Search the Collection
The ornithology collection in the Yale Peabody Museum’s Division of Vertebrate Zoology is among the largest and most comprehensive repositories of scientific bird specimens in the Western Hemisphere. Holdings include more than 152,000 specimens, representing nearly 7,200 species—about 70% of total global bird diversity—collected over the last 150 years. Most of the specimens, about 108,000, are prepared as skins. The rest of the collection consists of skeletons, fluid-preserved specimens, cryo-preserved tissue samples, eggs, and nests. Geographic coverage is worldwide, with emphasis on Connecticut in the northeastern United States and with significant holdings from the Philippines, New Guinea, Borneo, Tanzania, Argentina, Brazil, and the Guianas.
The Division’s egg collection of over 13,000 sets representing over 1,000 species is among the largest such collection in North America. Images and associated data linked to specimen records are searchable online. Most specimens are from the collections of Louis B. Bishop (1865–1950) of New Haven, Connecticut, and Henry O. Havemeyer (1847–1907) of Mahwah, New Jersey. More than 90% of bird species found in North America (north of Mexico) are represented, including the extinct Passenger Pigeon and Bachman’s Warbler.
The Division’s affiliated William Robertson Coe Ornithology Library has an extensive nonlending research and teaching collection of books and journals.
Research in the Ornithology Collections
The Peabody’s curatorial divisions are governed by the Museum’s collections policies and best practices document. Collections are available to researchers for scholarly use and loans are issued to individuals at established institutions. Loans and access can be arranged through the curatorial division’s collections manager.
The Division of Vertebrate Zoology at the Yale Peabody Museum sponsors research on the morphology, evolution, development, biogeography, ecology, and behavior of vertebrates. Division staff and affiliates conduct field research on multiple continents. Additionally, molecular studies by staff have addressed population genetics, conservation, and the molecular systematics of vertebrates.
The Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, publishes original research in the natural science disciplines represented by the collections of the Yale Peabody Museum’s curatorial divisions.