Bird skull collection

Welcome to On this site you will find an enormous amount of information about bird skulls and anatomy of species from the Western Palearctic and other areas from all over the world.

Quick search for skull:

Enter a (part of the) name of a bird (e.g. buzzard)

New: Unique pictures of dodo skull

Dodo, Raphus cucullatus
The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) is extinct since the second half of the 17th century. The dodo pictures show the only intact skull in existence (still covered with skin on one side), which was taken from the last surviving mounted specimen. Many thanks to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History for providing us with these pictures.

The Oxford Museum owns the copyright of these pictures, and use without their permission is not allowed.

Detailed 3D views with high resolution images of bird skulls

Photosynth is a software application from Microsoft Live Labs and the University of Washington that analyzes digital photographs and generates a three-dimensional model of the photos and a point cloud of a photographed object. We generated several 3D models of (bird) skulls using this software tool.

Requires Microsoft Silverlight plugin

Bird skull Quiz

quiz New: Test your knowlegde on bird and skull anatomy by answering 20 questions....

Bird skull photographs

An amount of appr. 1200 skulls can be found in the database, most of which have been photographed. Go to the skull database seach page to view more pictures

Example of pictures in database: Limosa lapponica (Bar-tailed Godwit); side-, top-, and bottom view

cleaning tutorial

Learn all about cleaning skulls and skeletons by maceration. Click here for a comprehensive tutorial


On the determination page you can identify skulls on the basis of morphological characteristics such as bill shape and skull dimensions...

3D models of bird skeletons

black woodpecker skeleton

3-D rotating skeletons of a Greater Rhea, Northern Gannet, Great Cormorant, Common Buzzard, Northern Goshawk, common swift, Crossbill, Moorhen, Curlew, Tawny owl, Fulmar, Black woodpecker, Congo peafowl, Griffon vulture, Hyacinth macaw, Maguari stork, Papua hornbill. Many more to come.

Search the database

To search for specific birds, use our skull database search page. It is possible to search for dutch, english, french, spanish, german and scientific names.

Skeleton of griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)
(Click on image to enlarge)

For a complete overview of specimens in our collection you can view the scientific list.

Contact us

Please contact us via email:

Jan Jansen
Wouter van Gestel

(Conservators EDC / WUR)

Phoenicopterus ruber
(Greater Flamingo)

Index of bird orders and families

Anseriformes Anseriformes
 Anatidae  swans, geese and ducks,   zwanen, ganzen, eenden   Anhimidae  screamers,   hoenderkoeten 
Apodiformes Apodiformes
 Hemiprocnidae  Treeswifts,   Boomgierzwaluwen   Trochilidae  hummingbirds,   kolibries   Apodidae  swifts,   gierzwaluwen 
Apterygiformes Apterygiformes
 Apterygidae  kiwis,   kiwi's 
Caprimulgiformes Caprimulgiformes
 Podargidae  frogmouths,   uilnachtzwaluwen   Eurostopodidae  Eared-nightjars,      Caprimulgidae  nightjars, nighthawks,   nachtzwaluwen   Nyctibiidae  potoos,   Reuzennachtzwaluwen   Steatornithidae  Oilbird,   Vetvogel   Aegothelidae  owlet-nightjars,   dwergnachtzwaluwen 
Casuariiformes Casuariiformes
 Casuariidae  cassowary,   kasuarissen   Dromaiidae  emu,   emoe 
Charadriiformes Charadriiformes
 Haematopodidae  oystercatchers ,   scholeksters   Rynchopidae  Skimmers,   Schaarbekken   Stercorariidae  Skuas,   (Grote) Jagers   Glareolidae  pratincoles coursers Egyptian Plover,   vorkstaartplevieren, renvogels, krokodilwachters   Dromadidae  Crab-plover,   Krabplevier   Scolopacidae  Curlews, Sandpipers, Godwits, Dowitchers, Snipe and woodcocks, Phalaropes, Shanks and tattlers, Calidrids and turnstones,   Wulpen, grutto's, ruiters, oeverlopers, strandlopers, franjepoten, snippen   Charadriidae  plovers, dotterels, lapwings,   plevieren, kieviten   Rostratulidae  painted snipes,   goudsnippen   Recurvirostridae  avocets, stilts,   kluut, steltkluut   Phalaropodiae  phalaropes,   Franjepoten   Burhinidae  Stone-curlews,   Grielen   Sternidae  terns,   sterns   Laridae  gulls,   meeuwen   Chionididae  Sheathbills,   IJshoenders   Alcidae  auks,   alken   Jacanidae  jacanas,   jacana's 
Ciconiiformes Ciconiiformes
 Threskiornithidae  ibises, spoonbills,   ibissen, lepelaars   Ciconiidae  storks,   ooievaars   Ardeidae  herons, egrets, bitterns,   reigers, kwakken, woudaapjes, roerdompen   Balaenicipitidae  Shoebill,   Schoenbekooievaar   Scopidae  Hammerkop,   Hamerkop 
Coliiformes Coliiformes
 Coliidae  mousebirds,   muisvogels 
Columbiformes Columbiformes
 Columbidae  pigions, doves,   duiven (duif-achtigen)   Raphidae  Didines,   Dodo's 
Coraciiformes Coraciiformes
 Meropidae  bee-eaters,   bijeneters   Brachypteraciidae  Ground-rollers,   Grondscharrelaars   Coraciidae  rollers,   scharrelaars   Momotidae  motmots,   motmots   Bucerotidae  (ground) hornbills,   neushoornvogels, hoornraaf   Upupidae  Hoopoe,   Hoppen   Alcedinidae  River kingfishers,   IJsvogels   Leptosomidae  Cuckoo Roller,   Koerol   Phoeniculidae  woodhoopoes, scimitars,   kakelaars, boomhoppen   Todidae  Tody,   Todies 
Cuculiformes Cuculiformes
 Musophagidae  turacos, plantain-eaters, go-away-birds,   toerako's   Cuculidae  cuckoos,   koekoeken 
Falconiformes Falconiformes
 Falconidae  falcons and caracara's,   valken, caracara's   Sagittariidae  Secretary birds,   Secretarisvogels   Cathartidae  New World vultures, condor,   gieren van de nieuwe wereld, condors   Pandionidae  osprey,   visarend   Accipitridae  ,   Havikachtigen 
Galliformes Galliformes
 Tetraonidae  grouse, capercaillie, Prairie-Chickens,   Ruigpoothoenders, sneeuwhoenders, korhoenders, auerhoenders, prairiehoenders   Megapodiidae  Megapodes or incubator birds or mound-builders,   Grootpoothoenders   Odontophoridae  New World quail,   Amerikaanse kwartels   Meleagridae  turkey,   kalkoen   Phasianidae  pheasants, partridges, junglefowl, quail, peafowl,   fazanten, kwartels, patrijzen, pauwen   Cracidae  chachalacas, guans, curassows,   sjakohoenders, hokko's   Numididae  guineafowl,   parelhoenders 
Gaviiformes Gaviiformes
 Gaviidae  divers, loons,   duikers 
Gruiformes Gruiformes
 Gruidae  cranes,   kraanvogels   Mesitornithidae  Mesites ,   Steltrallen   Aramidae  limpkin,   koerlan   Heliornithidae  ,   Fuutkoeten   Psophidae  trumpeters,   trompetvogels   Eurypygidae  sunbittern,   zonneral   Rallidae  rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules,   rallen, koeten, bleshoenders   Turnicidae  buttonquail,   vechtkwartels   Otidae  bustards,   trappen   Rhynochetidae  Kagu,   Kagoe   Cariamidae  seriemas,   seriema's 
Opisthocomiformes Opisthocomiformes
 Opisthocomidae  hoatzin,   hoatzin 
Passeriformes Passeriformes
 Aegithinidae  loras,   lora's   Promeropidae  Sugarbirds,   Afrikaanse suikervogels   Icteriidae  icterids,   troepialen   Eurilaimidae  Broadbill,   Breedbekken en hapvogels   Muscicapidae  Old World flycatchers,   vliegenvangers   Artamidae  woodswallows, butcherbirds,   spitsvogels   Sylviidae  sylviid warblers or true warblers,   zangers van de Oude Wereld   Grallinidae  ,   moddervogels   Corviidae  crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers,   kraaien, roeken, raven, kauwen, gaaien, eksters, notenkrakers   Conopophagidae  Gnateaters,   Muggeneters   Cisticolidae  ,      Irenidae  fairy-bluebirds,   bladvogels   Passeridae  Old World sparrows,   mussen   Furnariidae  ovenbirds,   ovenvogels   Aegithalidae  Long-tailed tits,   staartmezen   Vangidae  Vanga,   Vanga's   Acanthisittidae  New Zealand wrens,   Rotswinterkoningen   Nectariniidae  sunbirds, spiderhunters,   honingzuigers   Estrildidae  Estrildid Finches,   prachtvinken   Motacillidae  pipits, wagtails, longclaws,   kwikstaarten, piepers   Pittidae  pittas,   pitta's   Pycnonotidae  bulbuls,   buulbuuls   Dicruridae  drongos,   drongo's   Certhiidae  treecreepers,   boomkruipers   Remizidae  Penduline tits,   Buidelmezen   Paradisaeidae  birds of paradise,   paradijsvogels   Chloropseidae  Leafbirds,   Bladvogels   Paridae  tits, chickadees,   mezen   Parulidae  New World warblers,   Amerikaanse zangers   Cardinalidae  Cardinals,   Kardinalen   Rhinocryptidae  tapaculos ,   Tapaculo's   Turnagridae  Piopio,   Turnagra   Troglodytidae  wrens,   winterkoningen   Emberizidae  buntings,   gors, gorzen   Monarchidae  Monarch flycatchers,   Monarchen en waaierstaartvliegenvangers   Dicaeidae  flowerpeckers,   bastaardhoningvogels   Prunellidae  accentors,   heggenmussen   Vireonidae  vireos,   vireo's   Bombycillidae  waxwings,   pestvogels   Picathartidae  rockfowl or bald crows,   Kaalkopkraaien   Mimidae  thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers,   spotlijsters   Hirundinidae  swallows, martins,   zwaluwen   Pachycephalidae  whistlers, shrike-thrushes, shrike-tits, pitohuis, Crested Bellbird,   dikkoppen, fluiters   Pipridae  manakins,   manakins   Sittidae  nuthatches,   boomklevers   Turdidae  thrushes,   lijsters   Cinclidae  Dippers,   Waterspreeuwen   Timalidae  babblers,   timalia's   Thraupidae  tanagers,   tanagers   Callaeidae  New Zealand wattlebirds,   Nieuw-Zeelandse lelvogels   Campephagidae  cuckoo-shrike,   rupsvogels   Melliphagidae  honeyeaters,   honingeters   Viduidae  indigobirds and whydahs,      Paradoxornithidae  Parrotbills,   Diksnavelmezen   Alaudidae  larks,   leeuwerikken   Menuridae  Lyrebird,   Liervogel   Tyrannidae  tyrant flycatchers,   tirannen   Fringillidae  true finches,   vinken   Oriolidae  ,   wielewalen, vijgvogels   Ptilonorhynchidae  bowerbirds, catbirds,   prieelvogels   Regulidae  kinglets or crests,   Goudhaantjes   Tichodromadidae  Wallcreeper,   Rotskuiper   Sturnidae  starlings,   spreeuwen   Cracticidae  woodswallows, butcherbirds,   fluitvogels, orgelvogels, klauwierkraaien   Dendrocolaptidae  Woodcreepers,   Muisspechten   Zosteropidae  white-eyes,   brilvogels   Laniidae  shrikes,   klauwieren   Ploceidae  weavers,   wevers   Cotingidae  cotingas, cock-of-the-rocks,   cotinga's, rotshaan 
Pelecaniformes Pelecaniformes
 Anhingidae  darters,   slangenhalsvogels   Fregatidae  frigatebirds,   fregatvogels   Sulidae  gannets, boobies,   genten   Phalacrocoracidae  cormorants, shags,   aalscholvers   Pelagornithidae  Pelagornithidae,   Pelagornithidae   Pelecanidae  pelicans,   pelikanen   Phaethontidae  Tropicbirds,   Keerkringvogels 
Phoenicopteriformes Phoenicopteriformes
 Phoenicopteridae  flamingo's,   flamingo's 
Piciformes Piciformes
 Ramphastidae  toucans,   toekans   Picidae  woodpeckers,   spechten   Capitonidae  American barbets,   baardvogels   Indicatoridae  Honeyguides,   Honingspeurders 
Podicipediformes Podicipediformes
 Podicipedidae  grebes,   futen 
Procellariiformes Procellariiformes
 Pelecanoidae  pelicans,   pelikanen   Procellariidae  petrels, prions, shearwaters.,   stormvogels en pijlstormvogels   Diomedeidae  albatrosses,   albatrossen   Hydrobatidae  storm-petrels,   stormvogeltjes 
Psittaciformes Psittaciformes
 Cacatuidae  cockatoos,   kaketoes   Strigopidae  New Zealand parrots,   Nieuw Zeeland papegaaien   Psittacidae  true parrots, parakeets, macaws,   papegaaien, parkieten, ara's 
Pteroclidiformes Pteroclidiformes
 Pteroclididae  sandgrouse,   zandhoenders 
Rheiformes Rheiformes
 Rheidae  rhea,   nandoe 
Sphenisciformes Sphenisciformes
 Spheniscidae  penguins,   pinguins 
Strigiformes Strigiformes
 Tytonidae  barn-owls,   kerkuilen   Strigidae  owls,   uilen 
Struthioniformes Struthioniformes
 Struthionidae  ostrich,   struisvogel 
Tinamiformes Tinamiformes
 Tinamidae  tinamou,   tinamoes 
Trogoniformes Trogoniformes
 Trogonidae  trogons,   trogons 

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No bird has been killed to get its skull or skeleton for this collection. All wild birds died of natural causes or accidental, and in a few cases due to legal hunting by others, or died in captivity. The Experimental Zoology Group of Wageningen University has been authorized by the Dutch authorities to own protected European birds after their death. The permit nr is: FEF 27/06/2/98/0051. The Wageningen University also has a CITES exemption, nr NL004.
Who wants to keep (part of) a found bird should inform oneself about the local laws on bird protection.