RMCA publications

The bird species from the type collection

Many people enjoy birdwatching and identification as a hobby, yet few realize that this became possible because all bird species were once described and given a scientific name. A species description is considered valid once a unique type specimen has been identified and used as the reference.
For twenty-five different bird species, that type specimen (or specimens) can be found in the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren). It concerns an assortment of birds of a very diverse nature.
In some cases, ornithological science is still struggling to define a species. Six other birds that have not yet been recognized as ‘proper' species by the International Ornithologists' Union are also discussed here. The type material for these six is also in the RMCA.
Three more so-called species were once described by type material, but appear to be colour deviations with plenty of black in the plumage.

This publication emphasizes the importance of the type collection within the scientific collections. Moreover, all the birds discussed are faithfully depicted using detailed illustrations and showing their distribution on a map. Most of these birds have a very limited distribution and are thus undoubtedly rare and difficult to spot.