Collection of Birds

To give in support of the Texas Ornithological Research Fund, which was established to develop sufficient resources to allow us to continue to build the Collection of Birds at the Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections to benefit the public, State and University aspects of our mission: Click here.

African sunbirds in the collection at the BRTC.

African sunbirds in the collection at the BRTC. Photo by Agrilife Communications.

The Collection of Birds at the BRTC contains over 24,500 specimens from 59 countries, primarily Texas (64%) and Mexico (24%). Holdings include representatives of 1,674 species, 795 genera and 164 families. The majority of specimens are prepared as skins; however, the collections include nearly 1,500 skeletons, 300 fluid preserved specimens, 400 egg sets and 3000 wings. The Collection also maintains a rapidly growing collection of tissues (nearly 6,500) and  blood samples associated with voucher specimens.  Specimen records  may be accessed through VertNet here and are also available through the OrNIS site. Our loan policy is available here .

Paradise Flycatcher, Graaff-reinet, South Africa. Photo by Sergei Drovetski.

African Paradise Flycatcher, Graaff-reinet, South Africa. Photo by Sergei Drovetski.

Research projects by faculty, students and staff at Texas A&M University have provided, and continue to provide, most of the material in this collection. However, the collection has grown through acquisition of the ornithology collections of Austin College, Southern Methodist University, Midwestern University and the University of North Texas. Historic and modern collections from the National Parks System (Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Padre Island National Seashore) also contribute to the growth of the collection. Recent international expeditions to Armenia, Benin, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Italy and South Africa have increased the number of species and geographic diversity represented in the collection.

Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi), Brewster County, Texas. Photo by Heather L. Prestridge.

Collections are continuing to meet the needs of researchers in an increasing number of fields of study. They are used for answering important questions about birds and our shared environment, and provide a broad benefit to the management and conservation of birds.


The Collection of Birds is willing and able to care for all types of collections. If you collect specimens as part of your research and cannot or do not wish to adequately care for them in the long term, please consider the Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections as a repository. We gratefully accept such specimens provided they are accompanied by proper documentation and permits (USDA, USFWS, CITES, STATE).

Recent Publications

Calder, Jr., B., C.A. DuCharme and H.L.Prestridge.  2017.  New nesting record of the peregrine falcon in central Texas.  Southwestern Naturalist 62:71-74.

Harvey, J.A., and G. Voelker.  2017.  Avian Haemosporidian detection across source materials: prevalence and genetic diversity.  Parasitology Research 116:3361-3371.

Huntley, J.W. and G. Voelker.   2017.  A tale of the nearly tail-less:  the effects of Plio-Pleistocene climate change on the diversification of the African avian genus SylviettaZoologica Scripta 46:523-535.

Outlaw, D.C., J.A. Harvey, S.V. Drovetski, and G. Voelker.  2017. Diversity and distribution of avian haemosporidians in Sub-Saharan Africa: An inter-regional biogeographic overview. Parasitology 144:394-402.

Pistone, J., J.J. Heatley, T.A. Campbell, and G. Voelker.  2017.  Assessing Passeriformes health in South Texas via select venous analytes.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B 210:64-71.

Pellegrino, I., M. Cucco, J.A. Harvey, F. Liberatore, M. Pavia, G. Voelker, and G. Boano.  2017.  So similar and yet so different: taxonomic status of Pallid swift Apus pallidus and Common swift Apus apusBird Study 64:344-352.

Takano, O.M., P.S. Mitchell, D.R. Gustafsson, A. Adite, G. Voelker, and J.E. Light.  2017. An assessment of host associations, geographic distributions, and genetic diversity of avian chewing lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) from Benin.  Journal of Parasitology 103:152-160.

Voelker, G., M. Tobler, H.L. Prestridge, E. Duijm, D. Groenenberg, M.R. Hutchinson, A.D. Martin, A. Nieman, C.S. Roselaar, and J.W. Huntley.  2017.  Three new species of Stiphrornis Forest Robins (Aves: Muscicapidae) from the Afro-tropics, with a molecular phylogenetic assessment of the genus.  Systematics and Biodiversity.


Comments are closed.