arrange an appointment to visit please contact the relevant curator.