Bird skin collection

Curator: Igor Fadeev.

The collection contains 7 118 specimens. It is still being regularly replenished today, but the majority of specimens date from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries. A significant number of valuable specimens were collected by well-known foreign ornithologists at the end of the 19th – the beginning of 20th century in various regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, including the islands of the Malay archipelago, Central and South America. The specimens of this collection were originally intended as materials for future taxidermied animals and for exchange. Nowadays, bird skins have independent significance as valuable scientific and memorial objects.


The collection represents groups of exotic birds, such as Tanagers, Cacique, Hummingbirds, Birds-of-paradise, which are quite rare in the collections of Russian natural science museums.

In the 80s, the collection was added with specimens collected by the famous zoologist, Professor Alexander Kuzyakin on the territory of the former USSR, as well as in China while he was teaching at Chinese universities in 1957-1958.


Today, the collection is actively replenished by Darwin museum employees, who annually collect valuable scientific material on the territory of Russia. Moreover, there is an active scientific exchange with American colleagues from the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture (University of Washington, Seattle) and The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota), as well as the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). As a result of such collaboration, 335 specimens of birds of the North American fauna were added to the collection. In the last decade, along with collecting material for the Museum’s collection, the museum employees have been taking tissue samples for genetic analysis, which significantly increases the scientific value of the specimens.


A collection box with skins of birds-of-paradise (family Paradisaeidae)

A part of the black grouse (Lirurus tetrix L.) skins collection.

A collection box with skins of various species of tanagers (family Thraupidae).

A collection box with skins of yellowhammers (Emberiza citrinella L.).