The bird collection consists of approximately 66,000 study skins, 11,000 skeletons, and 36,000 clutches of eggs. We also maintain a small tissue collection containing samples from eastern North American taxa. The collection, worldwide in scope, has especially strong collections of Philippine and Central and South American birds. The holdings represent about 4,000 bird species. About 140 taxa are in the type collection. Extinct species are also represented. Formation of the collection began when the Museum was founded in 1957. Among the collections that can be found here are those of George Miksch Sutton, Allan R. Phillips, Olin S. Pettingill, T.D. Burleigh, D.S. Rabor, M. Hachisuka, Vivien Hewitt, and Sibley’s Yale-Peabody Expedition. We also maintain an archive that contains field notes and other documentation from some of these collectors.

The skeleton and skin collections are fully databased and can be searched at VertNet, iDigBio, and GBIF. The egg and tissue collections are not yet databased. Further information about the collection and requests for data or loans should be directed to Curator of Birds Jean Woods, Ph.D., at or 302-658-9111, ext. 314. Researchers requesting destructive samples should review our Destructive Sampling Policy for instructions on how to request samples and conditions that apply.

The Bird Department staff is also responsible for the mammal collection. We do not have collections of reptiles, amphibians, or fishes.

Jean Woods, Ph.D.
Jean Woods, Ph.D.Director of Collections and Curator of Birds

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