MVZ Bird Collection (Arctos)

Latest version published by Museum of Vertebrate Zoology on Apr 18, 2024 Museum of Vertebrate Zoology

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 195,355 records in English (190 MB) - Update frequency: unknown
Metadata as an EML file download in English (11 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (8 KB)


The MVZ bird collection is one of the largest in the United States. It houses over 185,000 catalogued specimens, including 174 holotype and 2 syntypes. The majority of specimens are study skins, but the collection also contains over 21,000 skeletal specimens and 3,200 fluid-preserved specimens. Other types of preparations include flat specimens (wings, skins) and body skins with skeletons ("schmoos"). Tissues, anatomical parts (e.g., syrinx, stomach contents), and parasites are routinely preserved with specimens. Many specimens also are associated with cataloged audio recordings.

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 195,355 records.

1 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)

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.


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

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ), University of California, Berkeley


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: e3b959d6-fcbe-4a28-a166-e4a807c340a0.  Museum of Vertebrate Zoology publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by U.S. Geological Survey.


Occurrence; Specimen; Occurrence


Carla Cicero
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Staff Curator of Birds
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, UC Berkeley
3101 Valley Life Science Building
94720-3160 Berkeley
(510) 642-7868
Laura Russell
  • Programmer
VertNet Programmer
David Bloom
  • Programmer
VertNet Coordinator
John Wieczorek
  • Programmer
Information Architect
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley
Dusty McDonald
  • Point Of Contact
Arctos Database Programmer
University of Alaska Museum
Rauri Bowie
  • Point Of Contact
Faculty Curator of Birds
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley
3101 Valley Life Sciences Building
94720-3160 Berkeley
(510) 643 1617

Geographic Coverage

The MVZ bird collections are global. Geographic strengths are western North America from Alaska and British Columbia through southern Mexico. In addition, there are major series of specimens from Central America (especially Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica), South America (in particular, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, and Argentina), the Hawaiian Islands, the South Pacific, Australia, and Africa.

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

Taxonomic Coverage

The collection is taxonomically synoptic, with representatives of every Recent order of birds. For most orders there is at least 70% representation at the generic level.

Class Aves

Temporal Coverage

Living Time Period 1832 to present

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers e3b959d6-fcbe-4a28-a166-e4a807c340a0