Image: Bird skeletons

Bird skeletons

Skeletons present an important aspect of birds' bodies for study. The skeleton collection is one of the fastest growing components of the bird collection.

Carcasses that are too damaged externally to be skinned or too rotten for a spirit specimen can be useful as skeletons.This skeleton of a Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo is surprisingly small in comparison to the apparent size of a living bird. The bones are stored in a plastic bag, which is kept in a labelled cardboard box.

Skeletons can be prepared by maceration (putting the carcass in water and letting the tissue rot away) or with beetles called dermestids. The dermestids eat the dried flesh, leaving the cleaned bones.


Michael Sladek
© Australian Museum
Ornithology Collection


O.71387  Calyptorynchus funereus

Additional information

Images taken by Michael Sladek on 29 April 2009 expressly for use by Ornithology website

Last Updated: