Biodiversity: Birds

Only travel to the interior of Antarctica will take you to a region guaranteed to be free of birds. Birds are not only the most species-rich group of terrestrial vertebrates, but also the most diverse, and are found in almost all habitats on Earth. The same basic plan, including feathers, wings, and a beak, shows fascinating amounts of variation among the approximately 10 000 species of living birds. Our exhibition provides an overview of this variety: multicoloured and camouflaged birds, birds with specialised beaks and feet, fast flyers and "sitting ducks“, ostrich and hummingbird eggs, and more.

What else is shown in the Bird Hall:

  • Archaeopteryx, the “Urvogel”, a small feathered dinosaur. In addition to other fossils, it illustrates the evolutionary origin of the birds from dinosaurs.
  • While some dinosaurs were already feathered, today feathers are found only in birds – and yet, not all feathers are the same, and form and colour follow function.
  • Most birds can fly. Their flying ability is highly dependent on the shape of their wings. The shape of the wings, legs, and beak reveals a great deal of information about the lifestyle and habitat of a species.
  • The Common Ostrich, native to Africa, lays the largest egg of all living birds. However, relative to the body size of the mother, the egg of a hummingbird is much larger.
  • Birds have more than five senses. In particular, their orientation and navigational abilities are astonishing.

Bird skeleton

Common Snipe


Phillipine Eagle

North Island Brown Kiwi

Bird cliff