Taxidermied Birds Collection

Curator: Yevgeny Nesterov.

The collection contains 6 465 specimens. Along with collections of taxidermied animals and skins of mammals, this is one of the basic collections of Darwin Museum.

The following families are most widely represented in the collection: the subfamily Tetraoninae - 650 specimens, Hummingbirds (family Trochilidae) - 530 specimens, the Phasianidae family - 380 specimens, the Anatidae family - 382 specimens, Sandpipers (Scolopacidae) - 332 specimens, the Accipitridae family - 218 specimens. The collection holds a significant number of taxidermied animals from private collections of famous zoologists P. Sushkin, M. Menzbir, N. Bobrinsky, G. Dementiev.

Some magnificent taxidermied animals of undoubted scientific and historical interest were made of skins brought from Tibetan expeditions of Nikolay Przhevalsky. They are the Tibetan snowcock (Tetraogallus tibetanus), the eared pheasant, the Tibetan sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes tibetanus ), the Himalayan monal (Lophophorus impejanus), the white-capped water redstart (Phoenicurus leucocephalus). There is also a taxidermied white-capped water redstart made from the skin brought by the famous French Lazarist missionary Catholic priest as well as a zoologist and a botanist, Chinese explorer Armand David.

The most important scientific division is the collection of grouse birds with color variations (the black grouse, the western capercaillie, the hazel grouse, the true partridges) - more than 600 specimens. The collection has been formed by Alexander Kohts since the beginning of the twentieth century. Later, it was replenished by specimens from private collections.

No less significant is the natural hybrids of grouse selection, including 42 specimens of the black grouse and western capercaillie hybrids, 2 specimens of the western capercaillie and black-billed capercaillie hybrids, 2 specimens of black grouse and hazel grouse hybrids, 14 specimens of the black grouse and willow ptarmigan hybrids.

An interesting collection of various types of taxidermied Palaearctic falcons (112 specimens) - gyrfalcons, saker falcons, peregrine falcons, and Eurasian hobbies.

Of considerable interest are also taxidermied tropical birds, especially the Hummingbirds, Birds-of-paradise (112 specimens), Tangara, Cotingas, Sunbirds, Common kingfishers.

Of particular value is the taxidermy mounts of extinct species of birds, such as the great auk, the huia, the passenger pigeon and the extinct flightless dodo (Raphus cucullatus) from the island of Mauritius. The collection includes a number of taxidermy mounts made of bird skins, obtained by famous foreign ornithologists - Alfred Hart Everett on the Philippine Islands and the island of Borneo (Kalimantan), Albert Stewart Meek (also known as an entomologist) on the island of New Guinea, William Frederick Henry Rosenberg in Colombia. 

To be noted is the collection of breeds of poultry - 520 specimens, about 400 of which are various breeds of domestic hens, including ones that are rare and currently extinct. In the second half of the twentieth century, some breeds of chickens lost their value/popularity for various reasons and therefore seized to exist. The taxidermied hens of these breeds that are part of Darwin museum collection serve as examples of their exterior. Based on these materials in the 80s and 90s, amateur poultry breeders made successful attempts to restore some of the extinct breeds, including the Orloff and the Pavlovsky chicken.

Abnormal coloration of the plumage of male black grouse (Lirurus tetrix L.).

Taxidermied extinct passenger pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius L.).

Albino birds.

Tropical birds.

Vulturine parrot (Psittrichas fulgidus Lesson, 1831) on the left, and an owl parrot aka kakapo (Strigops habroptilus Gray) on the right.