Accessing Specimens and Data

Researchers can access our updated digitized collection data through Less recent lists can be found through iDigBio, VertNet, and GBIF (portal links here). All egg sets (about 250,000), study skins (57,000+), and most nests (about 15,000) are digitized. Additional records are being added daily, so please write us directly if you need information that you cannot find in our database (Mr. Rene Corado, Collections Manager,

Also, please note that our database still has many old scientific and common names for specimens. We are in the process of updating the names for all of our specimens, but have not yet (as of Dec 2022) finished all Passerine nomenclature. So, if you cannot find specimens of the species you are seeking using the new name, please also search using the most recent former name (scientific and common).


Specimen Loan Policies of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology

The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology (WFVZ) loans skin specimens from its research collections for scientific and educational purposes that follow the goals and objectives of the institution. For main collection materials with full data, we do not send skin specimens outside of the U.S., and we do not loan these egg or nest specimens because of their fragility. We do loan teaching materials without data.

Initial inquiries about all types of loans, or data needs, can be made via email ( or telephone ((805)388-9944), and must include a project description. Nuestros empleados son bilingues, la informacion la pueden solicitar en ingles o en español.

Bird specimens may be loaned to a qualified institution in the name of a professional ornithologist. With proper justification, investigators who are not located at or affiliated with an accredited institution can make arrangements to have specimens sent to a nearby facility, as long as a professional ornithologist at the institution is willing to accept responsibility for the specimens. The “Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology” should be acknowledged in any resulting publications that are at least partially based on information obtained from examination of the materials, and we request a reprint of any such publications for our library.

Specimens from our main collection are to be borrowed for research purposes only; they are not to be used for teaching purposes, placed on display, or handled by nonprofessionals. Graduate student requests for loans of WFVZ material must be authorized and sponsored by the student’s major professor. The borrower may not transfer loans to any other institution without written permission from the WFVZ.

Loans are ordinarily granted for a period of six months, but reasonable time extensions are normally honored as long as requests are made by email or telephone in advance of the 6-month deadline.

In cases of requests for large numbers of specimens, and depending on the nature of the research, a loan may be broken-up into installments with the second shipment sent upon return of the first batch of specimens. At least one male and female of a species are always retained in the WFVZ. Except in very rare circumstances, types, species represented in the collection by only one or two specimens, and taxa that are extremely rare in collections, officially endangered, or extinct, will not be loaned.

Materials for Teachers: Specimens in the WFVZ’s (no-data or data-incomplete) Teaching Collection will be loaned for education purposes or artwork intended to be used for commercial or private purposes. Please see Teaching Materials for details.