The ornithological collection chiefly consists of skins and mounts. The NMBE moreover possesses an important collection of bird eggs. Alongside extensive holdings of the European and particularly the Swiss avifauna, South America (especially Brazil) constitutes a geographical focus with the collection of E. A. Göldi. Additional important historical collections provide a broad basis for scientific work.
The ornithological collections are continuously expanded with a special aim on increasing the tissue collection from own or external scientific projects. An expansion of our holdings of bird skeletons is also a priority.
Important collectors and donators (see also here):
E. A. Göldi (1859-1917): 3182 specimens from South America, chiefly Brazil.
P. Henrici (1880-1971): ): 5500 clutches or single eggs, worldwide origin.
G. Pochelon (1911-1991): 2201 clutches or single eggs, mainly from western and central Europe.
A. Hess (1876-1928): 490 specimens mainly from Europe.
J. U. Aebi (1846-1919): 353 mounts collected between 1865 and 1917 in the region of Burgdorf, Bern, Switzerland.
J. Gould (1804-1881): more than 300 specimens of which about 100 hummingbirds.
L. A. T. Nil (1836-1877): 204 skins from Indonesia.
T. Studer (1845-1922): 68 specimens chiefly stemming from the Southern Hemisphere.