Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre

Unravel the epic story of birds, discover the secrets to their success and learn some of their surprising and often shocking tactics for survival.

  • 24 May 2024 - 5 January 2025

    Entry from 10.00-16.30 daily

Birds are the soundtrack to our mornings, they soar through our skies and swoop around our streets, but how well do we really know our feathered friends?

A hoot for all the family, our new exhibition invites you into their world like never before! Swirl around with a murmuration, chirp along with the dawn chorus and see if you have the stomach to sniff a stinky seabird egg. From feeling their heartbeats to seeing through their eyes, get to know our beaked buddies better.

Meet the oldest modern bird in the world the so-called wonderchicken, find out what a pigeon has in common with a ferocious T. rex and discover how these winged wonders managed to survive the mass extinction that wiped out all the other dinosaurs.

Today there’s more than 11,000 species. From pigeons to penguins, ostriches to ospreys, birds live on every single continent on Earth, so what’s the secret to their success? From sucking blood to bathing in acid, our feathered friends have found surprising, clever and downright freaky ways to survive.

But the way we live our lives is beginning to affect how they live theirs. As the effects of a changing world come home to roost, can we find a way to take them under our wing and create a future where they can soar once more?

Free for Members

Become a Member to get unlimited free entry to Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre, as well as exclusive viewing hours, talks from our scientists, family mornings and great discounts. Plus, you'll get to skip all the queues!

Family membership from £68.

Exhibition supported by Associate Donor

The Huo Family Foundation logo

In affiliation with

The RSPB logo

They’re the chirpy crumb cleaners of our pavements and the inspiration for many of our favourite sayings, but how well do we really know our feathered friends?

From penguins at the poles to ospreys over the oceans, birds are literally everywhere! But how did they come to rule the roost?

Packed with specimens from the world’s biggest bird collection, our new exhibition explores their epic evolutionary story. From surviving the mass extinction that wiped out all the other dinosaurs to evolving into the more than 11,000 species alive today, we’ll delve into the secrets of their success.

Whether it’s sucking blood or bathing in acid, they’ve found surprising and frankly shocking ways to survive on every continent on Earth. Join us and immerse yourself in their brilliant and bizarre lives. Step into a swirling murmuration, lose yourself in the dawn chorus and find out if you could be outwitted by a raven.

Plus, see the world – a changing world – through their eyes with our UV experience. With many species now being affected by the way we live our lives, discover if there’s a way we can help these remarkable creatures to soar once more.

Free for Members

Become a Member to get unlimited free entry to Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre, as well as exclusive viewing hours, talks from our scientists, family mornings and great discounts. Plus, you'll get to skip all the queues!

Adult membership from £62.

Exhibition supported by Associate Donor

The Huo Family Foundation logo

In affiliation with

The RSPB logo

Birds may have been around for millions of years and inhabit every continent on Earth, but these remarkable creatures still hold many secrets.

Featuring more than 120 specimens from one of the most important bird collections in the world, our new exhibition tells their incredible story like never before. From surviving the mass extinction that wiped out all the other dinosaurs to their evolution into the more than 11,000 species alive today, we delve into the secrets of their success.

From intriguing behaviours to brilliant survival tactics, we invite you into their fascinating lives. Step into a swirling starling murmuration, be immersed in the dawn chorus and uncover corvid intelligence.

Through extraordinary fossils and exquisite specimens, including a genuine auk egg, we’ll look not only into their past but also to their future. With the pressures of our rapidly changing world affecting many species, is there a way we can help them to thrive again?

Free for Members

Become a Member to get unlimited free entry to Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre, as well as exclusive viewing hours, talks from our scientists, family mornings and great discounts. Plus, you'll get to skip all the queues!

Adult membership from £62.

Exhibition supported by Associate Donor

The Huo Family Foundation logo

In affiliation with

The RSPB logo
Single quote icon

It’s a really, really, really, really, really good, 10-out-of-10 exhibition!

Single quote icon

Seagull Boy

Single quote icon

A beautifully put together journey through the story of our avian pals

Single quote icon

★★★★ - Time Out

  • Ticket prices, accessibility and visiting information

    Accessibility

    We aim to provide the widest possible access to our Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre exhibition, including:

    • large print gallery guide (PDF 563KB)
    • seating
    • various touch objects including a titanosaur egg cast, ancient tree pollen and a selection of bird beaks
    • two smell specimens
    • interactive touchscreen games

    For more information, visit Access at South Kensington.

    Visitor information

    Tickets include Museum entry after you've visited the exhibition.

    Please book the correct date, as your ticket can't be refunded or exchanged.

    Museum MembersPatrons and Corporate Supporters do not need to book and can visit the exhibition for free.

    RSPB Members must bring their RSPB Membership card or, if they have not received a card yet, a confirmation email as proof of membership.

    Reciprocal free admission for partner organisations, Museums Association and NMDC members is available Monday to Friday on a first come, first serve basis. You may need to wait during busy times.

    Ticket prices

    Adult (17-59): £16.50
    Child (4-16): £9.95
    Family (1 Adult 2 Children): £29
    Family (1 Adult 3 Children): £36.95
    Family (2 Adults 1 Child): £34.25
    Family (2 Adults 2 Children): £42.25
    Family (2 Adults 3 Children): £50.25
    Concession (Student, Senior 60+): £13.20
    Disabled adult: £13.20
    Disabled Child: £7.95
    Disabled Person Companion: free
    RSPB Member Adult: £13.20
    RSPB Member Child:
    £7.95
    Art Fund adult (16-59):
    £8.25
    Art Fund concession:
    £6.50
    School child:
    £4.00

Single quote icon

A beautifully put together journey through the story of our avian pals

Single quote icon

★★★★ - Time Out

Single quote icon

It’s a really, really, really, really, really good, 10-out-of-10 exhibition!

Single quote icon

Seagull Boy

Birds events coming up

Experience Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre at one of our unique events bringing you closer to the exhibition. All events below include entry to the exhibition.

Accessible Morning Visits to Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre

Get to know our beaked buddies better away from our busy daytime crowds at one of our accessible morning visits designed specifically for our disabled and neurodiverse visitors.

10.00–11.00 every third Wednesday and Saturday until 14 December

Adult tickets from £13.70 

Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre Tour

See birds in a new light on our revealing tour as you explore the shocking and spectacular tactics our feathered friends use to survive.

09.00–10.00, 16 June, 28 June, 14 July and 26 July 

Adult tickets from £25

Audio Described Tour of Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre

Join us for a special audio-described tour for blind and partially sighted visitors of our exhibition Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre.

10.00–11.30, 20 July, 10 August, 11 September, 12 October, 13 November, 4 and 14 December

Adult tickets from £13.20