KUBI Ornithology Collection

Latest version published by University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute on Jun 1, 2020 University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute

The Ornithology group in the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas conducts research and provides undergraduate and graduate education on the birds of the world. Research topics include the species limits and species diversity, evolution, geography, genetics and genomics, morphology, conservation, ecology, and behavior. This work is greatly enhanced by extensive research collections of world birds, numbering more than 107,000 specimens, many of which are recently collected as part of the group's global bird sampling program.<br /> <br /> Ornithology's study skin collections total about 60,000 specimens. The historical collections are strongest for the Great Plains of the United States and for Mexico, with additional holdings from Central and South America, Borneo, and Kenya. Recent large-scale collections have built significant recent holdings from Mexico, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama, Guyana, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Palau, and others. Collections of special importance include series of more than 14,000 House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), which formed the basis for landmark scientific research by Richard Johnston and his students; extensive series of several North American species (Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus, meadowlarks Sturnella spp., Horned LarkEremophila alpestris); series documenting many of the Great Plains hybrid zones; and the feathers of an extinct moa (Dinornithidae). Recent additions include extensive series from Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Paraguay, including many species otherwise poorly represented in scientific collections.<br /> <br /> The avian osteological collections are extensive, totaling over 32,500 specimens, and ranked third largest in the world (Wood and Schnell 1986). This component of the collection has important strengths from the Great Plains of the United States, Mexico, and northern South America. Important holdings include critical and unique Ecuadorian series, extensive recent Australian material, and a large series of steamer-ducks (Tachyeres sp.). Recent collecting activities have built South American skeletal holdings into an important collection, with material from poorly represented sectors such as the Atlantic Forest, the Yucatan Peninsula, Guyana, and montane Central America.<br /> <br />   Although fluid-preserved specimens were not an early focus of Ornithology activities, the collections at KU were ranked seventh in North America at the time of the last summary of anatomical holdings (Wood et al. 1982). More recently, as part of Prum's research program, these collections have grown significantly, with important holdings of suboscine passeriform birds, among other groups. Now housed with ample space and ideal storage conditions in an NSF- and State of Kansas-funded addition, this collection is seeing increased research applications.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 123,915 records. 2 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

  • Occurrence (core)
  • ResourceRelationship 
  • Multimedia 

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 123,915 records in English (10 MB) - Update frequency: unknown
Metadata as an EML file download in English (10 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (9 KB)


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

University of Kansas Bird Collection


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: e635240a-3cb1-4d26-ab87-57d8c7afdfdb.  University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by U.S. Geological Survey.


Occurrence; Specimen


Who created the resource:

Mark Robbins
Collection Manager
KU Biodiversity Institute Dyche Hall, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd. 66045 Lawrence KS US +01 785 864 3657

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Mark Robbins
Collection Manager
KU Biodiversity Institute Dyche Hall, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd. 66045 Lawrence KS US +01 785 864 3657

Who filled in the metadata:

Mark Robbins
Collection Manager
KU Biodiversity Institute Dyche Hall, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd. 66045 Lawrence KS US +01 785 864 3657

Who else was associated with the resource:

Principal Investigator
A. Townsend Peterson
KU Biodiversity Institute +01 785 864 3926
Principal Investigator
Robert Moyle
Curator in Charge
KU Biodiversity Institute +01 785 864 1870

Geographic Coverage

The Division has an active, global collections program, which has created recent collections resources from all continents except Antarctica.

Bounding Coordinates South West [-90, -180], North East [90, 180]

Taxonomic Coverage

All birds.

Class  Aves (Birds)

Temporal Coverage

Start Date 1841-01-01