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Naturalis extinct birds

More than ten million natural history objects have been brought together since the foundation, in 1820, of the Dutch National Museum of Natural History Naturalis. As an important part of this ‘biodiversity archive’ the museum cherishes 250.000 birds (skins, skeletons, nests and eggs).

Ornithologists from around the world frequent the bird collection, many of whom come to study the type-specimens of which Naturalis holds many thousand. These specimens, on which new species are based, are indispensable to ornithologists in order to decide whether a bird is new to science or not.

The more than two hundred extinct birds are another collection-highlight which raises much interest. Some specimens are unique. Naturalis is the only museum in the world to hold a Tahiti-Sandpiper Prosobonia leucoptera (Gmelin, 1789) and a specimen of Sharpe's Rail Gallirallus sharpei (Büttikofer, 1893), to name a few.

Through this website Naturalis offers remote access to its extinct birds. For purposes of study and enjoyment you can view every extinct bird kept in Leiden from all angles by rotating the 3d-images. The nomenclature is based on The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World Dickinson, E.C. (Editor) 3rd Edition, Princeton University Press, 2003.

If you experience problems with the 3D movies, please consult the Help page. For questions about the Naturalis birdcollection please contact the Nature Information Centre.

This development of this website was financed by NLBIF, the Dutch node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).


« The movie on the left shows the Great Auk Pinguinus impennis RMNH 110.104. This mount has been photographed together with a Razorbill Alca torda to allow for size comparison. Click '3D picture' for a large version of this picture.